Winterlude wasn’t the only reason I needed to escape my boxes in my tiny apartment to go to Ottawa and hang out with friends… but it was a great one! Montreal has a similar winter festival, but for the first time in 25 years it was canceled due to a labour dispute. So, last Saturday morning I hopped on a bus to Ottawa. By the time I arrived, the sun was shining and the city was digging out of a major overnight snowfall. It was winter at it’s finest – fresh, fluffy white snow, sunshine and it wasn’t freezing cold. What better way to spend the day than having brunch with a friend followed by baking the best brownies ever. The evening was sort of a reunion of former coworkers and friends I haven’t seen in years. Good food, good wine, and the sweetest little kids you’ve ever met running around.

Sunday morning started out snowy and cloudy as we headed to the canal. I haven’t skated since, oh, 1998 or 1999, so at first I was taking tips from 4-year-old James. After awhile I found my skating legs… and James was skating piggy-back with his dad. By the time we stopped for Beaver Tails, the sun was shining and it was an absolutely perfect day. For my friends out west, Beaver Tails are an Ottawa must. It’s a whole wheat, deep fried pastry roughly shaped like a beaver’s tail – kind of like a crispy flat donut. My favorite is the Killaloe – cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice on the top. As we passed under the Banks street bridge, we stopped to look at the paintings on display – and laugh at a portrait of Wayne Gretzky from 1983. At the 5th street rest stop, we had a nutritious lunch of hot dogs and had to call it a day. I had totally forgotten how uncomfortable ice skate can be!

James and I spent the afternoon playing “spaceship” with the couch pillows, imagining we were flying around Pluto and capturing aliens who were plotting to destroy all the planets. For the record, that was completely James’ imagination. I was just along for the ride. Playing with kids is a great way to feel 20 years younger ūüôā By the time I got back into Montreal Sunday night I had made a new friend and I was both completely revitalized and completely exhausted. All in all, a perfect weekend!

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