Winter Celebration

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January 28, 2011 

Winter Celebration: A Family Event not to be Missed

OTTAWA—Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston invite families and outdoor enthusiasts to participate in the Winter Celebration at Rideau Hall, this Saturday, January 29, 2011, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. This public event is a great opportunity for everyone to get active and experience Nordic sports and traditions. 


1:45 p.m.
Meeting with family of “Jackrabbit” Smith Johannsen
Tent Room
Their Excellencies will meet with “Jackrabbit” Johannsen’s daughter, Peggy Austin, and granddaughter, Karin Austin, in front of the exhibit of items that once belonged to Mr. Johannsen, one of the pioneers of skiing in Canada.

1:50 p.m.
Message to Canadian Forces personnel serving in Afghanistan

Their Excellencies will write a message of solidarity that will be sent to troops serving in Afghanistan.

2:00 p.m.
Giant Ski Race with the Governor General and special guests
on the grounds

Join us as we cheer on His Excellency in the Giant Ski Race, presented by the Royal Norwegian Embassy. This friendly competition will feature the Governor General and none other than His Excellency Else Berit Eikeland, Ambassador of Norway; His Excellency Teppo Tauriainen, Ambassador of Sweden; His Excellency Risto Piipponen, Ambassador of Finland;
Mr. Russell Mills, Chairman of the board of directors at the National Capital Commission;
Mr. Jean-François Trépanier, Executive Vice-President of Operations at the National Capital Commission; the family of "Jackrabbit" Johannsen; media representatives and members of the public. 

Media representatives who wish to attend the photo-op inside the residence are asked to report to the Princess Anne entrance by 1:30 p.m. Photo identification is required; parking will be available on-site for members of the media. 

Visitors will be entertained by dog sledding; skiing; snowshoeing; skating on the outdoor rink; kick sledding offered by the Embassy of Finland; and bandy, a form of field hockey on ice, offered by the Embassy of Sweden.

Visitors are also invited to tour the historic residence and its ceremonial rooms. In partnership with the Canadian Ski Museum, artefacts that once belonged to "Jackrabbit" Smith Johannsen (1875-1987), one of Canada’s pioneers of skiing, will be on display in the Tent Room. In addition, visitors will have the opportunity to view the current exhibit, the National Capital Commission Official Residences Crown Collection, in the Ambassador’s Room.

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 grounds via the Princess Gate.

Please refer to the annex below for a complete list of activities being presented at the Winter Celebration. The event is presented in partnership with the Royal Norwegian Embassy, the Embassy of Finland, the Embassy of Sweden and the National Capital Commission. All outdoor activities are free and will take place rain or shine. For updates, please visit our website at


Media information                                                           
Marie-Ève Létourneau                                                     
Rideau Hall Press Office                                                                        

Public information
1-866-842-ggca (4422)
613-991-ggca (4422) 

ANNEX – Winter Celebration Activities, from 1 – 4 p.m.

Dog Sledding: The young and young-at-heart can embark on a short, thrilling sled ride on the grounds of Rideau Hall.

Kick Sledding: Everyone will enjoy trying out this traditional means of Nordic transportation. A team from the Embassy of Finland will demonstrate kick sledding and encourage visitors to hop on board these unique, chair-mounted sleds.

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 a certain distance in unison, without stopping or falling over.

Bandy: This ancestor of modern ice hockey will engage participants in a form of field hockey on ice. This activity is presented by the Embassy of Sweden.

Historic Skating Rink:
Lord Dufferin built the first skating rink at Rideau Hall in 1872. Glide to music on this historic ice rink.

Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing: Explore the grounds of Rideau Hall on a snowshoeing or cross-country ski trail. Snowshoes and skis will be available on-site.

The Nakkertok Cross-Country Ski Club, from 1:30 – 3 p.m.: Coaches will provide information on cross-country skiing while young skiers, aged nine to12, provide demonstrations.

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

Meet the Ice Hogs, from 2 – 3 p.m.: Don’t miss a special visit by the Ice Hog Family, Winterlude’s official mascots, at the Giant Ski race.

Military Family Resource Centre: Come and do a craft, get your face painted and write a message to troops deployed in Afghanistan.

Tours of Rideau Hall: Take a break from the outdoors and tour the residence's historic ceremonial rooms.

Refreshments: Savour a delicious hot chocolate and tasty cookies during this afternoon of winter festivities.