The National Capital region's annual winter festival began the first weekend of February, and stretched on for three weeks.  It's been a great time -- big crowds, fun events. I wish I had taken in some of the concerts and viewed the ice sculptures and seen yesterday's dragonboat races on ice! What I did get to see was Hockey Day in Canada, in which over 150 games of shinny were placed on the canal between 8 and 9 a.m. yesterday. 

Kids and their parents arrived just as the sun was rising.

They laced up.

They took to the ice.

With 7.8 kilometers of Skateway, a breakaway was a daunting prospect!

So most players and teams and coaches were content to remain in the confines of the areas that had been marked out for their game of shinny.

During the shinny tournament, the Skateway was closed, but one of the great things about Winterlude is that it has something for everyone and people come down to the ice by the thousands -- sunny or cloudy...

Day or night...

Everyone comes down to the Skateway.

And they lace up.

And they skate away.

The final weekend of Winterlude, the warm weather that closed down Winnipeg's Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate has also closed down Ottawa's Rideau Canal Skateway. Like the Winnipegers, we're enjoying the spring-like weather but we have our apprehensions that whether the canal will be closed for the year.