Hundreds of thousands of visitors braved the cold to take part in one of the largest winter festivals in North America
February 16, 2015 – Gatineau, Quebec – Department of Canadian Heritage –The 37th edition of Winterlude, the Capital’s winter festival, came to a close today. Hundreds of thousands of visitors from near and far took part in the many activities that were offered from January 30 to February 16.
Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau let visitors enjoy super slides, huge snow sculptures, magical lighting effects and the rhythm of youth DJs. Presented by the Ville de Gatineau and Canadian Heritage, Snowflake Kingdom is North America’s biggest snow playground.
The Crystal Garden in Confederation Park in Ottawa amazed visitors with a magical ice world featuring the 28th Crystal Garden International Ice-Carving Competition, a public art display, and evening dances to the rhythm of Canadian artists and DJs.
The Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa remained open for the duration of Winterlude and was the site of the 35th annual Accora Village Bed Race, the 32nd annual Winterlude Triathlon, the 7th annual Beaver Cup Pond Hockey Tournament and a shinny hockey game with Ottawa Senators alumni.
· The Year of Sport in Canada was celebrated with a wide range of interactive activities. Visitors could marvel at a majestic ice sculpture for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games and an impressive snow sculpture for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015TM.
· In celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Sir John A. Macdonald, hundreds of skaters in kilts and tartans paraded down the Rideau Canal Skateway. Parks Canada representatives, dressed in historic costumes, invited visitors to Snowflake Kingdom to learn more about the life and times of Canada’s first Prime Minister.
· His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, was given an opportunity to skate with the famous Winterlude mascots, the Ice Hog Family, on the Rideau Canal. He also visited Confederation Park on February 15 to mark the 50thanniversary of the National Flag of Canada.
· Russia took first place in the pairs category of the International Ice Carving Competition with their sculpture Northern Cowboys, while the United States took first place in the solo category with Joie de Vivre.
· A giant snow sculpture, presented by the Government of Yukon, took shape in the skillful hands of professional sculptors as visitors looked on at Snowflake Kingdom.
· A new Guinness World Record was set with 1,299 snowmen built in one hour, thanks to the Cracking Up the Capital Festival.
· The Gatineau Winter Beerfest set a new record for the number of participants, with more than 12,000 people sampling beers and tasty snacks. This year, for the first time, the team also hosted activities at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa, much to the delight of beer and food lovers.
· Polar Hero, the biggest winter obstacle race in Canada, was a resounding success with around 1,000 participants gathered at Lansdowne Park to test their strength and endurance.
· Around 8,000 people visited the Shaw Centre to learn all about the rich and vibrant culture of the Northwest Territories and to view majestic landscapes and the aurora borealis.
· More than 800 people took part in “Cool Science,” an annual science fair for the entire family presented by Natural Resources Canada.
“It is with pride that we welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors to Winterlude each year! This big, beautiful festival lets us celebrate our Canadian winter traditions together. This year we also celebrated the Year of Sport in Canada, the 50th anniversary of the National Flag of Canada and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sir John A. Macdonald. I would like to thank all of the volunteers, sponsors and partners who helped make the 37th Winterlude a resounding success.”
—The Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages