February 2 – 19, 2018
Come celebrate Canadian winter fun during Winterlude in Canada’s Capital Region! Most festival activities are free and take place during the first three weekends of February each year.
Grab your skates or rent a pair and glide along the Rideau Canal Skateway! This is the world’s largest naturally frozen ice skating rink.
There are also special events like the 38th Annual Accora Village Bed Race. In this beloved Winterlude tradition, costumed teams race decorated hospital beds across the frozen ice. This charity event is fun for all ages, so make sure to bring a camera!
And you won’t want to miss the Ice Dragon Boat Festival. For the second time in North America, dragon boats will race down the frozen Rideau Canal Skateway. Be there to cheer them on!
Admire the dazzling ice sculptures created by professional carvers from around the world, who put their talent to the test by transforming blocks of ice into magnificent sculptures during the International Ice-Carving Competition at Confederation Park’s Crystal Garden.
Also, Snowflake Kingdom – a giant winter playground for young and old – is offered during the week (though usually closed for maintenance Tuesday and Wednesday) and on weekends.
This winter, Jacques Cartier Park will also feature Mosaïvernales – Gatineau 2018, a snow and ice sculpture exhibit based on the popular 2017 MosaïCanada horticultural installation. The event takes place from January 26 to March 4, 2018, overlapping with Winterlude. However, hours will differ and an entrance fee will apply.
The full line up of events for Winterlude 2018 is being confirmed and will be posted on the official Winterlude website.
- Winterlude takes place along the world’s largest skating rink, the Rideau Canal Skateway, and sites across the Capital.
- Fantastic ice carvings by artists from around the world fill Confederation Park in downtown Ottawa.
- A gigantic snow playground – Snowflake Kingdom – welcomes kids of all ages to Jacques Cartier Park in downtown Gatineau.
- The Winterlude mascots – the Ice Hogs family – are reputed to live in Snowflake Kingdom where they love to play in the snow and meet families having fun. They also like to visit the other official Winterlude sites including the Rideau Canal Skateway and Confederation Park.
- Winterlude has been celebrated in Ottawa and Gatineau for 40 years!
- Close to 600,000 people take part in Winterlude activities – most of which are free – each year.