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Ottawa’s Winterlude Festival set for super chilled 2017 edition

Ottawa’s Winterlude Festival set for super chilled 2017 edition

In 2017 Canada marks its 150th birthday, with holidaymakers invited to join in the countrywide, year-long celebrations.

The main focus for national events will be the capital city Ottawa, where 12 epic months of big, bold, immersive and moving experiences will be on offer. The first major ‘National Partner Event’ of the Ottawa 2017 calendar will be a special edition of the annual Winterlude festival, which will wow visitors over three fun-filled weekends, 3 – 20 February.


Next years’ will be the 39th edition of Winterlude, when Ottawa will be transformed into an enchanting city of all things snowy and frozen. Organisers are promising a festival that will be bigger and better than ever, with some 600,000 revellers expected to descend on the capital. The bumper sized celebrations will be centred in and around three downtown locations, all of which will be free of charge to the public.

Visitors should head to the Crystal Garden, also known as Ottawa’s Confederation Park, for the spectacular Winterlude opening ceremony on 3 February.  The precise details are being kept top secret but holidaymakers can expect to enjoy pyrotechnics, live music and even a dance party. The park is also home to a stunning international ice-carving competition over the first two weekends of the festival, as well as a whole host of exhibitions, events, activities and entertainment, including live DJs.



Ottawa’s iconic Rideau Canal Skateway will play centre stage for several activities, sure to excite kids and parents alike. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Skateway is the world’s largest skating rink (stretching 4.8 miles through downtown Ottawa) and, besides free ice skating, it hosts the popular Winterlude Triathlon and hilarious annual Accora Village Bed Race with wildly decorated beds and athletes sprinting across the ice. And a first for 2017 will be a winter edition of the popular Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival. The one-day spectacular will see colourful dragon boats race against each other on the Rideau Canal at Dows Lake. Teams will propel beautifully designed boats that will be mounted onto large skates using specially made ‘ice-sticks’.

Nearby Jacques-Cartier Park is the site of the world’s biggest snow playground, known at the Snowflake Kingdom. The site will be kitted out with larger-than-life snow and ice slides, and is the home-away-from-home of Winterlude’s beloved furry mascots, the Ice Hog family. They love to play and give out hugs, and are happy to pose for pictures, making it a perfect spot for those with little ones in tow.

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