The Blog Single


    The annual Winterlude in Ottawa is held in Canada’s capital. We have been fortunate to be able to attend three Winterlude celebrations in Ottawa, Canada, and each year we find something new. Our nation’s capital is always looking for new ways to celebrate winter in Canada’s great white north.

    Our weekend in Ottawa is the perfect weekend in Ottawa to beat the February blues. The Winterlude itinerary includes three days of celebrations in Ottawa. Winterlude is from Fri, February 3, 2023, to Mon, February 20, 2023.

    All About Ottawa Winterlude

    This Winterlude article will tell you everything you need to do to make the most out of your Ottawa visit. It also highlights all the top Winterlude Attractions.

    Winterlude, an annual event in February every year for three weeks, is one of the most popular things to do in Ontario. Winterlude is popular in Gatineau, the ByWard Market, and Sparks Street.

    How to Get Around Ottawa

    Uber is very convenient, affordable, and reliable in Ottawa. Uber doesn’t operate in Quebec, so you will need a taxi if your trip to Gatineau is over.

    The Sno-Bus shuttle, which is free and runs from Ottawa to Gatineau (and back), makes transport easy.

    Ottawa is very walkable. Many Winterlude attractions can be reached by foot. Be prepared for the cold, and pack warm! You will only need a taxi if you cross the river to Gatineau.

    Winterlude is now mainly held in the ByWard Market. Here are the winners of the ice sculpture contests.

    Winterlude: How to Dress

    Winterlude is an outdoor winter carnival that you can enjoy outdoors, provided you are dressed appropriately. You must pack your belongings to participate in the many activities offered by Winterlude.

    Winterlude: What did we pack?

    Base Layers: Merino Wool Leggings and a Base Layer shirt. It wicks away moisture to keep your body warm, especially if you plan skating or hiking.

    Fleece middle-layer: Our fleece middle-layer keeps us warm and insulates us against the cold.

    A mid-layer is possible if you choose to wear only a light windproof outer layer. We wear fleece pants and a fleece jacket when wearing our outer layers.

    Parka and snow pants

    Bring a warm parka and a pair of lined snow pants to keep the cold out.

    Hats: A good wool hat is the best, but you can go all out with fur-lined or aviator hats. A good tuque with fuzzy liners is my favorite.

    Balaclava: We packed balaclavas, which kept our necks and heads warm. Balaclavas are better than scarves.

    Boots that are waterproof, breathable, and lined are essential. You can add socks or toe warmers to your shoes if they are too tight.

    Socks – Dave prefers liner socks, but I wear good merino wool socks.

    These hand and toe warmers will save your life during Winterlude. While we could watch the festivities and enjoy the warmth, our hands, and feet remained toasty and warm.

    Winterlude in Ottawa: What to Expect

    The Rideau Canal is the main venue where you can enjoy the largest skating rink in the world. It measures 7.8km long and is situated on Dow’s lake. That’s quite a lot of ice. You can find hot chocolate, BeaverTails, and Maple Syrup treats at warming stations, and food stands along the route.

    Many restaurants and pubs have outdoor patios or ice bars with firepits to keep you warm.

    Many nighttime events take place on Spark Street and Bank Street. Spark Street is home to many Winterlude Activities.

    Winterlude Weekend Itinerary

    To make it easier, we’ve created an Itinerary to help you get the most out of Ottawa in winter.

    Winterlude – Day

    Parliament Buildings

    We recommend visiting Parliament Hill if you’ve never been to Ottawa. These buildings are beautiful, and it never gets old to see them. Once you have seen the House of Parliament, you can enter Winterlude Festivities.

    Dow’s Lake Dragon Boat Races Cancelled for 2023

    The Dragon Boat Festival was canceled this year due to inclement weather.

    The time when things get ready for Winterlude is Friday afternoon, the moment you arrive in Ottawa. Dows Lake may have events. After checking in at the Westin Ottawa, we took an Uber to get to the Dragon Boat Races warm-ups.

