A few weeks ago, I got an email from Rob’s mother explaining that her son was planning a surprise marriage proposal in Ottawa during Winterlude. He was travelling from Kitchener and was planning a surprise winter wonderland proposal. I was able to give him some tips to help him plan his surprise proposal.
I love photographing proposals, so I said yes right away! Rob and I email a bunch of times to pick the perfect location for him to get down on one knee and pop the question. At first, he was thinking about proposing in the park with all the ice sculptures, but Winterlude changed the sculptures location this year. Although the new location in the market is really continent and fun to visit, the large number of visitors and the overall esthetic is far from romantic.
Since they were going to stay at the Andaz hotel which had an ice bar on the rooftop patio during Winterlude, it seemed like the perfect location for him to propose. However, it only opened at 6pm and Rob was planning to propose earlier in the day to have time for both a photography session following the proposal and a nice romantic dinner to celebrate. After scouting the best winter wonderland locations in Ottawa and providing options to Rob, he chose a quiet section of the Rideau Canal that has a lovely view in the background.
On the day of the surprise Ottawa marriage proposal, it was snowing heavily and it seemed perfect for the winter wonderland theme Rob had envisioned. But as I arrived at the stretch of the Rideau Canal we had planned to meet, I could hear loud music and see an organized game of ice hockey along with spectators right beside where we planned to meet. The proposal spot was also closed with construction fences. I quickly messaged Rob to let him know and gave him instructions to go on the other side of the construction fences where there wasn’t anybody.
When they arrived on the Rideau Canal they were “deciding” whether or not they would rent skates and go skating. Then when on the ice right beside Mile 0 of the Rideau Canal Skateway and Rob dropped on one knee, right at the beginning of the largest skating rink in the world. At that moment, it did not matter that there was people around playing hockey or loud music playing, all that mattered was the marriage proposal. Hillary didn’t really believe it was real until Rob told her that it was and that she was even being photographed! She hadn’t noticed me until then, because I was pretending to be photographing the hockey game.
Following the surprise Ottawa marriage proposal, we walked around downtown Ottawa to the spots with the best backgrounds, even though with all the snow that was falling you couldn’t always see too far. We even went on the canal where there was more people and they were able to experience Winterlude on the Rideau Canal Skateway for a few minutes. We also went in front of Parliament, in Major Hill Park and the Byward Market on the way back to the Andaz Hotel. We were able to experience the best of Winterlude, including an ice sculpture competition out the Lord Elgin hotel.
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