Highlights of the First Weekend of Winterlude


A kilt skate, soccer in the snow and a world record attempt: explore, discover and celebrate what unites us as Canadians!

January 28, 2015 – Ottawa – Canada’s Capital Region is ready to welcome residents and visitors to the 37th Winterlude, which will begin on Friday, January 30, 2015. Over three weekends, until February 16, Ottawa–Gatineau will be the ideal destination to discover Canadian winter traditions through numerous cultural, sport, culinary, scientific and family activities.

Here is a snapshot of the activities taking place during the first weekend of Winterlude.

Winterlude Opening Ceremony: Catch the Spirit… Dream, Play, Excel!

Friday, January 30

Roaming buskers 7 p.m.; Opening Ceremony 7:30 p.m.; DJ Dance Party 8 p.m.

The celebration officially kicks off on January 30 with an electrifying evening at the Crystal Garden’s main stage in Confederation Park. Winterlude’s Opening Ceremony will pay tribute to our Canadian athletes as we celebrate the Year of Sport in Canada and highlight milestones in Canadian history such as the 50th anniversary of the National Flag of Canada and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sir John A. Macdonald. There will be musical performances, pyrotechnics, the 28th Crystal Garden International Ice-Carving Competition, and a one-of-a-kind DJ/VJ Dance Party with Paris & Simo and Video Girl!

Crystal Garden in Confederation Park: “The Art of Play” carved in ice

This weekend, there are plenty of chances to watch ice carvers from around the world create their crystalline masterpieces in Confederation Park. These include the One-Block Challenge on Friday, January 30 (8 to 10 a.m.) and the 28th Crystal Garden International Ice-Carving Competition, in which professional carvers from around the world put their talent to the test beginning Friday and throughout the weekend.

On opening weekend, visitors to the Crystal Garden will also have the opportunity to:

· celebrate the bicentennial of Sir John A. Macdonald with music, dancing and all things Scottish;

· discover a unique photo exhibit and ice sculpture to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the National Flag of Canada and take part in the challenge to share their moment with the flag on Twitter with #Flag50;

· visit the public art exhibition “Ready, Set…” and interact with Canadian artists’ works inspired by the Year of Sport in Canada;

· marvel at an impressive TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games ice sculpture;

· explore the Arctic through an unusual photo exhibit that challenges perceptions about the North;

· see the ice sculpture Saules vedējs (“Bringer of Sun”), created by Latvian carvers;

· journey through Canada’s historic, cultural and natural sites, as seen through the eyes of Canadian youth in the stunning photo exhibit “Explore150”;

· warm up to the beat of roaming performers and choreographed performances on the main stage;

· admire the Queen of Hearts depicted in ice to mark the National Arts Centre’s celebration of the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland;

· meet the Kettle Boys for some “olde time” fun;

· learn about ephemeral art and create their own sculpture, or take part in making an ice mosaic sculpture;

· experience Northern entertainment and performances during the Spectacular NWT Night.


The Winterlude fun continues across the street at Ottawa City Hall’s Marion Dewar Plaza all weekend with: 

· the 11th annual Enbridge FREE Pancake Breakfast on Saturday at 10 a.m.;

· Enbridge “Energy on Ice” skating performances on the Rink of Dreams.


Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park: Winter sports and games—with the Ice Hog Family!

Both the young and the young at heart will enjoy playing in this frosty paradise of giant snow slides, presented by Canadian Heritage and the Ville de Gatineau. The fun begins on Friday, January 30, at 10:30 a.m., when Mama and Papa Ice Hog, along with twins Noumi and Nouma, join the crowd for the official launch of the Snowflake Kingdom—North America’s biggest snow playground!


On Winterlude’s first weekend, visitors will also have the chance to:

· join Shuéme, the Official Mascot of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™, to celebrate the Year of Sport in Canada with soccer in the snow;

· commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sir John A. Macdonald with interactive activities and old-fashioned hot chocolate by the fireside in the Parks Canada Zone;

· visit the Aboriginal Village and interactive exhibit “Winter Camp Life,” featuring a display of winter survival tools, and listen to traditional stories and legends by the fireside;

· see professional snow carvers from Yukon at work, or take a snow-sculpting workshop and create their very own masterpiece;

· be amazed by alpine skiing and snowboarding demonstrations;

· marvel at the creation of graffiti art in winter;

· test their knowledge about our country with Historica Canada’s trivia challenge;

· experience downhill skiing with qualified instructors;

· try a kicksled, the outdoor activity that millions of Europeans love;

· laugh and dance along with talented performers at the Snowflake Stage;

· drive the track at the miniature 3D village little car course;

· go sliding Friday or Saturday night to the sounds of techno-house music spun by local DJs;

· challenge themselves in the XTREME Zone, where they can try a zip line, a mini zip line, pedal go-karts on snow, a giant maze and an adventure course.


The Rideau Canal Skateway: Celebrating 45 seasons of skating

Each winter, the Rideau Canal is transformed into the world’s largest skating rink and becomes centre stage for many activities during Winterlude. For opening weekend, this world-famous ice surface will host:

· the 32nd annual Winterlude Triathlon (Dows Lake);

· Sir John A’s Great Canadian Kilt Skate (Fifth Avenue);

· a Saturday Night Skate (Fifth Avenue).

Visitors to the Skateway will also have the opportunity to join a learn-to-skate program, test their skills at the Giant Tiger Interactive Hockey Zone, discover the Yukon, or warm up with hot apple cider and winter games at the OLG Sno-Bus Station, all FREE at Fifth Avenue! On the ice at the National Arts Centre, visitors can drop by the Nordstrom Haute Spot for a photo keepsake.


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. Here is just a sample of what takes place on the first weekend of Winterlude:

· Spectacular Northwest Territories Days at the Shaw Centre;

· Cracking-Up the Capital: Guinness World Record Attempt for the most snowmen built in one hour and the one-man show TotallyADD;

· Polar Hero Ottawa, the biggest winter obstacle race in Canada;

· Lansdowne Park Snowscapes: Winter Design Competition;

· Winter Fantasies on Brewery Creek in Gatineau’s Hull sector;

· ByWard Blizzard: Snow’Art: Snow Sculptures in the ByWard Market;

· Peter and the Wolf and Improtéine at the Shenkman Arts Centre;

· Luc Langevin at the Maison de la culture de Gatineau;

· Animal tracking on snowshoes in Gatineau Park;

· Downtown Rideau CHILL FACTOR;

· Hummel Trumpet Concerto and Le long voyage de Pierre-Guy B. at the National Arts Centre;

· An array of gastronomic experiences such as Gatineau Winter BeerFest at the Canadian Museum of History, Martinis and Manicures at Holtz Spa, and An Evening in Sicily Dinner at Mamma Grazzi’s Kitchen.

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 region’s hospitality industry. Special thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who contribute their time, talent and energy during the Capital’s winter celebration.

OttawaStart Staff



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