As an established property management company in Ottawa, we know that winter itself can be a real barrier for our tenants to get out there and enjoy the capital. Many of us want to simply hibernate when winter takes its icy hold, and there’s not much of a draw to get outdoors… so we’re very excited at Primecorp Property Management that our residents will now have an immense selection of exiting winter activities to enjoy with Winterlude as we embrace February in the Capital, and try to forget January.
January has been particular harsh this year, earning Ottawa the dubious distinction of the world’s coldest capital city on January 19th, 2019; in fact, this winter is turning out to be one to remember, for all the wrong reasons so far. Frigid cold spells with piercing wind chills, coupled with huge dumps of snow, freezing rain, dangerous snow squalls and unfortunately the list actually does go on. These conditions have deterred many of us from leaving the comfort of our homes. Fortunately, the month of February in the National Capital Region offers a huge variety of activities, festivals and fun evenings for us to embrace and ward off the winter blues. Chief among these is the world-famous Winterlude Festival which runs from February 1st to 18th and most activities are free!
After a sleepy January, the Ottawa area magically turns into a festive arts, cultural and entertainment wonderland with the start of Winterlude! Visitors can stroll the heartwarming walkways of Confederation Park, amidst the buzz of chainsaws and the clang of hammer and chisel as ice sculptures are created for the big competition, before your very eyes. You can strap on your skates and glide down the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink, stopping for beavertails and hot chocolate, right at ice level, on the Rideau Canal. Take in an exciting winter triathlon and cheer on competitors as they skate, ski and run for the gold on Feb. 3rd, or cheer on your favourite ice dragon boat as they race down the canal on February 8th. For those even more adventurous among us, you can head over to the SnowFlake Kingdom at Jacques Cartier Park, where you’ll find a variety of winter activities for all ages.
The international ice carving competition at Confederation Park is one of the highlights of the opening weekend of Winterlude. Confederation Park comes alive with culinary delights, live shows, open wood fires and of course artisans from around the world plying their hand at bringing the ice to life through their expert carving techniques and artistic impressions.
Skating on the Rideau Canal
Starting in the downtown core of Ottawa, at Confederation Park, the Rideau Canal stretches 7.8 kilometres, with a total skating area spanning an incredible 165,621 square metres. The canal hosts a daily average of 20,000 visitors from far and near during the winter months and has special programming during Winterlude!
Winter Playground in Jacques Cartier Park
Just a short walk across the Ottawa River, on the historic Alexandra Bridge, lies Jacques Cartier Park in downtown Gatineau. During Winterlude, the park becomes “Snowflake Kingdom,” a hub of exciting winter activities, such as snow slides, skiing and snowboarding lessons, zip lines, snow sculptures and more fun-filled options for all ages.
Hospitality of the ByWard Market
Already known for its culinary diversity, warm hospitality and wide range of entertainment venues, this year the ByWard Market officially becomes a new Winterlude site. The world-famous Market will host a variety of events ranging from the Winterlude Stew Cook-Off on February 8th, to the Bed Race for Kiwanis on February 16th, featuring 50 costumed teams racing their beds down York Street!
Celebrating the Culture and Diversity that is Canada
Amid the many traditional winter events and activities that Winterlude is famous for, there are also a variety of events celebrating the diversity of cultures that makes Canada one of the very best places to live in the world:
While maintaining its iconic activities, Winterlude will showcase indigenous culture on the 1st weekend and LGBTQ2+ culture, history and pride on the 2nd weekend. – Canadian Heritage
Other Winter Activities in Ottawa
In December, Capital Pride announced its first ever Winter Pride. Teaming up with Winterlude and Canadian Heritage, Winter Pride will take place between Feb. 6th to Feb. 10th including: evening performances on the Main Stage on Sparks Street (@ Bank); the Capital Pride Awards Gala at the Museum of History in Gatineau; the Ice Cabaret featuring Mado, Montréal’s most famous drag queen as well as Capital Tease Burlesque and DJs for performances on the evening of Feb. 8.; and a Sunday March recognizing the “50-year anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexual acts in Canada.”
On February 5th, why not visit the Glebe to see why it’s become the snowman capital of planet earth:
Legend has it that snowmen ruled the world during the last ice age. Each year in the heart of winter, they plot their return. Ottawa’s Glebe neighbourhood thwarts these plans by building a brigade of friendly snowpeople to save all of humanity. Snowmania is a show of snow for the whole family. – Macaroni Kid
Let’s not forget the TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival (Feb. 7-9), headlined by American Jazz pianist Joey Calderazzo. The Sens Rink of Dreams, at City Hall, is open 7 days a week from 6am-11pm, with skate rentals and sharpening available daily. The free OLG Sno-Bus provided by OC Transpo and the Société de transport de l’Outaouais (STO) are a great way to get between official Winterlude sites on weekends and on a Family Day (Feb. 18th). So what are you waiting for Ottawa… get out there and give our winter a great big Winterlude hug!