Ottawa Winterlude 2023 Guide

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Come experience the best of what winter has to offer at Winterlude in Ottawa. Winterlude was created in 1979 to celebrate Canada’s unique northern culture and weather. It is a free festival that is held during the first three weekends in February each year.

In 2007, 1.6 million visitors attended Winterlude, which set a record. Approximately 600,000 people attend Winterlude every year.

Ice Sculptures

Be prepared to be amazed and delighted by the ice sculptures. Teams of 2 carvers represent each of Canada’s ten provinces and three territories, creating works of art with the theme of “Creatures of the Sea.” Sculptors from around the world come to Ottawa in February to compete in this event. These ice sculptures are the stars of Winterlude. You can vote online for your three favorite ice sculptures.

The Ice Hog Family

The Ice Hog family – Papa, Mama, Noumi and Nouma – are the Winterlude mascots. They are hairy and cuddly and are a delight to the young and the young at heart.

Some of Winterlude’s activities include

  • Chinook Slide – Zoom down the tubes at top speed.
  • Kids Zone with mini igloos, slides and a game park for kids aged 2 to 5.
  • Aurora Festive Winter Experience – At nightfall, this magnificent site comes to life with live music, entertainment, a DJ, coffee bar, skating rink and more.
  • Unikkaatuarniq – Stories from the North – See indigenous films from the circumpolar North outdoors and shown in a theater made of snow.
  • Introduction to Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding – Kids aged 5 to 8 can get an introduction to downhill skiing and snowboarding.
  • The Labyrinth of Snowflake Kingdom – Enter and try to find the exit.
  • Selfie Station – Capture and share your best winter moments with spaces decorated as recreational environments.
  • The Ice Hogs Walkabout
  • LAPS – Interactive Art Installation – Spin the wheel of time and watch it turn to sounds and lights.
  • Ruisseau de la Brasserie Skating Rink
  • Ice Dig – Kids can learn how to work with ice with equipment and supervision.
  • Acoustic Zone – Discover passionate performing artists and different types of live music.
  • Canadian Museum of Nature – Dinosaur Ice Dig – Chip your way through a block of ice like a sculptor or a paleontologist.
  • The Big Blizzard – A challenging obstacle course for kids aged 8 to 16
  • Horse drawn sleigh rides
  • Live DJ in Byward Market
  • Snow Walker – A unique stilt walking experience
  • Flurry – Am amazon activity combining strategy and soft foam balls kids aged 8 to 16

These are just a fraction of what you’ll see at Winterlude. All of these activities are free. However, there are some activities at the festival that have a fee.

Ottawa Winterlude Tips

It is recommended that in addition to a jacket, gloves, scarf and hat, you wear snow pants. They block the wind and add warmth. They protect you from the snow and slush and keep you from getting wet and even colder. Here are snow pants for women and snow pants for men.

Ottawa Discount Hotels

If you’d like to visit Ottawa during the festival, you should consider the following hotels. They all have reduced rates or specials to save you money on your stay.

  • reStays Ottawa: 15% Discount
  • Wingate by Wyndham Kanata West Ottawa: 15% Discount
  • Lots du Village: 11% Discount
  • Fairmont Chateau Laurier Gold Experience: 10% Discount
  • Motel du Chevalier: 10% Discount
  • Motel Chelsea: 10% Discount
  • Fairmont Chateau Laurier: 10% Discount
  • Townhouse Club: 4% Discount