6 Ways to Beat the Winter Blahs in Ottawa
Kirsten is a fourth-year journalism student.
It’s already February and the halfway mark of the winter semester is near. By now the thrill of the first snowfall has long passed and if you’re anything like me, you’re over having to wear three layers of socks when you get dressed in the morning, or feeling like stalactites have formed in your nose as you step into the bitter cold air that is winter in Ottawa.
While it would be easy to wallow in misery for the next few months, there are also a number of reasons to celebrate the winter months (I know it’s difficult to fathom, but bear with me). In an attempt to help you shake off those winter blahs and draw you out of your deep hibernation, we’ve compiled a few things Ottawa has to offer you before spring eventually arrives.
1. Winterlude: Jan. 30-Feb.16
Every year during Ottawa’s Winterlude festivities, artists from around the world sharpen their picks and creative minds, transforming blocks of rugged ice into beautiful works of art at Confederation Park. At night the sculptures (ranging from kissing fish to mermaids, to Vikings and horses) are illuminated in different coloured lights.
Take a break from studying and stretch you legs by skating your way from Carleton to downtown Ottawa on the 7.8 kilometres of the world’s longest skating rink, the Rideau Canal. Beavertails and hot chocolate are in plenty along the way, so you can stop for a Canadian snack. (No one’s counting calories…you’re skating).
You can find information about renting skates, ice conditions and dates of the skating season here.
2. Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival (Feb.6-Feb.15):
For two consecutive weekends in February, music lovers can get their groove on at the fourth annual TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival. Being hosted at the National Arts Centre and Dominion-Chalmers United Church, the show features artists from Canada and abroad, as well as a special 80th birthday tribute to Leonard Cohen (fancy!). Tickets range from $18-$50, for those willing to dip into their piggy banks.
You can check out the schedule, festival brochure, and buy tickets at the Ottawa Jazz Festival website.
3. Monopolatte and The Loft Board Game Lounge:
Remember how great it was being a kid, when the only things we had to worry about were fun and games? Throw it back to the good old days at one of Ottawa’s two board game cafes, Monopolatte and The Loft. They offer more than 800 games (each!), from classics like Monopoly and Scrabble to strategy and role-playing games. Bonus: They both offer food and drinks, so you can stayhyper focused during that intense game of Battleship.
4. Flapjack’s Pancake Shack
They already had me at pancakes. But it gets better. Try something outrageous like the Chipmunk (two buttermilk peanut crumble pancakes with ice cream in between) or their Pancake Poutine. If you’re not so adventurous, you can still find your average omelette or eggs and toast. They also offer wheat-free pancakes for those with dietary restrictions.
Find their shack in the Glebe Thursdays through Sundays from 9a.m. to 3p.m. or seven days a week at their location on the Rideau Canal from 8a.m. to 8p.m.
5. NAC Live Rush:
As busy students, we all know it can be difficult to set plans in stone. If you’re looking to enjoy Ottawa’s arts scene, you can take advantage of discounted tickets to same-day shows at the National Arts Centre through their Live Rush programme. You can get more details and find shows (from music to dance, to theatre and comedy) here.
6. Play with cuddly animals at the Canada Agriculture Museum
Who doesn’t like playing with animals? For $8 students can get entry to the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum on Prince of Wales Drive where they can meet alpacas, goats, pigs, horses and more. Visit the exhibitions to learn about the history of Canada’s agricultural industry or check out one of the monthly demonstrations, such as Butter Making and Tasting or Wool: From Sheep to Shops. Read more about the museum’s hours and events here.