Winterlude is a celebration of winter, held every year in Ottawa, Canada’s capital.  It is a fun-filled event that can be enjoyed by the whole family.  Tens of thousands of people will visit Ottawa for one of the three weekends in February to partake in one or more events.

Our friends, Eleanor and Jim are travelling from Oshawa to be with us for this second weekend of Winterlude and we will enjoy the outdoors despite the weather forecast which promises to be quite cold but sunny!  Fortunately there are many indoor activities as well.

There is something for everyone, from Arts and Culture to Outdoor Sports, where you can participate or just watch. 

Arts and Culture –

  • There is a Crystal Home where you can experience what a (luxurious) ice home would be like. 
  • There are Art Creations and a public Ice Sculpturing Contest.
  • There is the Ice Carving Championship, where contestants from all over the world come to show off their skills.
  • A Build-your-own Snow Bunker competition.
  • The Snowflake Stage has Shows throughout the day, all week long, for three weeks.
  • Winter Jazz Festival.  Hope their lips don’t freeze to their instruments!
  • Art Gallery special exhibits.
  • Fashion shows.
  • Youth Orchestra and Choir performances at various venues.
  • On Sundays there are Gospel Choirs performing.
  • Theatre Performances.
  • Cracking-up the Capital comedy shows.
  • Portraits on Ice.

Winter Sports –

  • Ice Skating on the World’s Longest Ice Skating Rink, the Rideau Canal, at 7.8 Km.
  • A Giant Ice Slide, Snowshoeing Demonstrations, an amazing Ice Maze, Downhill and Cross-country Skiing.
  • Learn How to ski, skate, snowshoe, and fly a kite.
  • A winter obstacle course.
  • Downhill sledding and skate safe demos.
  • The Winterlude Triathlon, the Bed Race, a Marathon, and Animal Tracking on Snowshoes.
  • Dog-sled rides and demos.
  • A Hockey Tournament.
  • Hockey Zone and Train rides.


  • A Pancake Breakfast
  • The Byward Market Stew Cook-off.
  • An evening of Food and Fashion.
  • Wine Tasting.
  • Cordon Bleu Bistro.
  • Cooking Classes, including Vegan and Gluten-free demos.

There are several “Sno Buses” which ferry people from specific pick-up spots to different venues.  This is a free service!!!

Then there are the Beaver Tails, deep-fried dough, covered with cinnamon and sugar and topped with maple syrup (how Canadian).  I’ve never had one, but Eleanor and I have already decided we’re ready to try one. 

Hope you get a chance to come to Ottawa, either this year or some time in the future, to enjoy Winterlude with us!  I’ll try to get a few photos to share next week.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend. – Maureen.