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Warm weather persists for second Winterlude weekend

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Feb10,2024

Hot weather persists for the second Winterlude weekend

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As the second weekend of Winterlude approaches, the Sparks Street ice sculptures have been wrapped in tarps to protect them from the hot weather that could damage them. The organizers indicated that they were removed on Saturday.


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Winterlude is in its second weekend, and the unseasonably warm conditions don't look favorable for some of the annual festival's main attractions.

It's a little disappointing, sighs one participant, Melissa Aguilar, visiting from Montreal.

We were surprised that there weren't as many events, but we're happy that there are at least a few things here, like ice sculptures, says the one who was walking along Sparks Street with her family Friday morning.

The 46th annual Winterlude kicked off February 2.

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Festival organizers staggered the construction of the Sparks Street ice sculptures over the three weekends of the festival to ensure that visitors can view them at any time.

Friday evening, the Rideau Canal skating rink remained closed, some ice sculptures on Sparks Street were protected by tarpaulins and festival organizers were prepared to close the Domaine des flocons, in Gatineau's Jacques-Cartier Park, ;he was becoming dangerous.

The measures come after last year's warm winter also put a damper on celebrations, as high temperatures melted ice sculptures and prevented the canal ice rink from opening. Curtain for the first time in five decades of existence.

The spokesperson for Canadian Heritage, which organizes Winterlude, Melanie Brault , explains that his team has been preparing for this type of unpredictable conditions for several years.

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This year, informs Ms. Brault, the' team tried to include programs that were not weather dependent and to be more strategic in deploying attractions that depend on winter conditions.

For example, the construction of the ice sculptures is spread over the three Winterlude weekends, recalls Ms. Brault, in order to ensure that a weekend of bad weather does not ruin the event. #x27;the whole festival.

From a visitor experience point of view, this means that they will be able to see these magnificent Ice sculptures come to life in person, she points out.

Brault explains that the ice sculptures built last weekend were placed under tarps during the week to slow their melting. The tarpaulins were removed on Saturday in anticipation of the crowd.

While Snowflake Kingdom is still welcoming visitors after a slightly delayed opening and all nine ice slides are operating, Brault warns that festival organizers may have to close the park if warmer temperatures make the layers of snow too slippery.

Let's hope that next weekend we will have Canadian winter weather, says Ms. Brault.

According to Ottawa Tourism, warmer temperatures have not had an impact on turnout so far.

Preliminary results show that this year's first Winterlude weekend attracted more out-of-town visitors than last year's first Winterlude weekend, notes the director of public affairs at Ottawa Tourism, Jérôme Miousse.

Some businesses that depend on crowds of skaters still hope that the Rideau Canal skating rink will make a comeback.< /p>Open in full screen mode

Hot temperatures keep Rideau Canal Ice Rink from hosting skaters during the second weekend of Winterlude.

Unfortunately, as we only operate on the ice, we have not been able to open since the start of Winterlude, regrets the director of operations of Capital Skates, which rents skates to people who travel on the canal, Benoit Gatien.

Although Mr. Gatien has a team of 12 to 15 people, most of them students, he anticipates it will be increasingly difficult to entice employees to come back to work in the years ahead. to come if the warm winter seasons continue.

Christopher Burke has had a front row seat to the canal, in all its conditions, since the 1980s, as as general manager of the Canal Ritz restaurant.

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Canal Ritz restaurant general manager Christopher Burke says he watched the crews work on the ice and is optimistic about the rink opening this season. (File photo)

Although the Winterlude rush is big for the restaurant's business – so much so that one member of the kitchen team has taken to fixing customers' skates at the restaurant. With the help of a screwdriver – the restaurant is fortunate to have a loyal base of local customers whether the channel is open or not, Burke reports.

He still hopes the rink can be revived, as he recently served two German tourists who traveled to Ottawa in 2023 and 2024 in the vain hope of skating on the rink.

Now they're flying to Winnipeg because they desperately want to skate on a big body of water, Burke says . So we lost two [clients].

With information from CBC News

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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