No skating on the Rideau Canal? No problem for Winterlude skiers

Winterlude is underway, and for some it’s a chance to try skiing and snowboarding for the first time.

10-year-old Liviane Hart, a first-time skier, is testing her downhill skiing skills. 

“It’s pretty fun. I have done cross country skiing before, but this was different and it was really fun,” said Hart. 

Her grandparents are thrilled that Winterlude is giving kids this opportunity to try skiing.

“I think it’s excellent and may spur some interest in young kids to try it. Get out and get some fresh air,” said Rob Hart, Liviane’s grandfather.

On Thursday, former Olympian and Gatineau native Olivier Rochon was helping first-time skiers. Rochon placed fifth in the 2018 Olympics in men’s freestyle aerials and says it’s an absolute delight to come back to his hometown and give back to the kids. 

“It brings back memories from my childhood. I did come to Bal de Neige when I was a kid and it was always fun,” said Rochon.

Jacques-Cartier Park might be packed with kids having fun, but one of the main attractions of Winterlude is still a ghost town. Many visitors from across the country are disappointed they are missing out on skating the canal.

Joanne and John Marquis are visiting from Vancouver and were hoping the canal would open in time.

“I’m sad because we came all the way from Vancouver and that was going to be my first time, and only time,” said Joanne Marquis.

But it’s not looking good, with daytime temperatures all above zero degrees next week. Many residents in the area say it’s too late, and they have already given up hope. 

“They keep saying they’re doing their best to open, but none of us believe it’s going to happen. This is just the year that isn’t going to be,” said Lynne Tyler, a Glebe resident.

“Like look, there’s nothing,” says Glebe resident Maureen Tyler. “When ever has there been nobody. Even on a Thursday.”

Skating the canal might be out of the question, but for Liviane Hart, she says her newly acquired skiing skills might get her on a real ski hill one day. 

“Maybe that’s something I want to get to do,” said Hart.

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