Winterlude is truly the Capital Region’s Winter Celebration

Events & Entertainment • Posted by OttawaStart on February 20, 2012

 The 34th edition of Winterlude, the Capital’s winter celebration, wrapped up today with the traditional farewell of the Ice Hog family. The National Capital Commission (NCC) is thrilled to report that Winterlude 2012, which ran from February 3 to 20, 2012, was a great success and attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Capital Region.


“For 34 years now, Winterlude has been a success, and part of the reason rests on our ability to evolve and grow, and to adapt to new realities,” said Jean-François Trépanier, Executive Vice-President of Operations at the NCC. “We have successfully introduced a new approach, building on the great partnerships we already have, and forging new ones. In 2012, thirty-three new programming partners joined the Winterlude family.”


The 34th edition of Winterlude welcomed a record number of new programming partners from Ottawa and Gatineau, who offered visitors a wide-range of indoor and outdoor activities, animating the Capital Region like never before.


Winterlude’s new direction offers a larger capacity for development with new partners and creates an opportunity to revitalize and refresh this established and well-liked celebration.


The American Express Winterlude Opening at the Canadian Museum of Civilization with its spectacular musical fireworks display attracted more than 30,000 people, and set the stage for outstanding visitor turnout during the first two weekends of Winterlude. Over the third weekend, despite the Rideau Canal Skateway being closed, thousands of visitors enjoyed the diverse Winterlude festivities on official sites and many partner sites. On average, Winterlude attracts 600,000 visitors to the Capital Region, of which 30% are from outside the region.


During Winterlude 2012, the NCC marked the bi-centennial of the War of 1812, the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Coast Guard, and the upcoming 2012 JUNO Awards concert to be held on April 1st in Canada’s Capital.


The 35th edition of Winterlude will take place from February 1 to 18, 2013.


The NCC is proud of the success of Winterlude and its events that were part of the 42nd season of the Rideau Canal Skateway, and wishes to acknowledge the cooperation and dedication of its more than 700 volunteers.


Environmental management

The NCC is pleased to report that Winterlude and the Rideau Canal Skateway are now carbon neutral programs. This year, the carbon footprint for these two programs will be calculated and offset by the purchase of reliable and high quality carbon credits in the months to come. The NCC also wishes to recognize the financial contribution of the Ontario Lottery and Gambling Corporation (OLG), which enabled thousands of visitors to use the Snow-Bus service free of charge during Winterlude, and reduce their carbon footprint.


For the first time, composting was offered on Winterlude sites and the Rideau Canal Skateway. The NCC is pleased to report some preliminary findings (after two weekends): 800 kg from the Skateway, 510 kg from Confederation Park and in Jacques-CartierPark, the 80-litre bins were emptied on average 1.5 times a day. The NCC thanks the City of Ottawa, Ville de Gatineau and the volunteers of the NCC Green Squad for bringing us closer to our waste diversion goals.




Programming partners:

  • Among the new partnerships, the Downtown Rideau BIA presented CHILL FACTOR, a successful series of art, culture and culinary events.
  • The first Winter Jazz Festival, Ottawa Fashion Week, and the Canadian premiere of The Clock at the National Gallery of Canada added a unique dimension to the Winterlude offering.
  • Cool Science Saturdays, spearheaded by the Canada Science and Technology Museum, added two new venues in 2012: the Canada Aviation and Space Museum and the Canadian Museum of Nature.
  • In Gatineau, Winter Wines and Beers at Maison du citoyen and a series of concerts organized by the Ville de Gatineau including the sold out performance of Coeur de Pirate were part of this year’s success stories. 

At Winterlude’s Snowflake Kingdom at Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau, families had the opportunity to enjoy Canadian winter traditions; meet artists from the Yukon during the first weekend; learn more about the customs of our ancestors in 1812; play and slide in North America’s biggest snow playground built by the Ville de Gatineau and the NCC.


Rogers Crystal Gardens at Confederation Park gave visitors an extraordinary look into the magic of ice sculpting as 24 professional ice-carvers from around the world participated in the 25th Rogers International Ice-Carving Competition.


  • Other majestic ice sculptures were created throughout Winterlude highlighting:
    • Canada’s peacekeeping role in the Balkans;
    • the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee;
    • the upcoming 2012 JUNO Awards. 

   ·    Confederation Park was also the theatre for BlizzART, a new public art exhibit that featured 10 Canadian artists who expressed their social, cultural and environmental views.   


The Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest skating rink, was host to:


  • an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for the Longest Breakaway as part of the Beaver Cup Championships;
  • the Canadian Paralympic Committee Winter Parasport Festival that featured sledge hockey and wheelchair curling;
  • other popular events, such as, the 32nd Annual Accora Bed Race, the 29th Annual Winterlude Triathlon, and Eco Artan exhibition of photographic works with an environmental theme by Canadian youth.

Taste of Winterlude

For the seventh year, Taste of Winterlude was presented by American Express in collaboration with the NCC. The program offered more culinary experiences than ever before including a Seinfeld Dinner, Snowshoes and Treats, and an opening night dinner with celebrity chef Lynn Crawford. Of the 52 events, 15 were completely sold out.


The NCC also wishes to acknowledge the significant contribution of American Express®Rogers Communications Partnership, OLG, WestJet, Enbridge Gas Distribution, Subway Restaurants, Giant Tiger, Pizza Pizza, State Farm®, Rideau Centre, Pepsi, Westin Ottawa, Fairmont Château Laurier, Lord Elgin and many others, including strong support by the hospitality industry.


For more information about the NCC, call 613-239-5000613-239-5090 (TTY) 1-800 465-1867 or 1-866-661-3530 (TTY) or visit


OttawaStart Community News: A free service for local businesses and organizations.  Click here to sign up to add your news!

The latest community news headlines

Search our news archive


More news

Subscribe to OttawaStart Community News

  • Subscribe via RSS RSS Link
  • Subscribe via Twitter OttawaStart Community News on Twitter
  • Subscribe via email Subscribe to OttawaStart Community News by Email

  • Your Ad Here - Reach 70,000 visitors each month

    Events & Entertainment

    News & Media


    Tourism & Attractions

    Food & Restaurants

    Kids & Families

    Homes & Living

    Sports & Healthy Living

    Shopping & Services