Winterlude, Winter Sports

The Ottawa Public Library is back to share some of their favourite books for children with us. This month’s post is by Sue Townley from the Sunnyside Branch.


Tacky and the Winter Games by Helen Lester
Tacky the penguin is back to compete at the penguin winter Olympics. While the other penguins train and prepare Tacky is his usual lazy self and continues to sleep through the exercises and eat all his favourite foods, pizza, chips doughnuts. In the end Tacky saves the day and leads his team to victory in his fun and zany way. A fun read aloud, especially during winter Olympics years.


Pearl’s New Skates by Holly Keller
Pearl receives a pair of skates for her birthday and can’t wait to try them out. She practices her twirls and spins and dreams of how she will gracefully skate over the lake. When the lake finally freezes over she joyfully heads out to skate. She soon learns that it is not as easy as she thought, as she falls head over heels and soon wants to give up. With some encouragement from her Uncle Jack she learns about persistence and succeeds in enjoying herself skating.


Hans Brinker by Bruce Coville
A beautifully illustrated picture book version of the classic Mary Mapes Dodge tale. This version is much shortened but keeps the key elements of the original story. Hans bravely finds medical help for his father, finds his family’s missing money, and shows his strength of character during the famous skating race. The illustrations by Laurel Long contribute to the classic, nostalgic feel of the book. A magical wintery classic for the older reader.


Polar Skater by Sally Grindley
With charming, fanciful illustrations by Heli Hieta the reader is captured by the joy of a young girl learning to skate by herself for the first time. She slides off into an imaginary winter world filled with walrus’, polar bears, wolves and snow geese. Her happiness is contagious and the reader is swept up into the wonder of winter. With rhyming text this book makes a wonderful wintery read aloud for the preschool set.


The Greatest Skating Race by Louise Borden
With talk of the Elfstadentocht taking place this year in Holland this is a perfect read to introduce young readers to the excitement of long distance skating. Set in 1941 in war torn Holland, we are introduced to ten year old Piet who must help his young neighbours escape from the Nazis, who have imprisoned their father for passing messages to the Allies. Piet, a strong skater, leads them along the canals the sixteen kilometres between Sluis and Brugge, Belgium, outwitting German soldiers. In the story we learn about Pim Mueller, the founder of the Elfstadentocht, the Eleven City race that takes place on the canals of Holland on winters the weather allows the 200 kilometre race to take place. Filled with action and tension this is a good read aloud for the older reader.


Sam the Zamboni Man by James Stevenson
Young Matt comes to visit his grandfather, a zamboni driver, in this charming intergenerational tale. Matt has never seen a hockey game or a zamboni and when his grandfather takes him to see his first game his gets to see how important his grandfather is. His grandfather, a former hockey player, awes Matt with not only his zamboni driving skills but his skating skills as well, when he takes Matt to visit the stadium on a quiet night. The highlight of the trip is when Matt gets an opportunity to drive the zamboni himself. His grandfather promises to teach him to skate and play hockey next time he comes for a visit. This combination of hockey and machinery will surely be a hit with younger hockey fans.


Just One Goal by Robert Munsch
Robert Munsch and hockey is a perfect combination. A fun filled story of a girl named Ciara who desperately wants a hockey rink on the river so that she does not have to go all the way across town to play hockey. With a bit of determination and some help from her father she builds that rink and everyone comes out to play. Somehow Ciara’s team cannot seem to win a game and by the final game Ciara is determined to score the winning goal. She is in a race with spring to get her goal before spring melts her rink. A rollicking, action filled tale by one of Canada’s great storytellers.


Sophie Skates by Rachael Isadora
Rachael Isadora, best known for her ballet stories, turns her attention to the world of figure skating. Sophie, age eight, is determined to become a professional figure skater. Sophie’s day begins at 5:00 a.m., with skating lessons and continues through school and then back to the rink to skate some more. This book is an excellent balance between story and information with details about how to properly tie skates and ice-skating moves. With action filled illustrations this is a nice introduction to the hard work and dedication required of a young athlete.

Activities for Kids: Ringette

At the twenty-week ultrasound for our second child, it was revealed we were having another girl.  I was crushed; there would be no little boy for us.  In an effort to cheer me up, my husband would drop little gems on why two girls are awesome.  We wouldn’t need to buy new clothes.  They can share a room.  No hockey.

