Photo Diary: A (Very) Green Christmas Day in Ottawa

(Publisher-Editor, and

“We haven’t seen anything like this in 53 years,” a member of a family told me outside her home across from Dow’s Lake. There were throngs of people everywhere in Ottawa today, and with an unusually mild day once again – though not as warm as yesterday’s balmy 16C – joggers, cyclists and rollerbladers were to be seen along the canal that would otherwise be filled with skaters. The trade mark BeaverTails outlets on the canal appeared as floating boats, as did the skating rental and changing huts. Also on the canal, the welcome sign “Welcome to the world’s largest skating ring” was laughable.

A bear sculpture at the junction of Sparks and Elgin Streets, Ottawa. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

The lawn of the Parliament was a sea of green, without a hint that it was Christmas day! Over Hog’s Back Park, it was beautiful and inspiring to watch a flock of “migratory” birds flying in coordinated unison. Water gushed down from the Rideau River into Hog’s Back Falls in almost full force with all the gates open. Ten kilometres away, the Ottawa River looked like a river indeed.

I hope you enjoy these photos that I took on Christmas day as well as those in my previous post on Christmas Eve (click Photo Diary: One of the World’s Coldest Capitals, Ottawa, on Christmas Eve 2015)

A show of coordination and unison over Ottawa’s Hog’s Back Park and Falls. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Canada’s majestic Parliament Building on Christmas Day, December 25, 2015. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Visitors admiring sculptures commemorating women on the grounds of Parliament Hill. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

 A young girl runs around a Queen Elizabeth II sculpture at the Parliament Hill, as her friend at the other side of the sculpture tries to chase her down in a game of hide and seek. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

 Throngs of Ottawa and out-of-town visitors at the Parliament Hill on Christmas Day, with  the eternal flame burning in the fountain in the background. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

An amazing view of the locks adjacent to the iconic Chateau Laurier, with the Canadian History Museum and Gatineau Hills in the background. During late spring and summer the stepped locks, that are controlled by gates, become a means for boats to cross to and from the Ottawa River into the Rideau Canal. Normally, the Ottawa River is in a state of freeze by this time of the year, or in early January. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

 The very first set of steps in the downtown core near the National Arts Centre that skaters use to descend into the frozen Rideau Canal. Skaters can then go up to Dow’s Lake, which is seven kilometers to the South. The three huts seen in the water beyond the steps are respectively used as washrooms, changing rooms and for renting skating equipment. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Ottawa’s Confederation Park unbelievably green. This is one of the venues for the annual Winterlude activities such as ice sculpting that take place during the first 3 weeks in February. In the background is the historic Lord Elgin Hotel on Elgin Street. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

An unusual view of the Rideau Canal with the iconic Chateau Laurier in the background. Otherwise, the familiar scene at this time of the year would be snow/ice on the canal, with skaters by the thousands enjoying the longest ice skating rink in the world. After the canal has frozen over several days of extremely cold temperatures, a lot of preparatory work is done in making the canal safe before it is opened to skaters. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Not yet! Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

The Dow’s Lake Pavilion, where many skaters begin or end their skating. The pavilion is host to numerous restaurants on the upper floor. Here, a jogger takes full advantage of the non-slippery path that is offered to him on Christmas Day 2015. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

A plaque explaining the uses of the canal during different seasons of  the year. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

A striking contrast of colours on this mostly ‘white house’ located near Ottawa’s Dow’s Lake. Otherwise, the fences, trees and gardens would be covered in ice/snow. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

The Hog’s Back Falls with the gushing water from the Rideau River making its way to Ottawa River, about 9 kms away to the North, near the French Embassy. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Friends checking out a ‘selfie’ they took at Hog’s Back. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

 Simerg’s publisher/editor – author and photographer of this piece – at Hog’s Back Park. Normally this area where the photo was taken – west side of the Falls – would be closed at this time of year due to extremely dangerous and slippery conditions. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg Collection – taken by a visitor to the Park.

 Hog’s Back Falls, Christmas Day, 2015. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

A rollerblader on the Rideau Canal, Colonel By Drive, takes a tumble as he tries to catch-up with the youth in front of him. Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

A hopeful wait for BeaverTails and hot apple cider to be served from these huts to skating enthusiasts. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

While the wait for snow and freezing temperatures continues, these loons are enjoying their best ever winter on the Rideau Canal! Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

Photos: All photos are Copyright Malik Merchant/Simerg. Reproduction permitted provided photo credit reads Malik Merchant/Simerg. Please specify this blog,, as the source if you use any photo(s).

Date posted: December 25, 2015.


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