Last year was the first winter I didn't skate on The Rideau Canal since about 1997. We were living in Waterloo last winter, a long commute to the Canal, and the one weekend I did make it here I was about 6 months pregnant and already Large And In Charge and wasn't willing to risk catching my blade in a crack in the ice. Henry would have been fine but my body wouldn't have liked the 165 pounds of momentum behind that fall.
I'm making up for lost time this winter. I've been out three times on the Canal and twice on our local rink helping the girls learn to skate. Next weekend, we'll be in Gravenhurst skating on Kahshe Lake in front of my dad's house if all goes according to plan. My legs are slowly remembering what to do and how to recover. Pushing Henry in a heavy stroller (Peg Peregos are great but not exactly lightweight) makes it an even better workout... especially if I'm skating into the wind.
My sort-of routine is to go to the Canal on Wednesday and Friday afternoons while both girls are in school. I hope to keep doing this as long as the ice is decent. Wouldn't you with scenes like this?
My only complaint up to this point has been the lack of decent food on the canal for a gluten-sensitive girl like me. Beavertails? Yum but fully-glutened and not exactly a healthy choice for lunch. Poutine? That gravy is likely chalk-full of wheat or something related (if it is even identifiable outside of a lab) and it tastes like shite. Why can't we get a decent poutine on the Canal? We're in a city ripe with good poutine. It's about LAYERS, friends, LAYERS. Fries, cheese curd, GOOD gravy, repeat. NOT fries, more fries, a bit more fries, a few curds, a brown sludge poorly resembling gravy.
Of course, poutine is definitely not going to make the list of healthy lunch choices, even when done well.
And then along came the soup lady. Stone Soup Foodworks was profiled in The Ottawa Citizen this week so I, like many other people on the Canal yesterday, sought her out. I had her Thai Squash Soup for lunch. It was delicious and nice and spicy. Clearly Ottawans have been wanting this because the line was huge by the time I joined it. I bought the last bowl of squash soup and she was almost out of bread (which I didn't take - she gave me 50 cents off as a result. Very friendly.). I hope she's a new fixture on the Canal because she's set a new standard.
So, for all of those Ottawa mums out there who are feeling a little house-bound: get out there, get skating and have some soup. Henry says so! (Don't worry, Rose, he survived the cold!)