    The annual ice dragon boat race on Dows Lake is a national event that brings together teams from all over the country. It’s dragon boating on ice. They use sticks with little spikes attached to them, which look like horse hooves. Dave and I were able to take part in a trial run and have since developed a great respect for dragon boat racers. They are hard workers! Walk into Byward Market after you have finished at the lake to find a place for dinner.

    ByWard Market for Dinner

    There are many options. We enjoyed the small plates and shared Play Food and Wine. The cheese platter was excellent, and the steak was exceptional. It’s located on the corner of York Drive and Sussex Drive. This is the entrance to ByWard Market.

    Winterlude Parties Nightlife

    Sparks Street

    After dinner, we took to Sparks Street for entertainment starting at 6:15 pm. Ottawa Winter Pride is held at this time of the year. Brave burlesque dancers get down to 20 below and perform a festive and fun show.

    Burlesque Show, Live Music at Sparks Street

    Between acts, DJs keep the party moving. Food stalls and outdoor bars keep you satiated and warm. Sparks Street Ice-Cade offers winter carnival games such as ice ring toss and ice air hockey for children. It was an excellent experience for us adults! They ensure many activities for visitors to Ottawa during events such as Winterlude.

    People are out in the streets with neon lights. It’s easy to spend the night here, go bar-hopping on the roads, or check out other parties all over town.

    Silent Disco

    We enjoyed the silent disco in a tent with street performers and people who danced silently while wearing headphones. This is the kind of party we love. We finally had a night out that didn’t involve screaming at the DJ. There were three DJs providing music for everyone. You can adjust the channel to your liking.

    Your headphones will light up in either Green, Yellow, or Red, depending on whether they are connected to a computer. Dave and I were on the classic rock channel when Dave was at work, but we turned to the other media to hear what our party-goers were doing!

    Overnight stay at The Westin Ottawa.

    We enjoyed a busy afternoon and evening and looked forward to returning home to our hotel. Although we had only spent a few hours at the Westin, we loved our room with a canal view. The Westin Ottawa offers a spectacular view of Ottawa and is our favorite hotel in Ottawa.

    It is correct at the canal’s entrance, making skating easy. You can also shop without the need to wear heavy clothing. The view from this lookout is unmatched by any other in Ottawa.

    Saturday – Day at Winterlude

    Today was the perfect day to visit Gatineau’s, Jacques Cartier Park.

    Jacques Cartier Park – Snowflake Kingdom

    If you have children, this is the best place to be. If you still like a child and us, the park offers outdoor winter activities. Snowflake Kingdom will transform into a winter playground from February 3 to February 23, 2023.


    We arrived in time to beat the crowd and went down the hill. Dave and I often call snow tubing the ultimate couch potato adventure. Sitting on an innertube and letting gravity do all the work doesn’t take much. These temporary tubing lanes are temporary, so you must carry the tube up.

    It is an excellent way for kids to get tired. The lines are always short because there were two snow tubing sections for Winterlude, each with six lanes.

    Winter Ziplining

    It’s something I had never considered, but Ottawa offers it all. Winterlude is when they create a zipline that almost goes to the river. We climbed up the scaffolding and donned our harnesses to enjoy the view from the park’s top.

    ByWard Market

    After a great morning, it was time for more city exploration. The canal is not recommended for skating in the afternoon. It’s very crowded, and the ice is highly chucked up.

    ByWard Market is a great spot to spend an afternoon. There are many outdoor bars, restaurants, and plenty of shopping. Ice sculptures can be found all over the ByWard Market, showcasing the international challenge of ice carving.

    During winter celebrations, you can see the winning carvings and learn from a professional. Instead of skating, we strolled around ByWard Market to enjoy all the festivities.

    Ice sculpture

    Ice sculpting demonstrations were held, and there was a competition. We reviewed our schedule to ensure we got all the artists at work. Dave was able to attempt some ice sculpture of his own, and he had an excellent knack for shaping the ice.


0 comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *