Sunday, February 04, 2007

WinterCityDissapointment 2007

WinterCity 2007

Last night I decided to head out to Nathan Philips Square to take in the "Wintercity Festival". I figured there was ice sculptures, hot chocolate, a concert and much more.

I was sadly dissapointed. Sure there was ice sculptures, but these sculptures you had to line up to see and march through a tent one at a time. Then there were a bunch of commercial operations like Buckly's cough syrup looking for the best "this stuff tastes like puke" faces, the Phantom of the Opera taking pictures and other things like this. Of course each one of these commercial operations had their own tents set up so people could enter and stay warm. Heck, even the concert stage had a large tent in front of it to keep people warm.

If the organizers of Ottawa's Winterlude saw this they would either fall over laughing or have a heart attack at this attempt at a winter festival. Apparently in Toronto we can't have people bundle up for an afternoon or evening of snow fun. No way siree! We have to stick people into tents to keep them warm even when visitors are looking at frozen ice sculptures.

Contrast this to Ottawa where most of the events are outside in local parks or on the Rideau Canal skateway. In Ottawa there is hardly a tent to get into with the exception of the washrooms and skate rental facilities on the Rideau Canal Skateway.

Even worse really the only festival there was in a city of over two million was located in Nathan Philips Square. There is lots of real estate that could be used to widen this festival including Dundas Square and High Park to put on events over two or three weekends. Lets consider that a city of under one million (Ottawa) can put on a large winter carnival over several weekends that many people want to return to year after year. Somehow, the Toronto winter festival just doesn't seem worth returning to.

Even the Winterlicious portion of this winter festival seemed to be a sham. This portion of Toronto's winter festival sees upscale restaurants providing deals to try and bring people in. But appartently there was a hitch at some restaurants according to a Toronto Sun columnist.

The only thing that was a plus for this event was the fact that booklets were handed out that had coupons that provided deals on admission to local attractions like the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Bata Shoe Museum and others. But those coupons could have been easily done via a website in order to provide a wider reach to prospetive Toronto visitors.

I'm sorry, but jamming people into a village of tents in the concrete jungle of Nathan Philips Square just doesn't cut it. Will someone kidnap some of Ottawa's Winterlude organizers to show Toronto how to put on a real winter festival?

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