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2004-02-11 - 2:25 p.m.

Itís Winterlude here in Ottawa and if I had a digital camera Iíd post pics of the ice sculptures. While I donít have that option, the official site has some pretty good pics so if you follow the link youíll get to see them. Winterlude was the reason, in fact, that some of my friends were up here last weekend. The only problem was that, since it was the very beginning of the festival, a number of things werenít scheduled to be done yet, including the big snow sculptures in front of City Hall. Next year theyíre going to wait until the second or third weekend. The problem with that plan is that we almost always have a thaw during the festival (sometimes severe enough to prompt ďWaterludeĒ puns in the local headlines) at some point so the ice sculptures which are done the first weekend always suffer. Itís a tough balance to strike.

Winterlude is a great concept; it brings tourists (and their money) into the city and it gives the locals something to do. Ottawa has the longest outdoor skating rink in the world so itís a good time to take advantage of it. The drawback for me is that itís cold. Eating a Beavertail on the canal is great and a quintessential Ottawa experience, but not so much fun when it, and you, rapidly turn icy while you stop moving to eat it. J and I were lucky enough to find some free time this week when it was cold enough that the sculptures hadn't melted yet but warm enough to walk around and enjoy them. Darn it, why canít we have snow and ice sculptures when itís warmer? (Yes, thatís rhetorical. Yes, I'm queen of stating the obvious.)

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