Winterlude in Ottawa – The best winter vacation

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We have been fortunate to attend three Winterlude celebrations in Ottawa, Canada and we at all times discover one thing new to do. Our nation’s capital is at all times on the lookout for distinctive methods to rejoice winter within the nice white north.

Our weekend in Ottawa is the proper getaway to beat the February blues for everybody. We arrived on a Friday afternoon and spent the subsequent three days having fun with the celebrations.

Winterlude in Ottawa

Winterlude is an annual occasion happening each February for 3 weeks.

It’s unfold all through town and within the neighbouring metropolis of Gatineau in Quebec.

Fashionable venues for Winterlude are on the Rideau Canal, within the ByWard Market, Sparks Road and Jacques Cartier Park in Gatineau.

There’s the free Sno-Bus shuttle that takes folks to Gatineau from Ottawa (and again) making transport very straightforward.

We used Uber to get round.

Uber may be very inexpensive, handy and dependable in Ottawa.

However take be aware: Uber doesn’t function in Quebec, so you will want to hail a taxi if you happen to go to Gatineau.

The right way to Costume for Winterlude

Winterlude in Ottawa

Winterlude is a winter carnival that may simply be loved outside if you happen to costume for it.

Packing is essential to collaborating in all of the actions the occasion has to supply.

What we packed for Winterlude:

Base Layers: Merino wool leggings and a base layer shirt – it wicks away moisture to maintain you heat if you happen to plan on doing a little skating or mountaineering. Fleece mid layer: Our fleece mid layer insulates from the chilly to maintain us toasty heat.Mid Layer: You’ll be able to put on a mid layer if you’re selecting to solely put on a light-weight windproof, but breathable outer layer. After we put on our outer layers, we put on fleece pants and a fleece jacket.

Parka and Snow Pants

Winterlude in Ottawa

It was notably chilly throughout our weekend in Ottawa, so we opted for parkas and snow pants as an alternative of a mid layer.

Ensure you convey a great parka and lined snow pants to maintain the chilly out.

Hats: a great wool hat at all times does the trick, you do not have to get fancy with aviator or fur-lined hats. I discover a good tuque with a fuzzy liner does the trick.Balaclava – we packed balaclavas and it saved our heads and necks heat. I choose a balaclava over a shawl. Boots – lined, breathable and waterproof boots are a should. Make certain they aren’t too tight so you’ll be able to put on further socks and put in toe heaters. Socks – Dave likes a liner sock, I simply put on a great pair of merino wool socks. Toe and Hand Heaters – these will save your life in Winterlude. We may stand exterior watching the exhibits and festivities whereas our tootsies and palms stayed toasty heat.

Learn our winter layering tricks to keep away from the deep freeze.

What to Anticipate from Winterlude in Ottawa

Winterlude in Ottawa

Ottawa is a really walkable metropolis.

Till you go throughout the river to Gatineau, you will not want to rent a taxi fairly often.

Most of Winterlude now takes place within the ByWard Market. That is the place the ice sculpture competitions happen and the place the winners are on show.

Winterlude in Ottawa

Many pubs and eating places arrange outside patios and ice bars with hearth pits to maintain you heat.

The principle occasion occurs on the Rideau Canal the place you’ll be able to skate on the world’s largest skating rink.

At 7.eight km lengthy and skating on Dows lake, that is lots of ice.

There are warming stations and meals stalls alongside the best way the place you will get sizzling chocolate, BeaverTails, and Maple Syrup treats.

Winterlude in Ottawa

There are lots of nighttime occasions happening alongside Financial institution Road and Spark Road. Spark Road is a strolling avenue crammed with Winterlude Actions.

Winterlude Weekend Itinerary

Making an attempt to get all the things in for Winterlude might be overwhelming, so now we have determined to interrupt down an Itinerary for you that can assist you benefit from Ottawa in winter.

Day 1: Friday Afternoon:

Winterlude in Ottawa

When you’ve got by no means been to Ottawa earlier than, we recommend popping over the Parliament Hill to see the Parliament Buildings. They’re a stunning work of structure and seeing them by no means will get previous.

After you’ve got checked out the Home of Parliament, it is time to get into Winterlude Festivities.

Afternoon Winterlude Actions

Winterlude in Ottawa

If you arrive in Ottawa Friday afternoon is the time that issues are gearing up for Winterlude. There could also be occasions taking place at Dows Lake.

