Winter’s here for the long haul – get out there!
The City of Ottawa has some great suggestions for fun winter activities. “We’ve got something for everyone and every age,” says Jennifer Cunningham, recreation supervisor with the City of Ottawa. “We’ve got both indoor and outdoor activities, so if the weather is too much of a challenge, there are still fun activities and sports to participate in.” Cunningham says that winter camps over the holiday season and at March break are popular and fill up quickly. The camps are geared to different ages and provide swimming, skating and hockey along with arts and crafts. “The camps are citywide,” says Cunningham, “but make sure you check with your own community centre for specifics and availability.” An added feature for the March break camps this year is that some sites will offer the option for parents to sign their kids up for just a day or two, or the whole week. “We had parents asking for some flexibility, so we’ve made it easier to make a choice,” says Cunningham. Fun and Friends Energy camps will be available for children under age six and Ottawa Energy camps are geared for kids ages six to 12. Again, Cunningham says to make sure you check your neighbourhood centre for options.
One of the biggest activities for the city in winter is skating. But before you strap on a pair of blades and head to the canal or your neighbourhood rink, skating lessons might be a good idea. “Our skating programs offer lessons from two years old and up,” says Cunningham, “and if you’re an adult trying it out for the first time, having a few lessons under your belt will help you keep your balance and prevent a nasty fall.” Budding hockey players will benefit from the hockey development skills offered at various centres. Cunningham says that the Jim Durrell Centre offers power skating, goalie development and much more, as do centres in Kanata and Orleans. “Many of the programs we offer, like hockey development, are an excellent way for kids to get a taste of a sport or activity,” says Cunningham. “That way you can decide if they really like it, before you spend money on expensive equipment.”
Guaranteed that there will be “stay-indoors-weather” days. The city has a solution for that too. “We’ve got fitness classes at just about every centre,” says Cunningham. “Whether you want an aerobics class or to walk or run on a treadmill, it’s a great way to get out and stay active.” Cunningham stresses that being active and staying social is especially important for older adults. Winter activities with the city start mid- to late- January and Cunningham says that the weekend activities – like skating and cross-country skiing – fill up quickly, so register as soon as you can. For more information on Winter 2020 activities, visit www.ottawa.ca/recreation or drop into the city-run centre in your community.