Janeva Parker

Written by Janeva Parker

Modified & Updated: 02 Mar 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

Source: Tripsavvy.com

Winterlude is a highly anticipated winter festival that takes place in the heart of Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. This annual event celebrates all things winter and draws thousands of visitors from near and far. From ice sculptures to outdoor activities, Winterlude offers a wide range of attractions for people of all ages.

In this article, we will explore 12 fascinating facts about Winterlude that you may not know. From its origins to the iconic attractions that make it unique, get ready to dive into the world of this beloved winter festival. Whether you’re a local looking to learn more or a traveler planning to attend, these facts will give you a deeper appreciation for this amazing event.

Key Takeaways:

  • Winterlude in Ottawa, Canada, is a magical winter festival featuring ice sculptures, the world’s largest skating rink, snow activities, and unique events like the Ice Dragon Boat Festival and the Winterlude Balloon Glow.
  • Visitors can enjoy delicious BeaverTails, watch ice carving competitions, participate in a winter triathlon, and end the festival with a spectacular fireworks display over the frozen canal.
Table of Contents

Ice Sculptures Galore

One of the highlights of Winterlude is the stunning display of intricate ice sculptures. Talented artists from around the globe transform blocks of ice into works of art, creating a magical wonderland for visitors to explore.

The World’s Largest Skating Rink

The Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, becomes the world’s largest skating rink during Winterlude. Stretching over 7.8 kilometers, it offers an incredible opportunity for people to lace up their skates and glide along the frozen canal.

Snowflake Kingdom

Winterlude features a dedicated area known as Snowflake Kingdom, where families can enjoy a variety of winter activities such as snow slides, snow sculptures, and outdoor games. It’s a perfect spot for kids to let their imagination run wild.

Ice Dragon Boat Festival

Winterlude hosts a unique event called the Ice Dragon Boat Festival. Unlike traditional dragon boat races on water, this competition takes place on the frozen Rideau Canal. Teams race against each other, propelling their ice boats using special paddles.

BeaverTails Delight

No visit to Winterlude is complete without trying the famous Canadian treat, BeaverTails. These delicious pastries, shaped like the tail of a beaver, are topped with various sweet toppings, making them a must-try during the festival.

International Ice Carving Competition

Talented ice carvers from different countries showcase their skills at the International Ice Carving Competition held during Winterlude. Visitors can watch in awe as these artists transform massive blocks of ice into intricate sculptures within a limited time frame.

Winterlude Balloon Glow

As the sun sets, Winterlude comes alive with the mesmerizing Winterlude Balloon Glow event. Colorful and illuminated hot air balloons fill the sky, creating a breathtaking spectacle that captivates both young and old.

Ice Hockey Challenge

Winterlude hosts an exciting ice hockey challenge, where teams compete against each other on a specially designed outdoor rink. This thrilling event showcases the passion Canadians have for their national sport and attracts enthusiastic spectators.

Snowflake Soirée

The Snowflake Soirée is a winter-themed evening event that combines live music, dancing, and delicious cuisine. It provides the perfect opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere and enjoy a memorable night out.

Winterlude Triathlon

If you’re up for a challenge, you can participate in the Winterlude Triathlon, which includes skating, skiing, and running. This endurance event tests participants’ physical abilities and offers a unique way to experience the festival.

Ice Sculpture Workshops

Winterlude also offers visitors the chance to participate in ice sculpture workshops. Under the guidance of professional carvers, attendees can learn the techniques and create their very own ice masterpieces to take home as a memento.

Winterlude Fireworks

The grand finale of Winterlude is the spectacular fireworks display. With the frozen canal as a backdrop, the sky lights up with bursts of color and shimmering lights, providing a memorable end to the festival.

There you have it, 12 fascinating facts about Winterlude. This remarkable winter festival showcases the true spirit of winter, offering a unique blend of art, sports, and culinary delights for all to enjoy. If you’re ever in Ottawa during the winter season, be sure to experience the magic of Winterlude for yourself!


Winterlude is a truly magical event that captivates visitors from near and far. With its breathtaking ice sculptures, thrilling activities, and vibrant atmosphere, there’s no doubt that Winterlude is a must-visit event. Whether you’re a fan of winter sports, a lover of art and culture, or simply looking for some family-friendly fun, Winterlude has something for everyone.From skating on the Rideau Canal to enjoying hot chocolate by the fire, there are countless ways to create unforgettable memories at Winterlude. So bundle up, embrace the chilly weather, and immerse yourself in the beauty and excitement of this incredible winter festival. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience Winterlude and all it has to offer. It’s an event that will warm your heart and leave you with cherished memories for years to come.


1. What dates does Winterlude take place?

Winterlude typically takes place over three weekends in February. However, it’s best to check the official Winterlude website for specific dates and event schedules.

2. Are there any admission fees for Winterlude?

No, Winterlude is a free event. Most activities and attractions, such as ice carving displays and ice slides, are free to enjoy. However, some additional experiences, such as skate rentals or certain performances, may have associated costs.

3. Is Winterlude suitable for families with young children?

Absolutely! Winterlude offers a wide range of activities that cater to families with young children. From the Snowflake Kingdom, a kid-friendly snow park, to the Family Fun Zone, there are plenty of options to keep little ones entertained and engaged.

4. Can I bring my own skates to the Rideau Canal Skateway?

Yes, you can bring your own skates to the Rideau Canal Skateway. However, if you don’t have your own skates, there are skate rental facilities available at various locations along the canal.

5. Are there any warm places to relax during Winterlude?

Absolutely! Winterlude features several winter pavilions where you can warm up, enjoy a hot drink, and take a break from the cold. These pavilions often host live music, performances, and interactive exhibits, making them a great place to relax and enjoy the festival atmosphere.

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