Warming up to winter: Annual Dovercourt carnival draws a crowd

By Anita Grace –

More than 600 people came out to Dovercourt Recreation Centre on Saturday, January 18 for the annual winter carnival.

“It’s so nice to see a great turn out every year, with people of all ages,” said Stephanie Moores, a member of Dovercourt’s board of directors who attended the carnival with her two young sons.  “It draws not just from the area, but Ottawa-wide, and fits our mission of building a healthy, active, and engaged community.”

Maddock Currie, 4, happily crashes into the inflatable pins at Dovercourt’s annual winter carnival. Photo by Anita Grace.
Maddock Currie, 4, happily crashes into the inflatable pins at Dovercourt’s annual winter carnival. Photo by Anita Grace.

“We come here a lot,” said Annie Bérubé, who was skating on the ice with her husband and two children.  “It’s a great place.”

Westboro Kiwanis Park was bustling even before the carnival officially started at 4:00 p.m.

During the event, families lined up for horse-drawn wagon rides and children jumped in the bouncy castle. Kids also enjoyed crashing into the inflatable pins at the toboggan-bowling event on the sledding hill.

Ten-year-old Rylee Hein managed to knock down all the pins, scoring herself a Dovercourt T-shirt prize. “We come [to the carnival] every year,” she said. “It’s really fun.”

Rylee and her sister Kendall, 14, were among the few brave residents who tried the polar dip – a new event at Dovercourt this year. A small pool of water, its surface a slushy mix of snow and ice, was set up near the side door of the recreation centre. Polar dippers took a quick plunge, then rushed inside to the sauna and hot tub to warm up.

“The general idea is to get the community out and have some fun,” said Tyler Skerkowski, a program supervisor and a special events organizer at Dovercourt.

Skerkowski is grateful for Morris Home Team Realty’s sponsorship of this event, which is free to attend.

Sunita Venkateswaran said the horse drawn wagon and toboggan bowling were big hits with her four- and almost-two-year-olds.  “We love this event,” said Venkateswaran.

“The weather is ideal,” adds Bev Hellman, who was at the event with her four-year-old granddaughter. “Especially for all the young children that are here.”

She also praised the event for being well organized and nicely spread out around the park.

Those who missed the carnival at Dovercourt may want to bundle up and head over to Champlain Park on Saturday, January 25 for the park’s annual event. There will be free horse-drawn sleigh rides, musical performances, hot chocolate, coffee, as well as skating and hockey skills games.

“It’s a great way to bring together families and friends in the local community,” said Champlain Park’s event organizer Sarah Brooks, “and a good way to meet new people.”

Check the calendar on page 23 for a list of community events which includes a few other winter carnivals and fun events around Kitchissippi.

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