The NCC’s Yumi Webster shares her secret (and how you can warm up at Winterlude)

Born and bred in Ottawa, Yumi Webster is passionate about Canada’s Capital Region, museums, photography and peanut M&Ms. Sometimes, she tweets. She works at the National Capital Commission as Coordinator of School Programs and Youth Engagement. All opinions here are her own.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret about me. But before I do, there is something you need to understand about where I work.

I work for the National Capital Commission, and we are champions of winter.

During that cold snap we had in mid-January when everyone else was suddenly Googling “last minute sun holiday cheap,” people at my workplace were high-fiving each other in the elevator and saying, “This is great canal weather!”

So, here’s my secret: I really, really dislike the cold. Oh, I get out on the Rideau Canal Skateway every year, and I’ve been snow shoeing in Gatineau Park. I enjoy the Winterlude ice sculptures and I’ll definitely be bringing my toddler to Snowflake Kingdom for the snow slides. But the truth is, after about 30 minutes outside in the cold, the novelty of having rosy cheeks wears off and I just want to go inside and drink hot cocoa.


She might work for the NCC, but Yumi secretly hates the cold…

“I think one of the events should take place indoors,” I told my boss, earnestly, hoping she couldn’t smell desperation. “Somewhere warm. Cozy, even. Maybe with hot cocoa.”

And that is how “Chill Out and Warm Up,” a showcase of heart-warming short films created by youth, came to be.

The evening, which is geared toward young adults, ages 16 to 24, is taking place at HUB Ottawa on Saturday, February 16, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. We’ll be screening nine short films, some of which have won fantastic awards and all of which are awesome and uplifting. Admission is free.

Not only did youth create the films, but we also had a group of youth help us select them. They did a fantastic job. Sarah and the Sock Puppet is goofy and quirky, and delivers a message about being true to yourself without getting hokey. I was both moved and impressed by a fantastic hip-hop video created by four girls in a youth detention centre in British Columbia. And I fell a little bit in love with Jérémie, a 12-year-old boy from Quebec who has a lot to teach us about turtles and a positive attitude.

 Oh, and there will be hot cocoa. And popcorn. And maybe even cookies.

(For the record, there are plenty of great outdoor youth events during Winterblast, if you’re one of those people. Check out the Winterlude website to plan your Winterblast Weekend. Or follow the NCC on Facebook or Twitter.)

Thanks Yumi! What’s your favourite part of Winterlude?