The Rideau Canal Skateway won’t be open for Weekend 2 of Winterlude but outdoor venues to celebrate the season include the slides and slopes of Jacques-Cartier Park and Rideau Hall.
The Snowflake Kingdom features super slides, a labyrinth and other family activities co-produced by Canadian Heritage and the City of Gatineau.
MySnow Experience is also at the northern part of Jacques-Cartier Park through Winterlude, which wraps up on Family Day, Feb. 20.
Olympian and freestyle ski champion Olivier Rochon was on hand Thursday to launch the program giving kids aged five to eight a chance to try skiing and snowboarding. The free program from the Quebec Ski Resorts Association includes equipment and a one-hour lesson.
“My hometown is Gatineau, so it’s always fun to come back, especially for events like this, where I remember as a kid coming to slide on the ice sliding zone,” Rochon said, adding “the skiing here is really awesome for them to have that first experience, and i think that’s really important.
“If you don’t try, you don’t know.”
Getting kids “gliding” is the first step to enjoying the slopes, Rochon said.
“That’s what got me hooked the first time when I started — I just wanted to go faster and faster and faster,” he said.
“With the little hill here, it’s is perfect for them to try, keeping it a good experience for them and then hopefully going back to a mountain to try it.”
Find more details online about Winterlude activities this weekend.
Rideau Hall’s Winter Celebration is Saturday from 12:30-4: 30 p.m. with activities, performances and more on the grounds of Governor General Mary Simon’s official residence at 1 Sussex Drive.
Events include skating on the outdoor skating rink, building an Inukshuk building and going through a military-style obstacle course.
It’s free — and there’s a no-charge shuttle bus from downtown to Rideau Hall — but visitors are asked to bring gently used winter clothing for the Snowsuit Fund.
-with files from Julie Oliver