Everything You Want to Know About Winterlude

Winterlude 2020

As one of the most popular events of the year in the City of Ottawa, Winterlude is no stranger to locals and tourists during the two weeks (and three weekends) of excitement and activities that take place. This year’s event, from January 31 until February 17, is already shaping up to be no different. With multiple special events and activities happening both indoors and outdoors, celebrating this Ottawa tradition is one many of us look forward to.

Here are a few things you’ll want to know to help you plan your Winterlude experience:

It’s important to remember that there are multiple event locations.

See the Sparks Fly

Photo credit: Ottawa Tourism

Sparks Street will be host to Ice Sculptures (like a giant mastodon by the Canadian Museum of Nature), concerts, The Tim Horton’s Chill Zone (with complimentary hot chocolate and coffee), The Hockey Circus Zone, a free hot dog lunch one day and the list goes on. In particular, you’ll want to check out the interactive light display, the largest one ever at Winterlude. The combination of art and technology turns Sparks Street into a magical place!

Snow, Snow, Snow…

Photo credit: Ottawa Tourism

Snowflake Kingdom is always a favourite for kids of all ages. Future snow sports enthusiasts can take an introductory class for skiing or snowboarding, crawl and climb through an outdoor obstacle course, play giant games, check out the kiddie zone, glide down the slides (big and small) and of course, keep an eye out for the Ice Hogs, Winterlude’s mascots!

Don’t Miss the Canal

Photo credit: Ottawa Tourism

One of the most popular places to spend time is the Rideau Canal. When the weather is cooperating, parts of the historic location are open for you to grab your helmets and skate! Find the Tim Horton’s hockey zone, and then stop to enjoy a Beavertail at some point too.

And More

While those three locations mentioned above feature many of the main Winterlude attractions, throughout all of Ottawa you’ll find Winterlude activities taking place in the city. In Ottawa’s East End at the Shenkman Arts Centre, Fete Frissons once again returns for free family festivities like crafts, coding and more.

During Winterlude Weekends, families can go underground with Winterlude at the Bunker. Head out on a snowflake scavenger hunt, play a game of three on three mini-sticks hockey (Canada vs Russia!) and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate. The cost for this event is included in the cost of admission to the museum.

Get creative during Winterlude Creative Sundays at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Children will find inspiration and interactive art opportunities every Sunday of Winterlude from 10 am until 2 pm. Best of all, this event is absolutely free.

On February 1st, bring the family to Rideau Hall, home to Canada’s Governor-General, and take part in free activities like skating on their outdoor rink, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and curling. Then enjoy traditional food and drink from various countries.

More information before you go

Photo credit: Ottawa Tourism

On weekends, the Sno-Bus will be transporting guests from various locations in Ottawa and Gatineau to key Winterlude areas or nearby streets. There is a schedule online available to learn more about the locations and departure times so you can easily plan your Winterlude adventures.

The best way to stay up to date with all of the activities happening during Winterlude across Ottawa is to browse their online calendar. You can sort by activity, the destination you’ll be visiting or date to ensure you keep track of starting and closing times so you don’t miss any of the fun! The interactive map will also help your planning.

Winterlude is an annual event not to be missed in Ottawa. With activities for all ages, free opportunities to enjoy winter, and special events, it’s easy to see why the city comes to life, no matter what the temperatures are outside, during these weeks.




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