We hopped in an Uber after checking into the Westin Ottawa to catch the ultimate warm-ups for the Dragon Boat Races happening over the weekend.

Winterlude in Ottawa

Groups from across the nation participate within the annual ice dragon boat race on Dows Lake. It is dragon boating, however it’s on ice. As an alternative of paddles, they use sticks with little spikes on them that appear to be horses hooves.

Dave and I had the prospect to do a trial run, and we now have nice respect for dragon boat racers. They work laborious!

After you end up on the lake, take a stroll into the Byward Market to search for a spot for dinner.

ByWard Market Eating

Winterlude in Ottawa

There are a lot of locations to select from. We tried Play Meals and Wine for the primary time and beloved the shareable small plates.

The cheese platter was to die for and the steak was excellent.

Situated on the nook of York and Sussex Drive, it is centrally situated on the entrance to the ByWard Market.

Sparks Road

Winterlude in Ottawa11

After dinner, we took a stroll alongside Sparks Road the place the leisure begins at 6:00 pm.

Ottawa Winter Delight occurs right now of yr and courageous burlesque dancers strip all the way down to their pasties in 20 under placing on a enjoyable and festive present on the stage.

Winterlude in Ottawa12

DJs hold the celebration going between acts and meals stalls and outside bars hold your bellies full and your blood heat.

When you’ve got youngsters, the Sparks Road Ice-Cade has winter carnival video games like ice ring toss, ice air hockey, and ice benches.

We as adults beloved it too!

Winterlude Events

Winterlude in Ottawa13

When visiting Ottawa throughout particular occasions like Winterlude, they at all times be sure to have numerous issues happening.

After the Burlesque present from 6 – eight for us (it retains going to 11 pm!) we made our option to Financial institution Road for a Silent Disco.

Considering we might be outside we bundled up solely to enter a comfy tent crammed with avenue performers and other people dancing silently with headphones on.

That is our sort of celebration. Lastly, an evening out the place we aren’t screaming over the DJ!

There have been three DJs enjoying music for everybody. You’ll be able to change the channels to swimsuit the music of your selection.

Your headphones mild up both Inexperienced, Purple or Yellow. Dave and I discovered ourselves on the traditional rock channel, however undoubtedly flipped via to hearken to the others after we noticed our fellow celebration goers getting down!

The Westin Ottawa


It was a jam-packed afternoon and night, and we appeared ahead to returning to our resort.

We had spent little or no time within the Westin thus far and beloved our room overlooking the canal.

The Westin Ottawa has a implausible view of town and whereas we love different motels in Ottawa, that is the perfect for Winterlude.


It’s situated proper on the entrance to the canal making skating straightforward.

It is also related to the Rideau Centre, so you are able to do some procuring with out having to place in your heavy parka.

And the view is unparalleled to another lookout in Ottawa.

Saturday – Day 2 at Winterlude


At present was the day to take a look at all of the enjoyable in Gatineau at Jacques Cartier Park.

That is the place to go in case you have youngsters. (or if you’re like us and are a child at coronary heart)

The park is crammed with outside winter occasions.


We arrived early to beat the road for the snow tube park and whizzed down the gates.

Dave and I’ve typically referred to as snow tubing the final word sofa potato thrill trip. You actually do not should do rather a lot however sit on an internal tube and let gravity do the work.


These are all non permanent tubing lanes although, so you’ll have to stroll up carrying the tube your self.

It is an effective way to tire the children out for the day. There have been two snow tubing sections constructed up for Winterlude with about six lanes every, so the strains are by no means too lengthy.

Winter Ziplining


I by no means considered Ziplining within the winter, however Ottawa has all of it.

Throughout Winterlude, they construct a zipper line over the park that just about goes to the river.

Climbing up the excessive scaffolding, we placed on our harnesses and sipped over the park.

It is $10 per trip or $20 for the day limitless.

If I had youngsters, I might select the $20.


After a fun-filled morning, it was time to discover extra of town.

We do not suggest skating on the canal within the afternoon. It is rather crowded and the ice may be very chopped up.

So as an alternative of going for a skate, we walked across the ByWard Market taking in all of the festivities round city.


There have been ice sculpting demonstrations and competitions happening.

We took a have a look at our schedule and made certain to not miss the artists at work.

