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Celebrate Canadian winter with the whole family at Winterlude 2020! The event is FREE, and there's many activities and ways to explore the city.

Rideau Canal Skateway: Epic skating memories

Grab your skates or rent a pair and glide along the Rideau Canal Skateway – the world’s largest naturally frozen ice skating rink which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020! This 7.8 kilometre (4.8 mile) UNESCO World Heritage Site conveniently winds through downtown Ottawa within walking distance of most hotels.

The Skateway is weather dependent, but when it’s open to skating, it’s free day and night! To check the status and see current ice conditions, visit the Rideau Canal Skateway website. If the Skateway is closed, try one of the many other places to ice skate in Ottawa.

During Winterlude, special programming is offered at sites on or near the Skateway, including these two big events:

  • Winterlude Triathlon: On Feb. 1, cheer on brave athletes who skate, ski and run at Dows Lake!
  • BeaverTails Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival: On Feb. 7-8, dragon boats outfitted with special blades race down the frozen Rideau Canal Skateway at Dows Lake. Plus, enjoy free concerts inside the Dows Lake Pavilion!

 

Jacques Cartier Park: Giant winter playground

During Winterlude, Jacques Cartier Park in downtown Gatineau – just across the Alexandra Bridge from downtown Ottawa – becomes a giant winter wonderland for all ages. Snowflake Kingdom is packed with fun activities, including:

  • Tube sliding
  • Skiing and snowboarding lessons
  • Kiddie Zone for toddlers
  • Zip line
  • Indigenous performances
  • Snow sculptures

Snowflake Kingdom is open Thursdays through Sundays during the festival (plus Family Day, Monday, February 17).

The Winterlude mascots – the Ice Hogs family – are reputed to live in Snowflake Kingdom where they love to play in the snow and meet families. Give them a hug when you see them! (They also like to visit the other official Winterlude sites.)

 

 

Sparks Street: Fancy ice, interactive lights and urban fun

Just one block south of Parliament Hill, Sparks Street is a historic and pedestrian gathering place for events in Ottawa.

This new Winterlude site will host three ice carving competitions throughout the festival: the Winterlude International Ice Carving Challenge, the Winterlude Battle of America’s Ice Carving Challenge and the Canadian Ice Carvers Society Championship.

Other programming on Sparks Street includes:

  • Winterlude kick-off party
  • Winter edition of Capital Pride, celebrating the LGBTQ2+ community (Feb. 4-9)
  • Various live performances
  • Interactive light structures

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