By Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Mother Nature drowned out Canada Day on Parliament Hill and now she might freeze out New Year’s Eve.
Organizers were checking the forecast every hour Friday hoping to see some improvement but the polar vortex that has turned Ottawa into a living icicle shows no sign of lifting until at least January 2.
That’s put plans for a New Year’s Eve party on the hill to close out Canada 150 celebrations in limbo, Andrew Campbell, the senior executive director in charge of the Canada 150 secretariat, on Friday morning.
Some events were briefly listed as cancelled on the government’s website early Friday, but in an interview with The Canadian Press around 9 a.m., Campbell said no final decision had been made.
Campbell said with the current forecast offering up temperatures close to -28 Celsius with 15 km/hour winds, fireworks and a multimedia light show might not be able to continue.
“Within the next very short while we’re going to have to make some calls on what exactly will go on,” Campbell said.
Campbell said he doesn’t want a situation where the equipment doesn’t work or fireworks sputter and die because of the cold and people need to be given the information in time to make their own call about what to do.
Hip hop artist Kardinal Offishall is among the artists scheduled to perform on Parliament Hill Sunday night. News on social media that the party might be cancelled prompted him to post his displeasure.
“Noooooooooo!!!,” read a message on his official Twitter account.
“Damn you frigid temperatures!!!!”
Campbell said it will be disappointing if things end up being cancelled but there is still lots going on for New Year’s Eve.
He pointed to Nimidiwin, a showcase of Indigenous culture being put on at the Canadian Museum of History on Sunday afternoon, and the official lighting of the National Arts Centre’s new Kipnes Lantern, which is the showpiece of its $110.5 million makeover.
The weather has already forced the cancellation of youth hockey games on the Parliament Hill Canada 150 skating rink but Campbell said public skating continues.
The City of Ottawa has already moved all its events indoors including a session of Parka Yoga and a concert.