Ottawa ON – Since 1979 Winterlude has taken over Ottawa and Gatineau for 3 weeks in February attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists. Highlighted by the 7.8 kilometer skating rink on the Rideau Canal, Winterlude boasts countless activities for all ages .The festival, held at Confederation Park located directly across the street from the Rideau Center shopping mall, where the most of the ice sculptures can be found.
A big draw for this festival is the annual International ice-carving competition which is made available for viewing day or night. Twenty-eight world class carvers from 11 countries participated in this year’s events. This year’s big winner was Filipino Ross Baisas who is currently based in Montreal. Baisas won first place in the one block competition. He then followed that up with a third place finish in the pair’s competition with Canadian Michael Tuinstra.
Confederation Park also has an area called the Rogers Crystal Globe which is an inflatable, transparent plastic ball that keeps the DJ’s out of the cold. This past weekend a few big named DJ’s took to the globe to keep the crowds pumping. Friday night featured DJ Eve spinning western vs. eastern mixes. Saturday night a popular DJ from Montreal, DJ Vito V, was in the globe playing his various hits during a 4 hour performance.
There are also plenty of activities for the kids to partake in. Just over the bridge in Gatineau, Jacque Cartier Park is transformed into Snow Flake Kingdom. Unlike most Kingdoms this one is filled with obstacle courses, kicksleds, horse-drawn sleigh rides, craft lessons and snow slides. Jacque Cartier Park is also the place to catch the Annual Bedzzz Race as well as the fan favourite Annual Great Canadian Beaver Cup Pond Hockey Championship.
This year’s festivities kicked off on February 4th and run through until the 21st and will be open for this upcoming family day. The entire list of venues for this festival include: the Rideau Canal Skateway, Confederation Park, Jacques-Cartier Park, The Museum of Civilization, and Ottawa City Hall. If you live in the national capital region a visit to Winterlude is a must.
As one local resident of Ottawa stated when asked to describe Winterlude, Dano Brisson said,
“It’s the most fun you can have while wearing long johns.”
Some of the upcoming events to look forward to at this year’s Winterlude include, “Ice Sculpture Secret” Feb 19-20 followed by the Public Ice-Carving Challenge. More information about the events this year can be found here at Ottawa Information Guide.