Ottawa celebrates frosty fun with Winterlude! Between February 1 and 18, 2019 Canada’s Capital Region transforms into a winter wonderland as the 41st edition of the festival takes over Jacques Cartier Park (Snowflake Kingdom), the Rideau Canal Skateway, and NEW in 2019! the ByWard Market neighbourhood and the Sparks Street pedestrian mall. There’s a focus on Indigenous culture (first weekend), LGBTQ2 communities (second weekend), and family and diversity (third weekend), along with returning fun favourites like ice slides, the Ice Dragon Boat Festival, and the International Ice Carving Competition.
Take advantage of the many skating rinks around Ottawa:
- Experiencing the Rideau Canal Skateway is a bucket list item for many visitors as it is the largest outdoor skating rink in the world, as big as 90 Olympic-sized ice rinks! Experience true Canadiana while skating 7.8km (4.8 miles) with a delicious, hot BeaverTail pastry in your hand! FREE! Skate rentals available.
- The SENS Rink of Dreams is a refrigerated ice surface located outside Ottawa City Hall, adjacent to the Rideau Canal. Check out the sweet lighting display that makes night skating exciting! (December 1, 2018-March 4, 2019, weather permitting). FREE! Skate rentals available.
- Skate outside the historic Aberdeen Pavilion on the Lansdowne Park Skating Court. Follow your session on this refrigerated rink with a bite at one of the many restaurants in Lansdowne or in the nearby Glebe neighbourhood. (December 1, 2018-March 4, 2019, weather permitting). FREE!
- After a tour of Rideau Hall, visit the refrigerated skating rink (originally built in 1872) and Winter Pavilion on the grounds! Public skating is available on weekends. (December 1, 2018-March 24, 2019, weather permitting). FREE!
Ottawa hosts fun sporting events throughout the year; in winter, check out the Ottawa Senators, the capital’s team in the National Hockey League, as they take on teams at the Canadian Tire Centre just west of downtown. Or, watch the Ontario Hockey League Ottawa 67’s play at the Arena at TD Place at Lansdowne!
More fun winter activities include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and fat biking in Gatineau Park (downhill skiing is also available), in the National Capital Commission’s Greenbelt that encircles Ottawa’s urban core, and along the Sir John A. Macdonald Winter Trail along the south shore of the Ottawa River heading west from downtown.