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Montreal Families

Winterlude returns to Ottawa this February

Canada’s Capital Region will once again become a winter lover’s destination when the 45th Winterlude festival returns from Feb. 3 to 20, 2023.

After a two year pause on in-person activities, Winterlude is once again inviting families and friends to celebrate an array of winter activities and events as well as artistic and cultural traditions. The festival takes place over three weekends in Gatineau and Ottawa, and will highlight Canadian winter, the country’s artistic vitality, Indigenous cultures, 2SLGBTQI+ pride and diversity.

Opening weekend packed full of fun

From February 3 to 5, 13 professional ice carvers representing Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories will be taking part in the Winterlude National Ice-Carving Championship. Visit Sparks St., to check out the handmade sculptures and cheer them on as the ice chips fly. Participants will have 20 hours to carve 15 blocks of ice and create a work of art with the theme “Creatures of the Sea,” in homage to the underwater life in Canada’s oceans.

The top three best sculptures will be chosen by the public so make sure to vote online from Feb. 10-20. Voting will close Monday, Feb. 20 at noon, and the winners will be announced on Feb. 20. at 4 p.m.

On Feb. 3 at 7 p.m., the production of Minoshkite (“music to your ears”), will be presented by Elmnt FM and Red Music Rising, featuring William Prince, Snotty Nose Rez Kids and many others. On Feb, 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m,, there will be a mini powwow and Indigenous craft fair.

Ice sculptures. Credit: Ottawa Tourism

Activities over three weekends

Other events include the world’s largest ice dragon boat racing on the Rideau Canal Skateway, light features and performance art zones along Sparks St., in Ottawa, and a whole host of experiences at The ByWard Market. Snuggle up in a horse-drawn sleigh ride, take part in food tastings, wander through the interactive light installations, and admire the Ottawa street art murals at Gallery 55.

At the Snowflake Kingdom, a giant playground awaits visitors of all ages. A joint production with the City of Gatineau, the northern end of Jacques Cartier Park will host super slides for tubing, a mega zip line, a zone for kids 2 to 5 years old, a labyrinth, obstacle courses, and food concessions.

Then, don your skates for the ultimate winter-in-Ottawa activity: a glide along the 7.8-kilometre Rideau Canal. Sleighs and skates are available to rent at three locations along the canal.

“Winterlude is another opportunity to celebrate winter and showcase our art and culture. For 45 years, the event has brought excitement to Canada’s Capital Region and allowed Canadians from near and far to gather with family and friends,” said Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage. “From February 3 to 20, come and create memorable moments and discover all the unique activities that highlight the cultural and artistic diversity, as well as Indigenous cultures, that make our country so rich. Happy Winterlude!”

For more information, visit the Winterlude website.

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