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Join Their Excellencies for a Day of Outdoor Activities During Winter Celebration at Rideau Hall

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 01/20/14 -- Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston invite the public to get active and come experience various Nordic sports and traditions during Winter Celebration at Rideau Hall, on Saturday, January 25, 2014, from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

New this year, families and sports enthusiasts will have the opportunity to participate in curling demonstrations, learn more about the seasonal patterns of our region's wildlife, and enjoy musical performances by local musical group La Ridaine.

Other highlights will include dog sledding; giant ski races; horse-drawn wagon rides; kick sledding; and skating on the outdoor rink (ice conditions permitting.) A complete list of Winter Celebration activities can be found below.

Visitors wishing to experience a giving moment on this day can do so by dropping off non-perishable food items and winter clothing into containers provided at the entrances of the Rideau Hall grounds. These items will be donated to the Ottawa Food Bank and the Snowsuit Fund.

All Winter Celebration activities are free of charge and will take place rain or shine. Visitors are encouraged to post their photos of the day's activities to social media by using the hashtag #RHPhoto.

Tours of the Residence

Visitors will be able to tour the historic residence, its State rooms, and the temporary exhibit entitled A Reflection of Who We are: The Canadian Honours System, which explores various facets of the Canadian Honours System.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Figure Skating Championships, Skate Canada will also have a temporary exhibit of historic trophies and memorabilia on display inside the residence. These trophies serve to highlight the significant links between governors general and skating traditions in Canada.

In addition, a special guestbook will be available for visitors to send their best wishes to Canadian Olympians competing in this year's Winter Games, in Sochi, Russia.

Activities

Winter Celebration is presented in partnership with the Embassy of Finland; the Embassy of the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands; the Royal Norwegian Embassy; the Embassy of Sweden; the Embassy of Switzerland; and the Embassy of Austria, with the collaboration of the National Capital Commission and the Canadian Armed Forces.

Bandy: This precursor of modern ice hockey will engage participants in a form of field hockey on the skating rink (ice conditions permitting). Presented by the Embassy of Sweden.

Biathlon Demonstrations: Coaches and young athletes from Biathlon Canada/Chelsea Nordiq Club will demonstrate the skiing and shooting skills required in this demanding sport.

Craft Station: Children will have the opportunity to make Canada-Netherlands friendship mittens at the craft station. Presented by the Embassy of the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Curling: Members of the Ottawa Valley Curling Club and their affiliate organizations will demonstrate the "ins and outs" of curling, including a wheelchair variation of this historic sport.

Dog Sledding: Presented by Aventure Nordik Adventure, the young and young-at-heart can embark on a short, thrilling sled ride on the grounds of Rideau Hall.

Historic Skating Rink: Skate on the historic rink, first established in 1872, by Lord Dufferin, Canada's third governor general. (Ice conditions permitting.)

Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides: Take a break and hop on a horse-drawn wagon, offered by Cundell Stables.

Kicksledding: Everyone will enjoy trying out this traditional means of Nordic transportation.

A team from the Embassy of Finland will demonstrate kicksledding and encourage visitors to hop on board these unique, chair-mounted sleds.

Nature Interpretation: Friends of Gatineau Park will be on-site to share their knowledge with visitors on what happens to the animals of our region and their habitat during the winter months.

Norway Giant Ski: This activity, organized by the Royal Norwegian Embassy, will encourage visitors to strap on Velcro bindings on giant skis that hold eight adults at one time. They will then attempt to ski in unison, without stopping or falling over.

Nunavut Sivuniksavut Program: The students of Nunavut Sivuniksavut will share their Inuit culture and language through drumming, dancing, throat singing and winter activities.

Obstacle Course: Members of the Governor General's Foot Guards will introduce visitors to some of their training exercises with a fun tandem obstacle course on the grounds.

Outdoor Musical Performances by La Ridaine: This uniquely Canadian folk band is sure to have visitors clapping their hands and tapping their toes.

Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing: Skillful demonstrations of cross country skiing and snowshoeing will be presented by the Nakkertok Ski Club. Visitors will be invited to explore the grounds of Rideau Hall on a snowshoeing or cross-country ski trail. Snowshoes and skis will be provided.

Winter Camp: Visitors can visit with members of the Governor General's Foot Guards and see how a military camp is set up for winter.

Winterlude's Official Mascots: The Ice Hog family-Papa, Mama, Noumi and Nouma-will be circulating the grounds, offering warm hugs to children and adults alike.

Snacks: Savour delicious taffy on snow, cookies, hot chocolate and delectable European treats from the various embassies during this afternoon of winter festivities.

Parking

Free parking will be available at the National Research Council (100 Sussex Drive, a 10-minute walk from Rideau Hall), and on the streets in the surrounding neighbourhood. Limited parking for mobility-impaired guests will be available on the Rideau Hall grounds via Princess Gate.

To obtain a site map of all the activities, visit www.gg.ca/visitus.

Follow GGDavidJohnston and RideauHall on Facebook and Twitter.

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