SavvyMoms know that the secret to arriving at the end of winter with our sanity intact is contained in two words: embrace winter! It sounds counter-intuitive—but find an outdoor activity the whole family can enjoy, and those dark months will slip (and slide) by much more quickly.
Outdoor skating seems quintessentially Ottawa, so why not start with that? If your kids are too young to do it on their own, pile them into a stroller and push them down the ice—the stroller is a great balancing tool for moms with rusty skating skills.
It’s no secret that the Rideau Canal Skateway is the world’s longest skating rink, so we don’t need to tell you much more about that. Just one helpful tip: you can find out whether or not it’s open for skating—and what condition it’s in—by calling (613) 239-5234.
While you’re waiting for the canal to open, consider checking out the rink at Rideau Hall, home of the Governor General. It’s open to the public—weather permitting—on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
Looking for something closer to home? The Ottawa Skating Map is the definitive guide to Ottawa’s many dozens of outdoor neighbourhood rinks and puddles. (A puddle is essentially a rink without boards.) The standout here is the 400-metre speed-skating oval at Brewer Park in Old Ottawa South—definitely worth a visit.
Want to sweat a bit? Try snowshoeing. It’s a great winter alternative that just keeps growing in popularity (maybe because of no lift tickets, waiting in line or expensive equipment). And it’s one of the few winter activities that doesn’t require high-level skills or breakneck speeds.