Winterlude Fireworks from 2011. This year's fireworks are on Friday, February 1 at a new location - Ottawa City Hall (see below). Photo by Chuck Clark.
Ottawa Winterlude Guide - January 31-February 17, 2014
Put on your hats, scarves and mitts, and come out to celebrate the joys of winter in Canada's Capital Region from January 31 to February 17, 2014. The festival features ice sculptures, a playground made of snow, performers and best of all, the Rideau Canal - the world's longest skating rink.
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Rideau Canal Skateway
- Winter 2014 marks the 44th 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 please visit our Ottawa Skating Guide...
Crystal Garden in Confederation Park (from 2013)
- Visitors to Crystal Garden will be able to admire masterpieces and witness a fusion of art and ice. At night, special lighting will turn the ice-carving masterpieces into a breathtaking sight.
- New for 2013: an outdoor Garden of Lanterns demonstrates the true spirit of international friendship. The NCC is working closely with the Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival in Jinju in South Korea, to create a spectacular 35-metre (115 ft) long tunnel, comprised of over 1,300 lanterns.
- During the first weekend of activities, professional ice carvers from around the world will participate in the 26th International Ice-Carving Competition, under the theme of "The Imaginary Garden".
- More about Confederation Park activities...
Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park (from 2013)
- This winter wonderland setting is the home of Winterlude's favourite mascots, the Ice Hog family. Visitors will discover a fun-filled adventure as they enter the biggest snow playground on the continent, with activities inspired by our historical past and our winter traditions.
- Parks Canada will help celebrate the 300th anniversary of the establishment of the French colony of Ile Royale (Cape Breton Island) and the founding of the town of Louisbourg. As visitors enter Maison Charron, they will step back in time and can try their hand at 18thcentury games and activities, "dig" for artifacts, and much more.
- The 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain's passage through the region, as well as the support from the Algonquin peoples, will be highlighted at Snowflake Kingdom. Visitors can try games from the past and warm up by the fire for an introduction to the daily lives of the Algonquin peoples - shaped by ceremonies, rituals and history - and explore their rich culture.
- More about activities at Jacques-Cartier Park...
Transportation / Parking / Public Transit (from 2013)
- 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 Sno-Bus is a shuttle that servers official Winterlude sites. It's free. Saturdays 10 am to 8 pm, Sundays 10 am to 5:30 pm - free shuttle bus service between Dows Lake, the Rideau Canal Skateway and Confederation Park. Saturday and Sundays 10 am to 5:30 pm - free shuttle bus service between Confederation Park, Jacques-Cartier Park and the Centre Robert-Guertin park-and-ride.
- 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!
- 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.
- Official Winterlude Web site
- Skating on the Rideau Canal
Canal skating conditions
(alternate link: Rideau Canal Conditions)
- OttawaStart Blog: Winterlude
- 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.