Winter in Ottawa 

Festivals and Events to Keep You Busy This Season

Winter may seem like the perfect season to curl up on the couch and binge-watch your favourite Netflix series, but that would also mean missing out on a multitude of engaging and culturally diverse activities in the Ottawa and surrounding area. Read below for a highlight of this years winter events and festival lineup; before you know it, you will be kicking off your slippers and throwing on your snow gear to take part in these engaging winter activities:

Christmas Lights Across Canada - December 5th - January 7th

The 34th edition of Christmas Lights Across Canada will be up for display from December 5th to January 7th. Enjoy a stroll downtown and enjoy the magical winter lightscapes multimedia show projected onto the buildings on Parliament Hill. This is a free event that takes place each year and is sure to captivate audiences of all ages.

Sens Rink of Dreams - December 1st - March (weather permitting)

The Sens Rink of Dreams is opened for skating season 7 days a week from 6am-11pm with skate rentals and sharpening available daily. Bring your family and have a fun filled time skating, warm up inside Ottawa City Hall and enjoy some culture visiting the Barbara Ann Scott Gallery, the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame, the City Hall Art Gallery and the Karsh-Masson Gallery.

Rideau Canal Skateway - January 4th - March 3rd (weather permitting)

Nothing says winter in Ottawa like a skate down the Rideau; every winter, 7.8km of the Rideau Canal is transformed into the world’s largest skateway, stretching from downtown Ottawa to Dow’s Lake. Bring your friends, family and neighbours for some skating fun, and enjoy the Ottawa winter season to the fullest! The skateway is open, weather permitting, from January 4th - March 3rd. Click here to check the ice conditions and make sure the rink is open to the public before you head down!

Winterlude - February 1st - 18th

Winterlude is an annual winter festival held in Canada’s Capital Region (Ottawa and Gatineau) during the month of February. Many of the events that take place highlight the cultural, artistic, and culinary diversity of the region. This year, the festival will showcase indigenous culture on its first weekend, and LGBTQ2+ culture and pride during the second weekend. This is a highly popular event that attracts many people from near and far, be sure to check it out February 2019!

Tim Hortons Ice Dragon Boat Festival - February 9th

The Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival is taking place on February 9th 2019 on the Rideau Canal Skateway. Boats featuring skate-like blades propel themselves along the course using spiked icepicks. This is a culturally diverse event that also features concerts, traditional dancers, and family fun with activities for all ages at no cost!

Winter Brewfest - February 15th - 16th

Come on down to Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne Park on February 15th and 16th to take part in Ottawa’s Winter Brewfest! Taste more than 100 craft beers from across Ontario and Quebec and treat yourself to gourmet dishes and a Canadian favourite, taffy on snow! With  local DJ’s providing music that you can dance around the bonfire too, the event is sure to be a hit! Tickets are on sale now!

Sparks Street PoutineFest - April 25th - 28th 2019

One of Ottawa’s favourite events is set to kick of the spring season, showcasing one of the Country’s most desired indulgence - PoutineFest! From April 25th - 28th, come to Sparks Street between Bank and Elgin and try some delicious traditional and exotic Poutine, enjoy live music, street performers, patios and much more! Don’t forget, this party is “bring your own bib!”.

Noteworthy woman: Viola Desmond - November 30th - May 12th

Viola Desmond has become the first female to be represented on a Canadian Bank Note. Desmond became famous when she, as a black woman, sat in the “white” floor section of a segregated theatre in Nova Scotia after paying for her balcony seat, costing a penny less. She was subsequently arrested, put in jail, and charged with tax evasion. Desmond was pardoned of her crime in 2010, and today we celebrate her on our $10.00 Bank Note. The Bank of Canada Museum is host of an exhibit highlighting the life and work of Viola Desmond, and is open to the public Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm from November 30th to May 12th.

Ottawa is host to many culturally diverse and exciting events all winter long! Don’t be scared of the cold, bundle up and enjoy some outdoor family fun the Country’s Capital this winter season! For more information on additional events taking place, check out for a list of activities taking place in Ottawa this year!



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200-1335 Carling Avenue,

Ottawa, ON K1Z 8N8

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