Dave had the chance to attempt some ice sculpting of his personal and had a knack for chiseling away on the ice.



Even if you’re dressed for it, the chilly can take rather a lot out of you, so for the afternoon, we determined to duck inside to get pleasure from a few the various Ottawa museums.

The Nationwide Gallery is only a quick stroll from the ByWard Market and we went inside to take a look at a few of its iconic artwork.

The constructing is a murals unto itself.


With the long-lasting spider out entrance. Maman is a well-known sculpture designed by  Louise Bourgeois.

It was first unveiled on the Tate Fashionable Artwork Museum in London England and it has been reproduced world wide, together with Ottawa.

There’s a lovely glass ceiling within the lobby and our favourite exhibit was undoubtedly the Chapel of Our Girl of the Sacred Coronary heart full with a choir surrounding us bellowing from 20 audio system. t was serene and delightful.

We have been to many museums and galleries in Ottawa if you’re on the lookout for different concepts, the Canadian Museum of Nature, which is our favorite museum in Ottawa.

The Canadian Museum of Science and Expertise is enjoyable for the entire household and the ByWard Museum down by the Rideau Locks is an effective way to be taught of the historical past of the ByWard Market.

Notre Dame Cathedral

One other Good place to heat up for Winterlude is contained in the Notre Dame Cathedral.

There appears to be a Notre Dame in each French Metropolis. There’s one in Paris, one in Montreal and sure, Ottawa has one too!

Take a look at its lovely inside situated instantly throughout the street from the Nationwide Gallery.

Heat Up in Winterlude


When strolling round outside in winter, persons are at all times on the lookout for locations to heat up.

The ByWard Market is generally outside, however the primary constructing has retailers and eateries inside and is a superb place to flee the chilly.


We popped into Corazon de Maiz for genuine Mexican Delicacies.

Ensure you attempt their array of sizzling sauces starting from straightforward inexperienced to XXXX!

Fairmont Chateau Laurier

Fairmont Chateau Laurier

One other nice warm-up spot for Winterlude is the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Lodge. We have stayed right here a few occasions and love this place.

It’s inviting to stroll inside and browse its historical past. In case you stroll to the again of the resort, there are boutiques and retailers to browse.

And you’ll try the images show showcasing historical past courting again to the early 20th century.

And eventually, the Rideau Centre is a large shopping center crammed with high-end shops, eating places, and chain outfitters. You’ll be able to simply spend a few hours getting misplaced in right here.


Sundown in Ottawa-24 (1)

After exploring Ottawa for the afternoon, we have been prepared for some cocktails on the high of the Andaz Ottawa within the ByWard Market.

The Copper Ice Bar is an out of doors bar full with a vodka ice luge, fireplaces, and blankets.

Sundown in Ottawa-24 (1)

It was toasty heat tucked behind the glass secluding us from the wind. Andaz is without doubt one of the premier spots in Ottawa to look at the sundown over town.

There was one other evening of festivities deliberate with drag queen exhibits, and burlesque nonetheless going robust on Sparks Road, however after a day of actions, we made it an early evening.

After strolling via the Crystal Backyard to see the ice sculptures lit up with colourful lights, and a fast cease on the Ice Throne to do our greatest impression of the Sport of Thrones, we opted for a nightcap within the Westin cozy Shore Membership.

Sunday: Day three Winterlude

Sundown in Ottawa-29

At present is the large day!

We wakened early for dawn to skate on the canal.

That is the perfect time of day to skate as you’ve the canal all to your self save for a couple of locals commuting to work.

The ice has been freshly flooded and it is easy and straightforward to skate on.

Sundown in Ottawa-30

Wind is often much less within the mornings so we skated in consolation.

When skating, we wearing fewer layers. It was only a pair of lengthy johns below our denims and our parkas.

We may have gone with heat fleece and an outer layer, however we have been taking it straightforward so the parka labored properly.

Not one of the snack bars are open right now of day however the skate is excellent.

We made certain to come back again later for a Beaver Tail and maple syrup deal with.

Sundown in Ottawa 31

We could not eat an excessive amount of although as a result of it was time for our meals tour of Ottawa.

Different Locations to Skate in Ottawa

Skate in Ottawa

The Canal is not the one place to skate in Ottawa

The Sens Rink of Desires by Metropolis Corridor is a well-liked enviornment. And sure, there’s sizzling chocolate and Beavertails rinkside.

Rideau Corridor is a historic enviornment was inbuilt 1872 and is situated on the positioning of the residence of Canada’s Governor Common.

C’est Bon Meals Tour

C'est Bon Meals Tour

Becoming for Winterlude, we went on the Style of Maple Tour with C’est Bon Meals Excursions.

We met our information Sabrina on the clock in entrance of the ByWard Market and commenced our culinary tour across the space.

The tour contains samples of maple made delectables.

We had all the things from maple butter, to maple tea, maple cupcakes, maple bacon donuts, and maple ribs!

The spotlight of the cease was studying of the maple rib gradual cooking system at Fatboys Southern Smokehouse.

Chef Rob Plummer educated in Memphis to be taught all about ribs and so they have the perfect on the town.

Chef Rob Plummer

Prime Minister Harper was a daily and even had his closing cupboard meal on the restaurant.

We actually beloved how the homeowners and managers of the institutions got here out to speak to us and inform us about their merchandise.


My favorite factor about meals excursions is that they take you to native companies owned and operated by individuals who have a ardour for his or her enterprise and group.

The Tea Retailer was packed and we beloved it a lot, we purchased some to take residence with us.

FYI they take on-line orders and there is free delivery with for orders over $100!

The place to Eat for Winterlude

The place to Eat for Winterlude

You’d suppose that with all that meals, we might be prepared for a nap, however by the point we walked again to the resort, it was time to eat!

Joey Landsdowne – This was an incredible location close to the Westin. We may stroll almost all the best way indoors via the mall. We each went for pasta and loved the ambiance of a really packed place situated on Rideau Road.   The Brig Pub – Situated within the Byward market, it is a good place for lunch or grabbing a beer. Riviera Restaurant – Voted as the most effective eating places in Canada by enRoute Journal, the Riviera Restaurant is the place to eat! It is situated proper on Spark’s Road close to all of the Winterlude actions. Zoes – Elegant and scrumptious, it is an incredible eatery situated within the Chateau Laurier. The Grand Pizzeria – Situated proper throughout from Beavertails within the Byward Market, the Grand Pizzeria was the unique Grand resort courting again to 1812. There’s an out of doors ice bar with hearth pits, and so they have fabulous pizza and pasta. Corazon de Maiz – A tiny eatery within the Byward Market that has implausible tacos and burritos. Play Meals and Wine – Great setting serving small shared plates. It had implausible service. The place to Keep at Winterlude

Westin Ottawa

Westin Ottawa

Westin is the perfect location for Winterlude. Situated throughout the street from the canal, it is only a quick stroll to the doorway to the skate method.

The Westin has a skate lounge the place you’ll be able to heat up in your gear.

For winter it is glorious as a result of it’s related to the Rideau Centre shopping center so you’ll be able to heat up.

It has a wonderful pool and sizzling tub and breakfast provide a stunning view of the canal and Chateau Laurier.

Fairmont Chateau Laurier

Fairmont Chateau Laurier

Ottawas most well-known resort courting again to 1912.

Additionally it is a wonderful place to remain throughout Winterlude situated instantly throughout from the Westin.

If we had to decide on, we might say keep on the Westin for Winterlude and the Fairmont for all different journeys to Ottawa. How are you going to not get excited to remain on the grand resort.



It is a in style resort within the ByWard Market recognized for its rooftop patio for sundown.

It looks like a enterprise boutique resort. There’s a fitness center. (no pool or sauna)

The rooftop bar is its greatest characteristic.

Fast Winterlude Wrap Up

Winterlude is an annual occasion that occurs yearly from round Feb 1 -18.

Most actions are free and most are held on the weekends.

Fast Winterlude Wrap Up

A lot of the motion takes place on the Rideau Canal which turns into the worlds largest ice rink when it freezes.

Winterlude can also be celebrated round numerous websites within the capital like Confederation Park, The ByWard Market, Sparks Road, Financial institution Road, The Parliament Buildings and throughout the river within the metropolis of Gatineau.

The Snowflake Kingdom Gatineau is a winter playground for the children.

For extra data on Winterlude, try the official Ottawa Winterlude web site.

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Our journey to Ottawa is in partnership with Tourism Ottawa. All opinions are our personal. Go to their web site for extra data on journey to Ottawa.

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1 comment

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