FAB Guide to Winterlude 2014

Since winter is here to stay and you need to keep your babes at bay, we thought that a guide to the capital’s famous winter festival would be fitting. With three weeks of fun-filled winter activities, we’ve got you covered on what to wear, where to go and other tips during the 36th edition of Winterlude.

With nearly 600,000 people in attendance each year, it’s no wonder Winterlude is the place to be in February. The festivities kick off on Friday January 31st at 7 p.m. in Confederation Park with Winterlude’s Great Winter Ball and conclude on Monday February 17th. From skating to snacking and ice sculptures and sliding, there is plenty for the whole family to enjoy.

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WHAT TO WEAR

This winter in Ottawa, we’ve seen temperatures drop to the near 40s with the wind chill and days with sunshine and single digits, so you can never be too cautious when dressing your little ones for a day outside. The key here is layering. If it’s too hot, they can take something off and when Jack Frost comes nipping, they can bundle back up.

This week at all our Fab store locations and online, you can save 25% our winter gear stock. Pick up a pair of mimiTENS for little fingers and a pair of Stonz Booties to keep tiny toes toasty. If you’re looking for a little more coverage from the cool winter air, try a 7am Enfant Le Sac Igloo. Bundle your babes up in the cozy bunting bag while they’re in a sleigh, stroller or carrier.

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WHERE TO GO

There are three main locations that Winterlude activities take place. The first is the Crystal Gardens in Confederation Park. Ice carvers from across the globe showcase their talents by turning big blocks of ice into beautiful sculptures. In the evening the sculptures are lit up with captivating and colourful lights that bring their masterpieces to life. From there you can snack on sticky maple syrup sticks, learn a bit about Canadian heritage at various kiosks them slip over to your next location.

The Rideau Canal Skateway is the world’s largest skating rink measuring at nearly 8 km of slippery fun. Several vendors are located along the skateway allowing you to rent skates, warm up and buy the renowned Beaver Tail treat. On Feberuary 1st, the Winterlude Triathlon takes place where hundreds of winter enthusiast race down 8 km of ice, ski for 5 km and wrap it all up with a 5 km run. In addition to the winter sport fun is the Great Canadian Beaver Cup Pond Hockey Classic on Dow’s Lake. From February 7-9, watch the teams go head to head for some good old fashion winter fun.

Last, but most certainly not least is Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau, home to the biggest snow playground on the continent! The Snowflake Kingdom is where you’ll find all the fun and snowy activities you and your kids will love. Slide down the Chinook, Iceberg and Glacier super slides or experience the XTRÊME Zone where you’ll find a four-line zipline, pedal go-karts, bungee trampoline and the all new giant snow maze. While you’re there, try to find the Ice Hog family for a cuddly hug. The mysterious winter creatures have come to the capital to celebrate Winterlude for many years and enjoy the winter festivities.

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HELPFUL TIPS

  • Pack snacks: Though Beaver Tails and hot dogs are a fun way to keep their bellies full, pack some little snacks to keep your kids energized and happy. Trail mix, granola bars and crackers are easy non-perishable treats.
  • Bring cash:  Though there are several ATMs along the way, most vendors only accept cash which results in long lineups and tired little ones. If you’re planning on grabbing some hot cocoa, beat the crowd by carrying some small change on you.
  • Take the OLG Sno-Bus: On all three Winterlude weekends (Feb 1-2, Feb 8-9 and Feb 15-16), OC Transpo and OLG provide several free shuttle buses that travel to all the different events.
  • Bring backup: Sometimes little mittens get lost and socks get soggy, so pack an extra pair just in case.

Movie Night & a Facebook Contest!

This weather has me craving blankets, hot chocolate, and all the chick flicks that a girl can handle. There’s just nothing better than nestling up under the covers and settling in for some relaxing entertainment! With that in mind, I’ve compiled my list of Top 5 Make-You-Laugh-Til-You-Cry Expectant Parent films. (Try and say that 3 times fast!)
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Winter Blowout Sale – Happening in store NOW!

We’re clearing the way for some beautiful new pieces at our 1244 Wellington Street West location! If you’re in the market for some gorgeous furniture to outfit your nursery, make sure you have a look at what we have on offer! These great collections include Green Guard certified items- the best way to ensure a safe and healthy nursery for your little one.

Alexa Collection NewsletterAll Seasons CollectionBelmont Collection NewsletterParis Collection NewsletterIsabella Collection NewsletterAnd that’s not all! We’re also offering blowout prices on some of our most popular items;

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The stockings were hung, but the chimney with care…

What can we say? Santa’s been busy! But when he’s rushing around town this weekend searching for the perfect stuffing for your stockings, he’s looking to Fab Baby Gear!

