Canada’s Capital Region becomes an ideal destination to celebrate Canadian traditions during the winter season! Despite the freezing temperatures we’ve been accustomed to this year, you can take advantage of Ottawa’s winter wonderland playground with traditional activities like Winterlude, tobogganing and skating, as well as some new activities in Ottawa to add to your list!

Throughout this blog, we’ll highlight some of our favorite safe winter activities that you can enjoy this year: 

Winterlude Virtual Experience

Winterlude brings light to the gloomy winter months, providing Canadians of all ages with a variety of family-friendly activities from February 4 to 21. To ensure our safety and comfort, this year’s main activity, ice carving, will be conducted virtually. A huge part of Winterlude is the Ice Sculpting competition which will undoubtedly be a Winterlude highlight this year! Two sculptors will be representing every one of Canada’s ten provinces. Both Suguru Kanbayashi and Kevin Ashe will be representing Ottawa as carving talents. The three winning sculptors will be selected through online voting by the public. You can keep up with Championship developments through their Facebook page.

There are other virtual winter activities available in addition to ice carving for those who want to avoid the cold as much as possible. This week, the Ottawa Jazz festival will open up the Vault to showcase some of the most extraordinary artistic achievements produced during the pandemic! You can also attend plenty of virtual learning classes. Local culinary studio, Urban Element, provides high-quality online cooking classes and recipe meal kits along with tips from their chefs and contributing collaborators.

Ice Skating

Over a distance of 7.8 kilometers, the Rideau Canal Skateway runs through the heart of Canada’s capital, skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway continues to be a yearly tradition in Ottawa. When open, the Skateway is free and open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. However, it is weather-dependent. 

Apart from the Rideau Canal, you’ll also find these unique skating spots throughout the capital:

  • Eco-Odysse Ice Maze
  • Icelynd Skating Trails
  • Patinage en forêt
  • Le Sentier du Petit Pingouin / The Little Penguin Trail
  • Countryside Adventures
  • RiverOak Skating trail 
  • Brewery Creek Skating Rink

Fire and Ice Exhibit 

The Fire and Ice Winter Exhibit will captivate you with stunning visuals, loud sounds, and interactive lighting displays that will enhance each participant’s experience and welcome them to take part in a memorable adventure. Take part in the memorable adventure on Bank Street from February 25 to 27 to view their collection of interactive art installations. 

The Fire and Ice Winter Exhibit installations include Portals to a New Dimension, The Burning Lantern, Wings of a Butterfly, Polar Vortex, and Lands of Fire and Ice. There will be nightly illuminations that start at 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday. 

Heated Patios

This year, you can be a foodie and enjoy patio season even with the cold weather. Below are some of Ottawa’s top heated patios to keep you nice and toasty this February. So bring your friends, bundle up, and enjoy these hot spots that are perfect for winter dining!

  • Back to Brooklyn (Downtown)
  • Bar Lupulus (Wellington West) 
  • Cooper’s Gastropub (Downtown) 
  • Glebe Central Pub (The Glebe) 
  • Irene’s Pub (The Glebe) 
  • Jack Astor’s (Lansdowne) 
  • LOCAL Lansdowne (Lansdowne)
  • Parlour Place (Wellington West) 
  • The Aulde Dubliner & Pour House (Downtown)
  • The Brig Pub (Downtown) 
  • The Grand (Downtown) 

Other Winter Activities

Here are a few more activities for winter lovers to explore:

Skiing: Whether you enjoy cross-country skiing or downhill skiing, there are mountains and trails all across eastern Ontario and Quebec to be enjoyed. One of our favourite places to ski is Camp Fortune which is suitable for beginner and family outings. 

Ottawa Farmers’ Market in Lansdowne: Get to know local producers and artisans at the Lansdowne Farmers’ Market! A variety of fresh local produce, meats, and cheeses can be found here, along with locally-made crafts, jewellery, and décor. The Farmers’ Market is open every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Parc Omega Trails: Winter walkers and snowshoers who want to see wildlife should visit Parc Omega. Visitors can drive through a 12 kilometre animal park and enjoy snowshoeing trails in the area. 

Arbraska Laflèche Ziplining: More winter fun can be found at Arbraska Laflèche, which offers ziplining through the trees, cave exploration, and snowshoe rallies.  

Tobogganing hills: Tobogganing is a treasured tradition in Canada. Make your way to one of Canada’s Capital Greenbelt toboggan hills with the family. You will surely be thrilled with these snowy hills, which are some of the best around.