I Embrace Winter – Sort Of

Earlier this month, I enjoyed Winterlude in Ottawa. Here’s the blog post I wrote for my publisher’s website.

I Embrace Winter – Sort Of

This winter, I’ve had the opportunity to attend Winterlude in Ottawa, Canada, the seventh coldest capital city in the world, according to WorldAtlas. Rather than huddle indoors, Ottawa region residents embrace the season each year with a festival spanning three weekends in early February. The focal point is the world’s largest skating rink, running 7.8 km. along the Rideau Canal from downtown to Dow’s Lake recreational area.

My husband and I stayed near Dow’s Lake. When the Skateway opened, we headed out to the lake, eager to glide along the ice. We hadn’t skated in ten years. I laced up my skates, took a step  – and retreated to the bench. Ice is slippery. Skate blades are too thin the for support. I don’t want to fall and break a bone. My skating career ended, I consoled myself with a Beavertail. These pastries, sold at shacks on the canal, are fried dough in the shape of Canada’s national animal’s tail topped with anything imaginable. I usually get the Killaloe Sunrise, with cinnamon, lemon and sugar that brings out the flavour of the dough. The calories keep you warm in winter.

Hazelnut spread, peanut butter and Reece’s Pieces on a Beavertail. As a true Canadian, I want to try maple someday.

Other highlights of Winterlude include dragon boat races on the frozen lake, snow slides in a park on the Quebec side of the river, and an international ice carving contest. Ottawa’s fickle winter weather played havoc with the sculptures this year. A mild spell a few days after the carving competition ruined the ice statues’ delicate features.

A carver at work on downtown Sparks Street.
Sound travel tunnel on Sparks Street.

When I wasn’t outside ‘doing’ winter in Ottawa, I worked on my murder mystery novel-in-progress, set in winter in my home town of Calgary. My victims go for a walk on the coldest night of the year and are struck by a hit and run driver. The wife is killed and the husband is seriously injured. Was it an accident caused by icy roads or intentional? Paula, my sleuth, asks the husband why they were out on such a miserable night. He answers that they love the silence when no one else is around, the exercise in brisk air, and the shimmering street lights on snow and bare-limbed trees. But for him and his wife that night, embracing winter turned deadly.