Winter Adventures in Ottawa

December 20, 2019

Winter Adventures in Ottawa

A list of exciting things our beautiful city has to offer for you!

Winter cheer is here! Christmas music fills the air, a nice blanket of snow is covering the ground, and everyone is enjoying time with their friends and family. While it may be cold outside, there is still plenty that the city has to offer for you to see and do! This post will tell you about a few of the ways you may spend your holidays this year.

Skating on the Rideau Canal

Here in Ottawa, we are lucky to host the world’s largest skating surface, right in the city center! You can glide through the city, twirl on a refrigerated ice rink at a historic site, or carve your way along skating trails in the wilderness.

There are many different skateways you can choose from to make sure you have a magical experience no matter what your skill level is.

Rideau Canal Skateway– 7.8 kilometers long.

This is one of the world’s most famous places to come skating! It runs all the way from downtown Ottawa to Dows Lake and beyond. If you get cold along your journey, there are many heated cabins you can rest in, and enjoy a delicious Beavertail from one of the kiosks! Open 24 hours a day (weather dependent) and admission is free!

Sens Rink of Dreams– This rink is located in front of Ottawa city halls. Make sure to check it out after dark to get the full magic of the multi-coloured lights! There are plenty of places to rest and enjoy the beauty. Open from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. from December to mid-March, and admission is free!


Winter just wouldn’t be winter without this great celebration! The Winterlude Festival runs from January 31st to February 17th, and admission is free! There are stunning ice sculptures to see, you can skate on the Rideau Canal, and have enever ending fun in the Snowflake Kingdom.

Skating During Winterlude

Bring your own skates, or rent ones when you get there! As long as the weather conditions are good, the Rideau Canal is open for skating!

There are also special programming offered during Winterlude, including the Winterlude Triathlon (on February 1st) and BeaverTails Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival (on February 7th-8th).

Jacques Cartier Park- Snowflake Kingdom

Cross over the bridge to visit this winter wonderland! Located at the Jacques Cartier Park in downtown Gatineau, this is an event for all ages. Activities you can find include:

  • Tube sliding
  • Skiing and snowboarding lessons
  • Kiddie Zone for toddlers
  • Zip line
  • Indigenous performances
  • Snow sculptures

Snowflake Kingdom is open Thursdays through Sundays during the festival, as well as Family Day.

Other Activities

Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding- Many locations including Camp Fortune and Mont Cascades

Snowshoeing- Many locations including Gatineau Park (with rentals available at the Visitor Centre in Chelsea Qc)

Dog-sledding– Escapade Eskimo

Magic of Lights- November 21st-January 4th at Wesley Clover Parks

Alight at Night– Upper Canada Village, see website for dates and admission