We’ve got board books a-plenty; instill the love of reading early with these great choices from Chronicle! A personal favourite is In my Den. This heartfelt story of a family in hibernation features a finger puppet- perfect for holding the attention of your young reader.

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Choose a developmental toy- one that helps small fingers learn to grasp, squeeze and pull. The Rich Frog Squeak-Easy’s can be lovable lifelong buddies.

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Lamaze toys are all specifically designed with your child’s development in mind. High-Contrast colours, mixed textures and a variety of squeaks, crinkles and honks make for hours of entertainment. Bring one along on car rides, keep in the stroller, or leave at Grandma’s house.

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The Wee Gallery art cards are a classic! Black and white, these cards help children learn the names of a variety of animals. Many parents frame these later for interesting art in the Big Boy or Big Girl room, and they look gorgeous!

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A sure-fire hit, the Sensodot balls are squishable and bouncable! These textured toys are easy to grasp and oh-so-much fun to toss.

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A good choice for Mom & Dad would certainly be any of the Rockabye CD collection. Lull your baby to a sound slumber with the dulcet tones of your favourite bands! Coldplay, the Beatles, Bob Marley- just a few of the choices available! These can be purchased online and at each of our Brick & Mortar locations.

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For more ideas visit us online at www.fabbabygear.com or in store at 1244 Wellington Street West or 755 Bank Street in Ottawa and 286 Danforth Avenue in Toronto.

Got some big news?!?

If you’re sharing some big news this holiday season, why not announce it to Expectant Grandma or Grandpa with a great gift?

Our all-time classic has got to be the I Love … series from Barbamel. These great board books are suitable for the very wee, and allow you to slot in your own family photos!

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I certainly feel it’s worthwhile adding some books to the collection! Traveling to my grandparents house always meant getting to read books that weren’t part of the usual rotation. We’ve got a great selection from $4.99 to $19.99 at each of our Brick & Mortar locations, as well as online.

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Another great plan would be limiting the items that YOU have to travel with! My mom has her own highchair and stroller at her place, ready to go the second the littles arrive. What a stress-reliever when dropping kids off for a babysit!

Our compact high-chairs will take you from home to restaurant and back again. We’ve got the MyLittle Seat for $34.99, the Phil & Teds Lobster for  $79.99 and the Chicco 360 (which spins!) for $89.99.

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And finally, check out these infinitely foldable gems of strollers! The MacLarens have long had a name which stood for durability and craftsmanship.

MaclarenQuestSilverMaclarenVoloDeepWaterC’mon by our stores at 1244 Wellington Street West or 755 Bank Street in Ottawa and 286 Danforth Avenue in Toronto! We’ve got tons of gift suggestions at our fingertips!

The Mamas and Papas

Do you have an expectant or newly minted parent on your Holiday Shopping list this year? Why not splash out on something that they wouldn’t normally buy for themselves! We’ve got a few ideas for keeping gifts useful and interesting!

Carriers are a great way to keep on-the-go parents moving while encouraging the all-important bonding time. Whether you choose a Boba Wrap ($59.99), a Beco Carrier ($139.99) or an Ergo (from $124.99 to $164.99), you’re sure to enjoy toting the little ones around town on your many social calls! We’ve had great customer reviews about each product, and would love to help you choose which carrier suits you most. Samples are available to try on at each of our Brick-And-Mortar locations.

Carriers

You can keep warm on these journeys with the gorgeous (and Canadian-made!) M Coat. This 3-in-1 jacket will take Mom from maternity to carrier and back again. Insulated with pure down, the M Coat is available in black, red, brown, blue and grey and costs $384.99.

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And new this year from 7AM we have the wonderful WarmMuffs! These cozy mitts keep your hands warm on the cool stroller while allowing you quick access to helping baby with bare hands. Available in store for $49.99.

Another great option would be any one of our gorgeous diaper bags! Built to last, you can use these bags long after the diapers have been changed! We’ve got quite a number to choose from, so consider the personality of the parent your shopping for an dive in! Skip Hop, Oioi, Storksak and Babymel are all available in store and online.

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Finally, treat your expectant mom to a Spa Day! Even if it’s in your own home. We’ve got a great selection of Mommy products from both Erbaviva and Substance! Soothing Belly Rubs, Quease -Ease Lip balms and tantalizing massage oils for tender tootsies!

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Come visit us in store for more great suggestions! We’re at 755 Bank Street and 1244 Wellington Street in Ottawa, or 286 Danforth Avenue in Toronto!