Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

January 20, 2011 07:37 ET

Media Advisory/Winter Celebration at Rideau Hall: Join the Governor General on January 29 for a Great Nordic Experience!

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 20, 2011) - The Office of the Secretary to the Governor General is pleased to announce a public Winter Celebration will be held at Rideau Hall, on Saturday, January 29, 2011, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston invite the public to get active and come experience Nordic sports and traditions through a variety of free outdoor and interpretive activities.

Families and sports enthusiasts 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. The Royal Norwegian Embassy will host races on giant skis. At 2 p.m., come and cheer on the Governor General as he competes in this friendly race along with guests and visitors.

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 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 will take place rain or shine. For updates, please visit our website at


At 1:45 p.m., Their Excellencies will meet with "Jackrabbit" Johannsen's granddaughter, Karin Austin, and her mother, Peggy Austin, in front of the exhibit on display in the Tent Room. Presented by the Canadian Ski Museum.

At 2 p.m., His Excellency will participate in the Giant Ski race, presented by the Royal Norwegian Embassy. Special guests will join him for the race.

Media wishing to attend these photo opportunities or to cover Their Excellencies as they tour the activities are asked to confirm their attendance in advance with the Rideau Hall Press Office. Media will need to present their identification card at the Princess Gate and will be allowed to park their vehicles on the grounds.

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.

Tours of Rideau Hall, from 1 – 4 p.m.: 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.

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