One Of Canada's Biggest Winter Festivals Is Returning & It's A Short Road Trip Away

You can watch over a dozen ice sculptures get carved in 20 hours!

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
​People skate on the Rideau canal. Right: An ice sculpture of a snowboarder.

People skate on the Rideau canal. Right: An ice sculpture of a snowboarder.

The annual winter festival in Canada's capital city is breaking the ice after a two-year hiatus with a mega zipline, super slide and ice sculptures galore, among other frosty features.

Winterlude will light up Sparks Street in Ottawa with interactive art installations and bring sleigh rides to ByWard Market, one of the oldest public markets in the country. You'll also be able to skate the iconic 7.8-kilometre Rideau Canal path.

The festival kicks off on February 3 with a national ice sculpture competition. You'll be able to cheer on the 13 professional ice carvers, representing each province and territory as they carve 15 blocks of ice in 20 hours. This year's theme is "Creatures of the Sea" and the public will be able to vote online for the winner.

The Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques Cartier Park will have huge slides made of ice, a zip line, street performers and more.

Nearby, the Ice Dragon Boat Festival on the Rideau Canal is a fan favourite. You can watch teams in dragon-hulled boats with wheels propel themselves on the ice.

The festival will open with the Minsoshkite ("music to your ears") show, featuring William Prince, Snotty Nose Rez Kids and other performers, on February 3 at 7 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Canadian Museum of History. A mini powwow and Indigenous craft fair will follow on February 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Winterlude spans three weekends through February 20, and the full programming line-up is available online.

Winterlude 2023

When: February 3 - 20, 2023


Sofia Misenheimer
MTL Blog, Associate Editor
Sofia Misenheimer is an Associate Editor for MTL Blog focused on gas prices in Montreal and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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