The Winter Party in the Park was a Huge Success

Story: SueEllen MacGowan, photos: Jim Lamont.

Brantwood Park drew crowds of neighbours for the annual Winter Party in the Park and Soup Cook-off the afternoon of Sunday, January 21st. Thanks to many volunteers, sponsors, chefs and organizers; the event was a huge success and went smoothly despite plus temperatures.

“Weather is always an unpredictable factor,” said Carol Workun, Executive Director of the Community Activities Group of Old Ottawa East (CAG) that runs the annual event. “This year we thought we might have to cancel due to the effects of the warm weather on the ice, but we made our final call to carry-on with full support of Marco DeNigris, of the Brantwood Rink Group. We really appreciate it, since everything went really well and it was wonderful to see the park and the beautiful rink so well used.”

Visitors to this free-event enjoyed horse-drawn sleigh rides, sledding, snow-shoeing, skating, hockey target shooting, and roasting marshmallows against the scenic backdrop of the Rideau River. Inside the Brantwood fieldhouse, there was hot chocolate, hot dogs, popcorn, baked goods and soups entered into the cook-off.

Selena Arvai and her Minestrone soup won the Cook-off, as judged by community members, she received a $100 gift certificate from Al’s Steakhouse. Additional prizes were donated by The Royal Oak on The Canal and distributed to others. CAG greatly appreciated the great support of all this year’s participants, which included Todd Dunnett’s delicious Sausage Minestrone. Soup submitted was quickly consumed by enthusiastic taste-testers (see recipes at below, under photos).

Elysia Allen won the candy jar guess, guessing 48, the correct number! The candy jar was filled with an assortment of different sized gummy candies, 64 individuals tried to their luck in guessing the number crammed inside the mason jar.

“The Winter Party is a great way to connect with neighbours while having fun outside as a family,” said Leah Skuce of Old Ottawa East. “We go every year and are always impressed by how great everything is and much our kids never want to go home at the end.”
CAG thanks its community partners who helped make this event possible, including City of Ottawa, Sandy Hill Community Health Centre Watson’s Pharmacy and Wellness Centre, The Green Door, Diane & Jen Realty, The Regional Group – Greystone Village, Bank of Montreal – Lansdowne.

CAG also thanks Loblaws, Pretoria for donating some of the food and Al’s Steakhouse and The Royal Oak on the Canal for donating cook-off prizes.

CAG also thanks its large team of volunteers, without whom there would be no event:
Marie-Eve Noel, Jim Lamont, Nick Workun, Lisa & Todd Dunnett, Ben Hebb, Fiona Clark, Jane Gough, Selena Fraser, Carol Anne Owen, Marnie Drover, Chaz Davies, Camrose Burdon, Sevda Lisiecki, SueEllen MacGowan, Tina Raymond, Suzanne Gagnon, Heather Jarrett, Dave Macki, Ramine Shaw, Jim Fraser and Tera Winter.

CAG also extends its warm appreciation to rink volunteers without whom the event would not be possible.

Did you enjoy the Winter Party?? Please considering volunteering for our upcoming Valentines Days Skate and Chili Cook-Off!! These Events NEED volunteers like you to make them a success! Contact Lisa at volunteer@OttawaEastCAG for more info. The Valentine Skate is Friday, February 9 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. in Brantwood Park, more info:

Even more picture can be found in the CAG Facebook Album

The winning soup - Minestrone
Heat in large soup pot until bacon has released its fat (2 – 3 mins):
• 2T olive oil
• 2 slices bacon
Then add:
• 1 ½ C chopped onions
• ¾ C chopped carrots
• ¾ C minced celery, including leaves
• 3 chard leaves, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• One 4-inch sprig of fresh rosemary or 1 t dried rosemary
• ¼ C packed basil leaves, chopped
• ¼ C packed parsley leaves, chopped
Cook until vegetables are tender (~ 10 mins). Stir in:
• One 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, crushed
Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat for 3-5 mins. Stir in:
• One 15.5 to 19 ounce can beans (whatever you prefer), half of them mashed
• 10 C stock (whatever you prefer)
• 2 t salt
• 2x3 inch parmesan rind
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partly covered for 30 minutes. Remove rosemary sprig. Stir in:
• 1 C elbow macaroni
Simmer for 15 mins. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe credit: The Joy of Cooking

The runner up - Sausage Minestrone
4 hot or mild Italian sausages (500g)
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 each onions, carrots and celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
1 ½ tsp salt
2 cans red or white kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 can tomatoes, mashed
¼ tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
2 small zucchini, chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ small cauliflower, chopped
1 cup small short pasta
Grated parmesan cheese
Cut sausages into small bite-size pieces. In large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat; fry sausages, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.
Drain fat from skillet. Fry onions, carrots, celery, garlic, oregano and salt over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about five minutes. Scrape into slow cooker.
Add 1 cup of water to skillet; bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from bottom of skillet. Scrape into slow cooker along with beans, 5 cups of water, tomatoes, pepper and bay leaf. Stir to combine.
Cover and cook on low until vegetables are tender, about six hours. Add zucchini and parsley. Cover and cook on high until zucchini is tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in saucepan of boiling salted water, cook cauliflower and pasta until cauliflower is tender and pasta is tender but firm, six minutes. Drain and stir into slow cooker. Discard bay leaf. Serve with cheese.