“The snow falls softly, the lake lies frozen and still,” wrote the priest Eduard Ebel in 1895, and his poem would go on to become one of the most famous winter carols in the German language. In Ottawa too, the snow falls softly and covers the city in what looks like a dusting of icing sugar.
In the morning when the sun rises over the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ottawa’s full charm is revealed. The canal regularly freezes over during winter, turning the 7.8 kilometre long section in the city centre into the world’s biggest natural ice rink. At this time of year, once dusk settles over the capital, the city lights up in an array of different colours, indicate the imminent arrival of Christmas.
An opening ceremony with a light display marks the start of the celebrations and the spectacle continues into early January. The initiative began in 1985 with the aim of brightening up the city during winter, although initially Parliament Hill was the only area illuminated. Over the years the program has gradually expanded and the display of Christmas lights along Confederation Boulevard is magnificent. The sight would no doubt warm the hearts of the 24 national team coaches who have travelled to the city for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ Final Draw.
Take a look at this selection of pictures of Ottawa gearing up for Christmas to make the wait for the forthcoming draw a little more bearable.