The first few weeks of February in Ottawa brings along Winterlude, which is like a scaled down version of Carnival in Quebec. The canal opens for skating, there are free concerts, ice carving competitions, and all sorts of outdoor activities in the freezing cold Ottawa winter.
Ever since I was little I wanted to go skating on the Rideau Canal, which until this year was the longest outdoor skating rink in the world (the title now belongs to Winnipeg). They let several kilometres of the canal freeze, including Dows Lake, and they open it up for skating. There are a few places along the canal to rent skates, buy Beaver Tails (fried dough and sugar), hot chocolate, coffee, and other snacks.
There's also an ice carving competition, with people from around the world who do some amazing things with blocks of ice. Really amazing stuff.
This sculpture was done by somebody from Thailand.
And this one represents the landing of Jacques Cartier in Quebec City 400 years ago (this year is the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City).