I know, you’re thinking, girls can play hockey.  Of course, they can, but how often do you ask parents of little girls if they play hockey?  Never.  See, no pressure.  My life with princesses would involve the pleasantly warm and conveniently scheduled activities of ballet and gymnastics, with the occasional art workshop.  And then I became a ringette mom…

If like me, the idea of early morning hockey practices exhausts you but you still would like your child to enjoy many of hockey’s benefits – skating prowess and teamwork – then perhaps you might be a ringette mom (or dad) too! 

Ringette (1)
Ringette (1)

As we’re centrally located, I signed my five-year old, Mikaela, up for the

City of Ottawa Ringette Association’s Bunnies Program

which operates October to March on Sundays from 5-6 pm at the Brewer Arena.  On the first night, I watched anxiously from the stands.  There was much falling, and eventually she was placed in a small group of girls who I affectionately referred to as the remedial skating class.  As she came off the ice that night, I braced myself for a disappointed little girl.  Instead, she proudly announced she was the best at getting up off the ice!   Within a few weeks, she “graduated” to join the rest of the girls and she’s delighted in her newfound skating ability; she repeatedly asks when the Canal will be open so we can go skating together.

If you might be interested in signing your child up for ringette, I encourage you to contact the appropriate association in your area.  Early registration often takes place in the spring with the final registrations being accepted in August / September:

•         Nepean Ringette Association Bunnies Program runs Friday from 6-7 pm at the Bell Arena.  Although ringette is often considered a girl sport, it is normal to see boys in the bunnies program and Nepean has several boys this year.

•         Gloucester-Cumberland Ringette Bunnies Program runs Saturdays 9-10 am at the Blackburn Arena (Junior Bunnies) or Sundays 4-5 pm at the Ray Friel Arena (Senior Bunnies).

•         West Ottawa Ringette Association Bunnies Program runs Saturdays at 8 am (Junior Bunnies) or 9 am (Senior Bunnies).

•         Metcalfe & District Ringette Association Bunnies Program runs Saturdays from 4:30-5:30 pm at the Osgoode Arena.

•         Les Moustiques de Ringette Gatineau jouent les samedis à 9h.

Kari is the mom of two girls, a 5 year old and a 1 year old.  She can be found frequenting free activities throughout the city in hopes it’ll tire them out enough to sleep through the night.

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Season of Giveaways: Sens Skills {CLOSED}

Looking for a great stocking stuffer this holiday season? Sens Skills presented by Metro is coming up on Wednesday December 28 at 1 p.m. at Scotiabank place. Tickets start at just $7.50 and are on sale now at Don’t miss out on fun for the entire family!

See your favourite Senators compete against each other in fun skill-testing events similar to what will be seen during the 2012 NHL All-Star Skills competition.

Events include hardest shot, fastest skater, accuracy shooting, and break away drills.

The event is a fun and relaxed atmosphere. In the past players have worn funny wigs or skated the wrong way, all for laughs.

The Skills Challenge is a great opportunity to explore ScotiaBank Place and check out the newly installed scoreboard. (don't laugh this is a big deal)

Proceeds from the event go to the Sens Foundation and the NHLPA’s Goals and Dreams Fund.

More great reasons to get tickets:

-          Fun for the entire family

-          Great stocking stuffer

-          Free parking

Have you voted? NHL All Star Voting:

Ottawa is hosting the 2012 NHL All Star game for the first time in franchise history. Let's make sure our Ottawa Senators are well represented on the starting line-up. Wouldn't it be great for Daniel Alfredsson, currently the longest serving captain in the NHL, to be the starting forward on home ice.

How to vote:

  • Head online to and register to vote 30 times for your Ottawa Senators!  It’s quick and easy!
  • Grab your web-enabled mobile device -> Text the name of your selection to 81812

Currently on the ballot are Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, and Michel Michalek as forwards and Erik Karlsson and Sergei Gonchar on defence.

You can write in the name of another Sens player that doesn't appear on the ballot. Maybe Craig Anderson, our starting goalie, deserves a chance.

All those who vote are eligible to win tickets to the All-Star game.


