Countdown: Saskatoon, Montreal, Winterlude

Ottawa's Winterlude begins Friday. Montreal's kilt skate is Saturday. In Saskatoon, Sunday brings the finale of the Wintershines festival: a kilt skate followed by the world's biggest snowball fight. What a great weekend for winter-lovers.

  Ice sculptures from Postashcorp wintershines, 2013.

Ice sculptures from Postashcorp wintershines, 2013.

The PotashCorp Wintershines festival began last Saturday, and every day has seen events "to shake the frost off your chin."  Bring the kids down to the snow park for ice games, mascot parades and a candy cane scavenger hunt. On Friday night, the kids will have a chance to meet Anna and Elsa outside the Market Square.

At last year's Wintershines, the kilt skate was such a hit that it's back again, organized by the Saskatoon Highland Dance Association. Bring your skates and your tartans down to the Bess rink on Sunday January 31, 2016 from 1:00pm-3:00pm.

  Canada's national snowball fight team have helped organize the attempt to put Saskatoon's snowball fight into the Guinness book of world records.

Canada's national snowball fight team have helped organize the attempt to put Saskatoon's snowball fight into the Guinness book of world records.

Following the kilt skate, it's a short walk to Victoria Park where you can join in what is hoped to be the world's largest snowball fight. The organizers are hoping to attract thousands of snowball fighters -- enough to wrest the Guinness title from Seattle, a city that doesn't know winter the way Saskatoon knows winter. The snowball fight begins at 3 p.m. and wraps up the Wintershines Festival.

Follow the Saskatoon events on twitter: @WintershinesSK. For the kilt skate: @scotpav and #kiltskate.

  Skating at Montreal's vieux port.

Skating at Montreal's vieux port.

In Montreal, the St. Andrew's Society is once again hosting Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate at the Vieux Port skating rink. If you're a visitor to Montreal, the rink in the heart of the old city is not to be missed. Last year, dozens came out in their kilts to enjoy the cake and hot chocolate on what must have been one of the coldest days of the winter. This year, the temperatures won't be as intimidating. In fact, there's a warm spell coming and the mercury may rise above the freezing point.  But with a refrigerated rink, the Vieux Port's skating conditions may be ideal for kilt skaters.

Follow the Scottish Society of Montreal on twitter: @standrewsociety

And Winterlude? In a later blog we'll have more to say about the big winter festival in the National Capital Region, but in the meantime, heads up for the carnival street party that will launch the festival on Friday night at Confederation Park.

See you on the ice!

  Rideau Canal Skateway at the Bank Street Bridge.

Rideau Canal Skateway at the Bank Street Bridge.