Winterlude / Bal de neige 2015

Date(s) - Friday, January 30 - Monday, February 16
All Day


Skating on the Rideau Canal. Photo by Glen Gower.

Skating on the Rideau Canal. Photo by Glen Gower.


Highlights of the Third Weekend of Winterlude
(February 13-14-15-16)

This weekend includes cool science, shinny and pond hockey, theatre, music, cross-country ski races, marathon running and a very patriotic party for our beloved flag. Read more about Weekend 3 here…

List of street closures + free shuttle bus service during Winterlude… 


Rideau Canal Skateway

  • Winter 2015 marks the 45th season of skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Besides the Rideau Canal, there are great outdoor rinks nearby including the Rink of Dreams at Ottawa City Hall and the rink at Rideau Hall on Sussex.
  • For more information, including ice conditions, please visit our Ottawa Skating Guide…

Transportation / Parking / Public Transit (from 2014)

  • Several roads will be closed during the three weekends of Winterlude, including parts of Laurier Avenue and Queen Elizabeth Drive in Ottawa, and several streets in Gatineau near Jacques Cartier Park.
  • The OLG Sno-Bus is a shuttle-bus service linking Winterlude sites. Stops are sign-posted. It runs February 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16.
    Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.: between Dows Lake, the Rideau Canal Skateway and Confederation Park
    Saturdays and Sundays: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.: between the park-and-ride at Centre Robert-Guertin, Jacques-Cartier Park and Confederation Park
    This ongoing shuttle-bus service is provided by OC Transpo (, 613-741-4390) and the Société de transport de l’Outaouais (STO) (, 819-770-3242).
  • Parking is at a premium, but some popular places to leave your car for skating on the canal include Carleton University near Dow’s Lake, side streets along both sides of the Canal in Centretown, the Glebe and Ottawa South, and parking garages at the Rideau Centre and Byward Market. Good luck! Here’s a map showing some paid parking lots. A limited number of parking spots ($) are available for people with disabilities at these parking lots: National Arts Centre, Dow’s Lake, Bronson Avenue.
  • A better bet for parking is to find a lot near an O-Train station, then take the O-Train to Carling. You’ll be right across the street from Dow’s Lake, and in range of the Sno-Bus shuttle to get to any other Winterlude site.

Essential Links

Winterlude Facts

  • Winterlude was created in 1979 by the NCC as a means of celebrating Canada’s unique northern climate and culture.
  • Every year, more than 600,000 fun-seekers take part in Winterlude activities. More than a third of the visitors are from outside the Capital region.
  • In a 2004 survey, it was estimated that Winterlude-related spending generated a total of $151.7 million of economic activity in Ontario and Quebec — $82.5 million within Canada’s Capital Region.
  • Over 800 people volunteer for the NCC during Winterlude.
  • The Ice Hog Family, Winterlude’s loveable mascots, travel to Canada’s Capital Region every winter to celebrate Winterlude. The members of the family are Mama and Papa Ice Hog and their children, Noumi and Nouma.
  • Most Winterlude activities are free of charge, but registration and admission fees may apply to certain sporting events and shows.

Crystal Garden in Confederation Park, Ottawa

“The Art of Play”
Witness a fusion of art and ice at Crystal Garden and discover a world of memories. Located in Confederation Park, this spectacular display of crystalline ice sculptures will take your breath away. Come admire this icy world of wonder at night, and discover an outdoor urban dance scene like no other. Some of the highlights include:

  • Winterlude Opening Ceremony: Catch the Spirit… Dream, Play, Excel!
  • 28th Crystal Garden International Ice-Carving Competition
  • Majestic ice sculptures representing the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games and a special sculpture commissioned by the Embassy of Latvia in Canada
  • Public Art Exhibit: Ready, Set… interactive art installations inspired by Canadian sports
  • Sub-Zero DJ Nights featuring electrifying dance music (Fridays, Saturdays and Family Day Sunday)
  • Cracking Up the Capital: Comedy Festival Improv Night
  • Flag Day Ceremony on February 15

Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park, Gatineau

Winter sports and games—with the Ice Hog Family!
Jacques-Cartier Park is the site of North America’s biggest snow playground, presented by the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Ville de Gatineau, and it is the home-away-from-home of Winterlude’s furry mascots, the Ice Hog family. Outfitted with larger-than-life snow slides, Snowflake Kingdom provides enjoyment for the young and the young at heart. Here are a few highlights:

  • Super Slides: snow and tube slides
  • Sports Zone (soccer, ringette, downhill skiing, kicksleds and much more)
  • Parks Canada Sir John A. Macdonald interactive activities
  • Illuminated sliding experience to the rhythm of youth DJs
  • Larger-than-life snow sculptures based on the Year of Sport theme The Rideau Canal Skateway

Celebrating 45 seasons of skating!
This winter is the 45th skating season on the Rideau Canal Skateway. Set in a UNESCO world heritage site, the world’s largest skating rink will host a variety of activities—so sharpen your blades for a unique Canadian outdoor winter experience! During Winterlude, the Rideau Canal Skateway will be centre stage for several events, including:

  • Sir John A’s Great Canadian Kilt Skate
  • 32nd Annual Winterlude Triathlon
  • 35th Annual Accora Village Bed Race
  • Beaver Cup Pond Hockey
  • Giant Tiger Interactive Hockey Zone
  • Special performances at the OLG Sno-Bus Station

The National Capital Commission is custodian of the Rideau Canal Skateway.

Programming Partners
More partners, more diversity, more fun!
For the 37th Winterlude, more than 70 programming partners have come together to offer a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities, including:

  •  Lansdowne Park Snowscapes
  • Cracking Up the Capital Comedy Festival
  • Guinness World Record attempt for most snowmen built in one hour
  • Winter Fantasies on Brewery Creek
  • Celebrate Northwest Territories Days
  • Gatineau Winter Beerfest
  • Winterman Marathon and Marathon Relays
  •  Snow’Art – Snow Sculptures in the ByWard Market
  • Germany’s Wild Bakers vs. The Canadian Winter at the German Embassy
  • Scavenger Hunt and more at Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum in Carp
  •  Canada Council for the Arts’ exhibit celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts
  • and much, much more, including a series of culinary experiences!

The Department of Canadian Heritage is proud to present Winterlude with the support of the following official site sponsors and partners: Ville de Gatineau, City of Ottawa, National Capital Commission, Government of Yukon, Government of Northwest Territories, Parks Canada, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Embassy of Latvia in Canada, Canadian Museum of Nature, Historica Canada, Motivate Canada, Ringette Canada, Cracking up the Capital, Ottawa Art Gallery, TakingITGlobal, Ottawa Scottish Society, Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, Canada Games, FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™, Société de transport de l’Outaouais, OC Transpo, OLG – Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Enbridge Gas Distribution, Giant Tiger, Nordstrom, Rideau Centre, Pizza Pizza, Pepsi, GoodLife Fitness and many others, including the support of the region’s hospitality industry. Special thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who contribute their time, talent and energy during the Capital’s winter celebration.

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