OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 3, 2017) - Department of Canadian Heritage

The 39th edition of Winterlude opens in Canada's Capital Region on Friday, February 3, to the delight of the thousands of people who flock to the popular winter festival every year. Until February 20, the three official Winterlude sites will be the scene for an impressive variety of activities, live shows and fascinating exhibitions.

Here's an overview of what's on during the Winterlude opening weekend, February 3-5. For up-to-the-minute information, including event changes and cancellations, consult our calendar of events, Facebook page or Twitter feed.

Kick-Off Party

Friday, February 3

To get this great winter celebration off to a rousing start, a carnival-style party will unfold in Confederation Park and on the CIBC stage. The evening will begin at 7 p.m. with the unique sound of young DJ prodigy Évana Müren, daughter of renowned DJ Carl Müren. Quebec artist Karim Ouellet will perform at 7:30, followed by Ontario's Coleman Hell at 7:45. At 8:45 p.m., Karim Ouellet will return to the stage to get the audience dancing with his DJ tracks. The performances will be accompanied by a laser show that's sure to be amazing!

Crystal Garden at Confederation Park: "Dare to Dream!"

On opening weekend, visitors will have an opportunity to:

  • Enjoy the first show in the Sub-Zero Concert Series, featuring Karim Ouellet and DJ Carl Müren.
  • Warm up at the Cool Moves! show, presented by the Nadia Desgagnés Dance Company.
  • Watch the popular One-Block Challenge, where professional ice carvers have two hours to create a sculpture on the theme "Dare to Dream."
  • Cheer on participants in the 30th Crystal Garden International Ice-Carving Competition, the inaugural Canada Cup of Ice Carving edition.
  • Admire some truly amazing ice sculptures: a polar bear, presented by the Canadian Museum of Nature, and an 80-block structure on the theme "Explore 150," presented by TakingITGlobal.
  • Discover "Epic. Arctic. Torngat Mountains," a photo exhibit by Parks Canada that highlights the diversity and beauty of Canada's North.
  • Visit the Canada C3 exhibit in the Arctic Zone, presented by the Students on Ice Foundation, to learn about an epic 150-day sailing journey from coast to coast to coast.
  • Discover Inuit culture with Nunavut Sivuniksavut.
  • Watch culinary demonstrations and enjoy cookies and hot chocolate at the Metro Ice Café.
  • Meet roaming entertainers Kumpa'nia and Papillons.
  • Make sculptures out of colourful ice blocks and help create a collective ice mosaic-activities presented by the Ottawa Art Gallery that are sure to delight the little ones.
  • Sit by the fire and listen to stories with the Bytown Museum.
  • Discover how reptiles survive our cold winters, and dig through an ice block to reveal a special prize from the Canadian Museum of Nature.
  • Test their knowledge (and potentially win prizes!) by taking Historica Canada's Trivia Challenge-watch for the quizmasters roaming around the park.

A few metres from Confederation Park, in Marion Dewar Plaza, just outside Ottawa City Hall, families will find lots of entertaining things to do:

  • Attack a stack of flapjacks at the 13th annual Enbridge Free Pancake Breakfast.
  • Watch figure skater and Olympic medallist Jeffrey Buttle in action during the OLG All for Skating Shows.
  • Skate to the sounds of DJ Rodrigo in an OLG Bubble.
  • Get up and dance to the beat of percussion group Baratanga! Instruments will be available for the audience to join in the performance.
  • Admire the European Union's anniversary ice sculpture.
  • Practise drills with members of the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees varsity sports teams, and learn the basics of ringette with Ringette Canada.

Snowflake Kingdom at Jacques-Cartier Park: "Explore our Canadian Landscapes"

There are many opportunities for people of all ages to have fun in this huge winter playground:

  • Admire the snow masterpieces at the 2017 National Snow Sculpture Rendezvous.
  • Learn about the culture of Indigenous people in the Aboriginal Village.
  • Discover unexpected riches with Parks Canada at Maison Charron, and learn about the final links in the Trans Canada Trail.
  • Get a free introduction to downhill skiing. (For children aged 5 to 8.)
  • Admire a digital art projection featuring Mother Earth, the MosaïCanada character who changes with the seasons.
  • Visit the Kiddie Zone, where little ones can let off steam.
  • Play giant versions of favourite games such as Tic Tac Toe and lots more.
  • Zoom down the Winterlude super slides (the Chinook, the Iceberg, the Glacier and the Kiddie Slide).
  • Find your way out of the Canada 150 snow maze.
  • Take in the Extreme Aerial Acrobatic and Trampo-wall Show.
  • Sing and dance around the bonfire to traditional tunes with Louis Racine and his band.
  • Meet the Ice Hog family, Winterlude's adorable furry mascots.
  • Challenge yourself on an obstacle course hosted by Motivate Canada.
  • Enjoy a traditional performance from the surprising folk duo En 2 temps.
  • Meet some colourful characters roaming around the park: Phil d'Ariane and Steamfunk.
  • Go for a ride on a dogsled.
  • Soar over the Snowflake Kingdom on the free Winterlude mega-zip line.

Roving quizmasters will also be on site to test visitors' knowledge of Canada with the Historica Canada Trivia Quiz.

Rideau Canal Skateway: Celebrating 47 Seasons of Skating!

The Rideau Canal Skateway is a Winterlude highlight. Here are a few of the activities visitors can enjoy on the ice on opening weekend:

  • Attend the spectacular annual Winterlude Triathlon, marking its 34th edition this year.
  • Sign up for a free Nokia Learn to Skate session.
  • Relax and warm up with a hot drink at the OLG Sno-Bus Station.
  • Visit the Pepsi Fun Zone, featuring an obstacle course and much more.

The Nokia Rest Area (at Concord Street) and the CIBC Rest Area (at Fifth Avenue) will be all set to welcome skaters looking for a place to meet or take a break.

Winterlude Partners: More Programming than Ever!

This year, nearly 50 partners have come together to make Winterlude richer and more entertaining than ever. Here are some of the activities taking place over the February 3-5 weekend at various locations in Ottawa and Gatineau:

  • Fête Frissons at the Shenkman Arts Centre
  • ByWard Blizzard Snow'Art snow-sculpture exhibition in the ByWard Market
  • 26th annual ByWard Market Winterlude Stew Cook-off
  • Creative Weekends at Ottawa City Hall
  • 2017 Winter Beerfest at the Canadian Museum of History
  • Bytown Blizzard at the Bytown Museum
  • Free outdoor screening of Unikkaaqtuarniq: Stories from the North at Lansdowne Park

The Department of Canadian Heritage is proud to present Winterlude with the support of the following official sponsors and site partners: CIBC, OLG - Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Metro Ontario, Ville de Gatineau, City of Ottawa, National Capital Commission, Enbridge, Nokia, Giant Tiger, Fairmont Château Laurier, The Westin Ottawa, Lord Elgin, Parks Canada, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa Art Gallery, TakingITGlobal, Historica Canada, Students on Ice Foundation, Music Yukon, OC Transpo, and many others, including the region's hospitality industry.


"Winterlude's opening weekend is looking fantastic! The programming is more diverse than ever, and there's definitely something for everyone. I hope you will all come and join us as we celebrate winter in Canada!"

- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage

Related Products

Unveiling the Program for Winterlude 2017

Associated Links

Stay Connected

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Contact Information:

Pierre-Olivier Herbert
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage