Dads abound at Winterlude

Dads dominated Family Day at Winterlude.

Trent Sampson led the jaunt along the Rideau Canal with his trio of tall daughters: Twins Olivia and Rayanne, 13, and Shelby, 11.

“Our plan was to skate all the way down, as far as we can,” said Sampson, of Gloucester.

Starting at Dow’s Lake, they skated four km down the canal and all the way back, he said.

Exercise was chased by hot chocolate and french fries.

The family only moved to Ottawa about 18 months ago from Halifax.

“We love it,” said Sampson.

“They have festivals, but not like this. This is the first time we’ve ever seen a skating rink that was 7 km long.”

Fuzhong Liu of Riverside South knows the Canal well, but Monday was his first Winterlude skate with his boys, Henry, 10, and Charles, 7.

“It was wonderful,” said Liu, who was supposed to work but wound up using a vacation day.

“I wish I could have done this in the past, ’cause the boys had a great time. I was just too lazy, too busy, so today we managed to come here.”

National Capital Commission Senior Vice-President Guy Laflamme also showed up to cap the final day of Winterlude.

“This was a resounding success,” he said. “All sites were at full capacity, hotels were full, we saw lots of buses — clear indications that the tourists were in town.”

Laflamme also touted the “record level of support” from partner organizations that gave the NCC a big return on the $2.4 million it shelled out for the festival.

Winterlude’s direct economic impact is about $68 million, Laflamme said.

Joel Rabideau of Kanata didn’t need to shell out cash to enjoy time with his daughters.

With a PD day on Friday, he revelled in the four-day weekend, spending time in Quebec and watching movies at home.

“This is to get them some exercise,” Rabideau said, following a skate with sidekicks Ashleigh, 15, and Cassandra, 12, working off the pancake breakfast prepared by Ashleigh.

“It’s nice to hang out with dad. He’s nice,” she said.

Cassandra chimed in, “We can’t tell our mom this, but he’s the cool parent.”

She hugs her father.

Ashleigh laughs. “That’s not nice.”

Joel attempts to conceal his pleasure. “It’s going in the Sun. We’ll have to make sure she doesn’t read it, eh?”

— With files from Tony Spears

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

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