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Live the Nordic Experience During Winter Celebration at Rideau Hall

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 01/22/13 -- 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 during Winter Celebration at Rideau Hall, on Saturday, January 26, 2013, from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Families and sports enthusiasts will have the opportunity to try a variety of free outdoor activities, including Bandy, a form of field hockey on ice, offered by the Embassy of Sweden; biathlon; cross-country skiing; dog sledding; giant ski races, offered by the Royal Norwegian Embassy; horse-drawn sleigh rides; kicksled excursions, offered by the Embassy of Finland; skating on the outdoor rink (ice conditions permitting); and snowshoeing. The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands invites children to make Canada-Netherlands friendship mittens at their craft station.

Tours of the Residence

Visitors will also be able to tour the historic residence, its State rooms, and the temporary exhibit 75 years of 'GGreat' Books: the Governor General's Literary Awards, showcasing the more than 600 works that have won the award since 1936.

Parking

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 Rideau Hall grounds via Princess Anne Gate.

Activities

All activities are free of charge and will take place rain or shine. Winter Celebration is presented in partnership with the Embassy of Finland, the Embassy of the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Royal Norwegian Embassy, the Embassy of Sweden, and the National Capital Commission.

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.

Craft Station: Children can make Canada-Netherlands friendship mittens at the craft station, presented by the Embassy of the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands.

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 precursor of modern ice hockey will engage participants in a form of field hockey on the skating rink. This activity is presented by the Embassy of Sweden. (Ice conditions permitting.)

Historic Skating Rink: Skate on the historic rink, first established in 1872, by Lord Dufferin, Canada's third governor general. (Ice conditions permitting.)

Biathlon Demonstrations: Coaches and young athletes from Biathlon Canada/Chelsea Nordiq Club will demonstrate the skiing and shooting skills required in this demanding sport.

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 (starting at 1:30 p.m.): Coaches will provide information on cross-country skiing while young skiers, aged seven to 12, demonstrate their skills.

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

Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides: Take a break and hop on a horse-drawn wagon ride, offered by Cundell Stables, or on a horse-drawn sleigh ride, offered by the RCMP.

Obstacle Course: Members of the Governor General's Foot Guards will introduce visitors to some of their training exercises with a fun obstacle course on the grounds.

Winterlude's Official Mascots: Don't miss a special visit by the Ice Hog family: Papa, Mama, Noumi and Nouma will be on hand to greet visitors with warm hugs.

Tours of Rideau Hall: Take a break from the outdoors and tour the residence's historic ceremonial rooms and learn more about Canada's history and the role of the governor general.

Snacks: Savour delicious taffy on snow, cookies, hot chocolate and other hot beverages during this afternoon of winter festivities.

To obtain a site map of all the activities, visit www.gg.ca/visitus.

Follow GGDavidJohnston and RideauHall on Facebook and Twitter.

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