You may have heard lots of talk online and offline about some large event called Winterlude. But what exactly is Winterlude?
Winterlude is an annual festival in Ottawa, ON and Gatineau, QC that has been taking place since 1979. The event is one of Ottawa’s most important tourist draws, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
The focal point of Winterlude is the Rideau Canal Skateway which at 7.8 kilometres (approximately five miles) is the largest skating rink in the world.
Other primary sites include the Snowflake Kingdom, which is located in Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau. This site is turned into a massive snow park with ice slides and snow sculptures and hosts numerous events and activities for children. It is the home away from home of the friendly IceHog family, the Winterlude Mascots.
Confederation Park, (just across the street from the Lord Elgin Hotel) better known as Crystal Garden, is the site for the ice sculpture competition, the ice lounge and musical concerts. Marion Dewar Plaza at City Hall (across from Confederation Park) is the site of the Rink of Dreams, an ice-skating rink that hosts skating shows, DJ dance parties and interactive art displays throughout the Festival. Dow’s Lake also has a large skating area and hosts various activities.
Related activities include special exhibits at numerous Ottawa museums, special events in the Byward Market, Sparks Street, a ‘loppet’ type race in Gatineau Park and a variety of other events throughout the city.
The 2014 event, the 36th annual Winterlude will be taking place from Jan. 31 and last until Feb. 17.
So come celebrate winter in the Capital during three fun-filled weekends in February. Grab your skates and glide along the Rideau Canal Skateway. Most activities are held on the weekends—learn-to-skate clinics, a hockey tournament, a winter triathlon, children’s entertainment—but the ice sculptures, skating on the Rideau Canal and the Snowflake Kingdom children’s snow playground are offered during the week (except Tues and Wed for Snowflake Kingdom).
Foodies will love unique culinary events created by some of the capital’s best local restaurants — wine and food pairings, chef demonstrations, walkabout winter feasts.
For the full line up of events check out the official Winterlude website.