We're giving away a set of four tickets in the 300 levels and a set of two tickets in a suite for the Sens Skills Competition on December 28 at 1pm.  To enter just leave a comment telling us who you've voted for to be a part of the all-star game lineup. Contest closes December 26 at 5pm. Winners will be responsible for picking up the tickets from an agreed upon location.

One entry per family. Tickets for the 300 levels will be drawn first.

Winners will be selected using And the Winner Is plugin. In the event of a plugin failure, we will use


Our tenth winner of a Family Pass to the Canadian Mint is Brenda A.!

If you leave a comment on any post for the duration of the giveaway, you are entered to win. Additional comments are not required and won't increase your chances of winning (though they are always welcome).


Royal Canadian MintWe are going to be giving out one pass a day for the next 2 days. To enter leave a comment on any one of the giveaway posts or tweet about the giveaway:

I’d love to win a family pass to the @canadianmint from #kidsinthecapital this holiday season!

Only one entry will count and you can only win once.

Winners will be picked each day from all comments and tweets received by 8:00pm. If you'd like to know more about this giveaway and the Canadian Mint, please read our introduction post.

Speedy Sens Giveaway: Tickets to Florida Panthers this Thursday! {CLOSED}

Thank you for coming by - this giveaway is now closed to new entries. Winner will be announced Wednesday, December 21, 2011. GO SENS GO!

We have a set of four tickets to give away for this Thursday night's game between the Ottawa Senators and the Florida Panthers. It's the perfect pre-Christmas activity for you and your family!


Leave a comment on this post telling us what your favourite concessions treat is (pretzels, pizza, Beaver Tails - anything!) and you're in. Your comment must be received by 8:00pm, Tuesday, December 20, 2011. We'll close comments at 8:00pm so we can do a random draw and the winner will be announced tomorrow on the blog. We will contact the winner tomorrow to arrange a pickup location for the tickets.

So, what IS your favourite concessions treat at Sens games?

Family Fun with the Ottawa Senators

by Anna When I was asked if our family would like to attend an Ottawa Senators game and share all about it, I was thrilled. Neither of our children had been to an NHL game but both loved the idea of it. We were invited to watch a preseason game where Ottawa played Montreal. The kids were excited and my Husband treated our son to a very special privilege. He brought out his Ottawa Senators Jersey that his own Father had bought at the very first game of the New Ottawa Senators 20 years ago, when Ottawa played Montreal on October 8th, 1992 and won. That being said, our daughter had outgrown her jersey so we did make a purchase that night so both kids would be decked out in all their finery.

Sens Game too

We made sure to arrive early as there was lots to be seen an do prior to the game. There was a tent set up with a band, a bounce house and blow up slide. There was face painting and 50/50 tickets. We made sure to enjoy all of it! Since it was their first experience we wanted to make sure it was memorable. After our turn on the slides we made sure to head inside early so we could could have a slice of pizza for supper. While enjoying out pizza we actually had a lady come up and talk to us to see if we needed anything. She was part of the hospitality team and was there to make sure our visit to Scotiabank place for a Sens game was all we wanted it to be, this was a nice touch. We also made sure we bought 50/50 tickets because you just never know when your number might come up and the other 50 goes towards such great causes through the Sens Foundation.

Sens Game

The kids quickly chose their favorite players from the roster that was handed out that night and decided who they were going to cheer on. And cheer they did! We actually thought that our daughter might fall asleep, but she made it to the very end before crashing in the car on the ride home. The Senators started out strong at the beginning and were leading for quite sometime then Montreal showed up and the game ended in a tie. And unfortunately when there is a tie game it goes to a shoot-out and Montreal happened to win the shoot-out. So for our first hockey night for the family we didn't get to see the Sens win. But that's ok, it just means that we will have to go back again soon to watch another one.

A family can easily afford a night out at a game in Ottawa, although not quite as inexpensive as a movie, I would say that you get a lot more bang for your buck! You can purchase tickets in the Coca-Cola Zero Zone starting at $15 each. If you bring your car you will need to pay for parking which was $11 in the lot we parked in. And if you would like to get a drink or some snacks, I would say to bring at least another $30 depending on what you would like to have. So a family of four can easily attend a game for $100.

We look forward to our next family adventure with the Ottawa Senators.

Anna is a Mom of two (4 & 8 ) and Step-Mom to one (19), owner of Anna Epp Photography and also blogs at Life is Good...At the Beach.

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