Thousands of visitors enjoyed three weekends packed full of cultural, sport, and gastronomic activities and Canadian winter traditions
GATINEAU, QC, Feb. 17, 2014 /CNW/ - Today was the final day of the 36th Winterlude, the Capital's winter celebration. Thousands of visitors took part in the many activities, and official Winterlude sites welcomed large crowds over the three weekends of festivities. An average of 600,000 people take part in the celebrations each year; a third of these are visitors from outside the region.
At the Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau, families had a chance to relive winter traditions; to meet artists, singer-songwriters, and sculptors from Yukon; and to have fun and slide around on the largest snow playground in North America, built by the Ville de Gatineau.
At the Crystal Garden in Confederation Park in Ottawa, visitors discovered the magical world of ice carving thanks to professional sculptors from around the world who came to compete in the 27th International Ice-Carving Competition. The team from the Philippines won top honours. Visitors also came in the evening to admire the masterpieces in ice and to dance to the beats of Canadian artists and DJs performing on the Crystal Garden main stage.
The Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa, the world's largest skating rink, remained open throughout Winterlude. Hundreds of thousands of visitors took to the ice to enjoy this gem of Canada's Capital Region and to watch the 34th Annual Accora Village Bed Race, 31st Annual Winterlude Triathlon, and the 6th Beaver Cup Pond Hockey Tournament.
During Winterlude, the Department of Canadian Heritage marked some of the defining moments in our history, including the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences and the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. We also paid tribute to our Canadian athletes with an outdoor broadcast of the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
- Thousands of visitors took part in the Northern Lights Conference, a cultural and business showcase of Canada's North and Eastern Arctic, presented by the Baffin Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Labrador North Chamber of Commerce.
- The Gatineau Winter BeerFest, a new Winterlude partner, broke its attendance record by welcoming more than 11,000 guests who came to taste craft beers and savour gourmet appetizers.
- The Cracking Up the Capital Comedy Festival kept visitors warm and bursting with laughter. On closing night at a sold-out show at the National Arts Centre, well-known comedian Rick Mercer received the Comedy Icon Lifetime Achievement Award.
- The Canada Science and Technology Museum, in collaboration with some 20 agencies, presented science experiments and demonstrations to throngs of visitors as part of Cool Science Saturday.
"This is the first year that my department, Canadian Heritage, has hosted Winterlude, and I am proud of the work that was accomplished and the ties that were forged with our collaborators from every corner of Canada. Hats off to the more than 90 programming partners, the sponsors, and the 700 volunteers who made Winterlude one of Canada's greatest winter festivals."
- Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
SOURCE: Canadian Heritage
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