Snow business like show business


The warm weather has pretty well wiped out the Rideau Canal Skateway for this second weekend of Winterlude. But when you're attracting hundreds of thousands of people to Ottawa from across Canada and around the world, the show must go on!  And fortunately there's lots of options.

For starters, the rinks are still open. On a Thursday night where the sidewalks were as clear of ice and snow as you'd expect in an evening in late March, four women had driven up from Toronto and were enjoying the rink at Lansdowne Park. Two of them were visiting from the United Kingdom and taking lessons from their friend -- a really good skater who was able to provide advice on the perennial perplexing problem: how to turn and skate backwards.

Skating on the Saturday at Lansdown, however, had to be done early in the morning.  By noon, the skaters were off the ice and the crews assembled to create curling rinks.

This weekend, Lansdowne Park is also the focal point for the Snowscapes Community Snow Sculpture Competition. Thursday evening, teams of sculptors were hard at work. By Saturday morning, their work was ready for the judges.

Here's the team from Jackpine and Co.

And here's the result of their creativity.

Next door to Jackpine, Jason from the Ottawa Maker Gang came with his plans laid out.

And here's the ideas in the flesh...uh, ice.

A team fromOdawa Native Friendship Centre created a loon carrying its baby on its back.

While her family worked at shaping ice, one member of Team Polar decided to pose as the Statue of Liberty.

By Saturday that mound of snow had been reshaped into a family of polar bears.

The sculpture won third prize of $300.

Second prize, worth $500, went to a team called Lewis.

Lewis's sculpture of a bear playing hockey also won the People's Choice Aware, $200.

First prize of $750 went to the St. FX Coyote Pack, but no one was on hand to receive the medals -- maybe they'd all gone back to Antigonish.

But there certainly lots of people who did stay.

They were fortified with free hot chocolate.

And entertained with music.

And meanwhile, another snow sculptor got down to work to begin his project.