a peek inside the fishbowl

12 Jul, 2005

Hot pavement, warm water and ill-fitting swimsuits

Posted by andrea in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Ottawa

On Monday the four of us went to Mont Cascades, a water park about 45 minutes outside of Ottawa on the French side of the river.

If you’ve got some kids and are looking for a fun place to spend the day, this is a great place to do it. Once the admission price is paid it’s a little slice of waterslide heaven and one is free to indulge in as many wet vertical drops one can stand.

They’ve revamped their kiddie area and introduced five mini-water slides. They were the perfect size and speed for the girls, especially Sarah, who is four and wasn’t quite able to master the art of staying upright while sliding down with water rushing around her and making it all slippy-like.

Once we conquered the kiddie area we went for the bigger rides. As newbies, we entered at the first gate we saw, grabbed an inner tube (this particular one was a two-seater) and climbed the stairs. We had no idea where we were going. The line divided and we made an arbitrary decision to stay to the right. Soon enough we realized we were heading into Black Magic, a fast and twisting ride that occurs in near darkness.

Sarah and I went down together. She plunked herself in the seat in front of me, her rump (and most of her body) dangling in the hole and her little legs poking out over the front edge. And off we went. I held on to her for dear life. I couldn’t tell what she was thinking because she suddenly went quiet. Was she ok? What did she think about careeening crazily down a pitch-black tube, hearing nothing but rushing water and screaming teenage girls? Was I scarring her for life? When we reached splashdown I wasn’t sure how she’d react. But all was good! She loved it. No scarring! And it became the first of MANY fun slides for us all.

I think the highlight for Mark was The Vortex, which in my opinion should be renamed The Toilet, because that’s exactly what it looks like. I wonder how the inventor of The Vortex came upon the idea for this particular attraction? Hmmm.

The participant is shot down a tube. The angle/velocity are very high. Mark swears that he’s never traveled so fast in a non-motorized way before. Shot through the tube, gravitational forces make way to centrifugal, as the victim participant is deposited into a large bowl. The person spins around and around the inside of a bowl (see what I mean about the toilet concept?) and after a few rotations s/he plummets out the bottom into a 10ft deep pool of water with even more water streaming out from overtop, falling on top of their heads.

It’s a recipe for disaster, if you ask me.

The girls and I waited for daddy to “arrive” and get spat out the hole. We had ample opportunity to observe many waterlogged and otherwise disoriented people dropping out of the bottom of The Vortex, many of whom tumbled out backwards and headfirst. About 75 per cent of the time the lifeguard had to holler at them to make sure they swam out the right way. These people emerged sputtering and rubbing their eyes and noses. I don’t think I saw anyone head back up the stairs for another turn.

This is not to say it wasn’t fun. Mark made it down without sustaining injury, although he did almost lose his contacts. Overall he gave it a thumbs-up.

It was the perfect day for water action. Unfortunately the water in the kiddy pool was uncomfortably warm, which may or may not be attributed to the sauna-like temperature of the day. Dousing myself in the pool offered about the same amount of refreshment as a melted ice-cream cone.

It was so hot, that I could not shake the feeling that I was walking in a giant oven. The heat was radiating from above AND below.

Ninety per cent of the walking surface is paved in jet black asphalt. Was this aspect of the park planned by someone who has lived through a summer in these parts? Was it done by accident, or was it merely cheaper? Because I’ll tell ya, it hurt to walk barefoot on this, the sidewalk to Hades. By the end of the day I could feel the burn on the soles of my feet, and my skin forming a thick pumice-proof layer to protect itself from future exposure to scorching walkways.

There were people, SMART people, who brought water shoes. I would have paid someone major bucks for something to protect my feet.

These kinds of places make for interesting people watching. All kinds of folks come here, and for some reason there seemed to be an awful lot of tattoos and body piercings. Perhaps this was only my imagination, since I don’t usually frequent places in which there is so much skin on display. It is hard to make the adjustment. So many bodies. Everywhere!

It was like seeing a bathing suit show, live, with a wide variety of models. Some looked great. Some not-so-great. But it was good to see people out there, comfortable in their own skin. My own bathing attire, which I had crowed about in an article I wrote for the Citizen, is coming apart at the hip-side seam. I cannot tell you whether it’s a result of the quality of the suit, or recent weight gain. I figure it’s the latter. Stuffing my face with gummi bears and cheese dip (mind you, not at the same time) is not the quick road to weight loss.

Anyway, it was a fun day, and we all arrived home totally exhausted, feeling both baked and waterlogged at the same time. The girls proclaimed that a repeat visit was in order. Next up: a visit to Marmora on Wednesday. Stay tuned. :)


3 Responses to "Hot pavement, warm water and ill-fitting swimsuits"

1 | Zoe

August 18th, 2005 at 9:26 am

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Hi,
I’m one of the Lifeguards who works at the water park and this is a Lovely entry about our resort! I’m really glad you & your family enjoyed your stay. I can see you were not too fond of the asphalt they used for the paths. Well neither was I when I started to work there, but they used that asphalt becuase its bumpy and much harder to slip on.

All-in-all it’s definatly a place for fun in the sun :-)

2 | uzy

July 11th, 2006 at 6:25 pm

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hey id like to ask how deep are all the rides when u splash into the pool. are there any that are more than 5 feet deep?

3 | Bloodless

August 9th, 2018 at 1:26 pm

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The park definitely is super-fun.
I agree about the asphalt pathways – which is why we definitely wear our water shoes.
The Vortex is an interesting slide.
I have been injured (minor) on it a few times, over 2 years in a row.
I spoke to others and they report the same.
I think the issue is in the design.
The first year it seemed that the (seams) were not completely flush, and you would hit these uneven parts at high speed.
This year, the huge opening where water is forced into the vortex was an issue. For some reason, upon entering the Vortex, and on the first rotation, you actually “hit” this opening – once again, at high speed.
I hope they fix / replace the entire slide for a better design that does not have these issues.

Other than that one slide, the rest of them are great fun.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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