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What You Need to Know About Winterlude


From February 2-19, your family will want to take part in this beloved winter event in Ottawa.

Winter in Ottawa is made even more fun thanks to Winterlude, a free yearly celebration of Winter in the City that includes outdoor activities, special food events, musical performances and family fun for everyone. This year, Winterlude celebrates its 40th anniversary with daily opportunities for your family to take part.

Some annual highlights that have become traditions for many remain. The Rideau Canal, the world’s largest skating rink, will welcome skaters from the city and visitors alike.

Confederation Park continues to have ice sculptures to visit or watch being created, and at night, they will glow under the lights. Stick around for live outdoor concerts as well.

It’s important to remember that while some activities are happening daily (like all of the fun of Snowflake Kingdom, the Kiddie Zone for our littlest winter fans, and more) some other activities are only available on specific dates at certain times or may require registration. For example, we think families with children aged 5-8 will love the free ski and snowboarding lessons, but they are available every day except Tuesday and Wednesdays. That’s why we’ve rounded up a few of the tips below to help you plan your Winterlude outings before you go.

Mark your calendars by visiting theirs first

Winterlude will take place from February 2-19 and while many events will take place outdoors, there are plenty happening at different locations (including some indoors) across the city on different days. The Winterlude website has a calendar listing events happening each day, as well as the location. Some are at official Winterlude locations, including Marion Dewer Plaza, The Rideau Canal, Confederation Park and Snowflake Kingdom, while others are located at museums, restaurants and community buildings. Here are some calendar highlights:

The ice carving competition will be on Febraury 2 to 4 at various times, with the awards ceremony on February 4 at 5 pm. This is the perfect opportunity to get an up close and personal viewing of how ice sculptures are made and the talent that goes into creating them.

On February 3, you can register your child for ice dancing lessons at the Sens Rink of Dreams (Marion Dewer Plaza). Children aged 4-17 will love this opportunity. Bring their skates and pre-register your child to participate.

Also on February 3 at 10 am is a free pancake breakfast and hot chocolate at Marion Dewer Plaza. Get there early, as it’s only while supplies last.

On February 10 you’ll want to bundle up to watch the Ice Dragon Boat Race Festival on the Rideau Canal from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm. This is truly a unique experience.

On the Family Day Long weekend, you’ll notice even more events as the event plans to close out on Monday, February 19. Browse the calendar and choose your favourites.

Take note of the major Winterlude locations

Knowing where activities are happening and where to go will help make your Winterlude experience easier to navigate. Snowflake kingdom is a destination for families each year during Winterlude, but this year it’s at a new location at 350 Laurier Avenue. However, the same great activities that we’ve all come to know and love will once again be there. The snow slides return, art displays, snow sculptures and more. Of course, the Ice Hogs Family of mascots return once again and we know how much the kids love them.

Know how to get around

There is a free shuttle bus service between locations in Gatineau and Ottawa on Saturdays and Sundays. You’ll want to visit the Winterlude website for more details about getting around to events as well as the location of the information kiosk when you are out and about and need some assistance.

We know your family will love taking part in this special Ottawa tradition. Winterlude is bound to be another success and you won’t want to miss out on the fun.


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