February 1, 2019

February 18, 2019

Free & ticketed events

Various Venues, Ottawa



Events Description

Winterlude transforms Canada’s Capital Region into the ideal destination to celebrate Canadian traditions in wintertime.

An array of activities—reflecting both Canada’s Capital Region and the country as a whole—have been planned for the winter celebration’s three official sites. Snowflake Kingdom, will offer visitors a new experience, as the official site is being relocated to Gatineau’s Jacques-Cartier Park North. Visitors will still get to take part in the fun winter activities they are used to, such as the super slides, but the site will also feature fun Nordic activities and unique performances for kids of all ages.

The Rideau Canal Skateway, presented by OLG, will once again host some of Winterlude’s classic activities, including annual Winterlude Triathlon and the annual Bed Race. Returning to the Canal is an old tradition, the Waiters’ and Waitresses’ Race on Ice, and the hugely successful Ice Dragon Boat Festival is back for its second edition. There will also be a wide range of activities presented by Winterlude partners at other venues around the region.

Throughout Winterlude, our cultural, artistic and culinary diversity will be in the spotlight:

  • Festibière Winter at the Canadian Museum of History and Winter Brewfest at Lansdowne Park
  • Food tastings
  • Shows and cultural animation

Indigenous culture will be featured on the first weekend. Activities will include:

  • A contemporary powwow at the Canadian Museum of History
  • Aboriginal craft and writing workshops
  • A digital interactive screening

LGBTQ2+ culture, history and pride will be the centrepiece of the programming on Sparks Street on the second weekend:

  • Winter Pride, presented by Capital Pride
  • A photo exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality

Who is it for?

All ages – Family

Free Admission

Select Activities ticketed


Date & Time:

Winterlude runs from February 1 to 18, with all sites open for Family Day in Ontario. – Schedule


Crystal Garden in Confederation Park

The Snowflake Kingdom

Co-produced by the Ville de Gatineau and Canadian Heritage, he Snowflake Kingdom comes to life in Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau. Beautiful snow sculptures and a host of thrilling activities await visitors in this huge winter playground. The Ice Hog family, the beloved Winterlude mascots, settle in for their annual stay.

The new Kiddie Zone is a toddler friendly area close to the super slides that will allow smaller kids to play safely. Enjoy the rush of hurtling down the zip line ($) or get your culture fix at Maison Charron, where arts and crafts, and Indigenous customs will be explored. All this and much more is awaits you at the Snowflake Kingdom.

The ByWard Market
Enjoy a traditional winter dish in this unique setting at the ByWard Market Stew Cookoff ($), and admire the finesse of the artwork at the 32nd Tim Hortons Crystal Garden International Ice Carving Competition on York Street. Dance the night away in one of the many ByWard Market bars, and don’t miss your chance to experience Chimes, an interactive art structure that is both luminous and unifying!

The Rideau Canal Skateway – presented by OLG
Put on your skates and head out onto the Rideau Canal Skateway. Experience the thrill of third Ice Dragon Boat Festival. Discover the pure delight of biting into a Beaver Tail® pastry or sipping a tasty hot chocolate. In addition to these Winterlude classics, you will find kiosks to rent skates and sleds, take a break to refresh yourself, and most likely come across someone you know!

Sparks Street
Warm up while playing ice games and get your picture taken in front of the giant OTTAWA letters. Sparks Street will also host Winter Pride, a colourful street party presented by Capital Pride. Put on your finest rainbow attire and brave the cold as waves of diversity, pride and solidarity unfold over Canada’s Capital Region! Canadian Heritage will also present the photo exhibit Standing Up, Standing Out: Portraits from the Collection of the National Archives commemorating the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada.

Downtown Rideau
Throughout Winterlude, thousands of festival visitors will walk through this bustling arts and culture hotspot as they go from the ByWard Market to the Rideau Canal and Sparks Street, and vice versa. Join them and take the opportunity to energize your mind, warm up your feet and grab a bite to eat in one of downtown Rideau’s many restaurants and cafes.

The Glebe
During Winterlude, the entire neighborhood takes part in the Snomania event, and everybody… rolls with it! Take a stroll in the Glebe and see why it has become the “snowman capital of the planet!” Discover the brewing heritage of Ontario and Quebec at the Winter Brewfest, and savor delicacies at the Ottawa Famers Winter Market—all in the enchanting setting of Lansdowne Park’s Aberdeen Pavilion.

Trip Planning – Details

OC Transpo and the Société de transport de l’Outaouais (STO) will provide a shuttle service linking Winterlude’s official sites: the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa; Crystal Garden at Confederation Park in Ottawa; and Snowflake Kingdom, at Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau.

Free Weekend and Family Day Shuttle Service.


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