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40th Winterlude Opening Weekend Highlights

by pmnationtalk on February 2, 2018173 Views

OTTAWA, February 2, 2018

The 40th edition of Winterlude opens in Canada’s Capital Region on Friday, February 2, to the delight of the thousands of people who flock to the popular winter festival every year. The three official Winterlude sites will host an impressive variety of activities, live shows and fascinating exhibitions until February 19.

Here’s an overview of what’s on during the Winterlude opening weekend, February 2–4. For up-to-the-minute information, including event changes and cancellations, consult our calendar of events

Kick-Off Celebration

Friday, February 2

To get this great Canadian winter festival off to a rousing start, a lively percussion parade will leave Marion Dewar Plaza at 7 p.m. and make its way to Confederation Park. Impressionist André-Phillipe Gagnon, hailed as a “vocal chameleon”, will perform on the Circle K Stage at 7:30 p.m. At about 9 p.m., DJ 4Korners will take the stage to keep the party going. He’s an expert around the world at getting crowds up and dancing, so be ready to bust a few winter moves! The Kick-Off performances will be accompanied by a laser show that’s sure to be amazing.

Crystal Garden at Confederation Park: “Winter Fun! Timeless Memories!”

On opening weekend, visitors will have an opportunity to:

  • Enjoy shows in the Sub-Zero Concert Series, featuring André-Philippe Gagnon and DJ 4Korners (Friday) and a Silent Battle of the DJs with DJ Lady Pista and DJ KHAØS (Saturday).
  • Watch the popular One-Block Challenge, where professional ice carvers have two hours to create a sculpture on the theme “Winter Fun! Timeless Memories!”
  • Cheer on participants from 11 countries in the 31st Crystal Garden International Ice-Carving Competition.
  • Admire some amazing ice sculptures: a 90-block structure depicting the mascots of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, presented by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Canada; a 45-block structure recalling the days of horse racing on the frozen Rideau Canal; a 46-block structure celebrating the 40th edition of Winterlude, presented by the European Union; “Butterflies in Flight,” an ice carving presented by the Canadian Museum of Nature; and a 40-block structure celebrating Winterlude’s 40th milestone.
  • Revisit the previous 39 Winterludes through a retrospective photo exhibit.
  • Experience Face, a monumental interactive work, a true-to-life light show where projections play with portraits.
  • Discover Inuit culture with Nunavut Sivuniksavut.
  • Enjoy daytime performances on the Brrr Stage by Tim Burr! Circus Lumberjack and Benoît Davidson, Storytelling Sculptor.
  • Warm up at the Circle K Stage with the Atelier de danse Carole Brouard, a renowned Outaouais dance studio.
  • Enjoy cookies, mini-donuts, coffee and hot chocolate at the Circle K Ice Café.
  • Test their knowledge by taking Historica Canada’s Trivia Challenge, and watch for the quizmasters roaming around the site.

Just a few metres from Confederation Park, Marion Dewar Plaza (in front of Ottawa City Hall) hosts more family activities. Visitors are invited to:

  • Enjoy the 14th annual Enbridge Free Pancake Breakfast.
  • Admire a dazzling show by German ice dancers, and learn to dance on ice (ages 4–17, lessons in English, registration required). Presented by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • Skate to beats provided by live DJs, sponsored by OLG.
  • Waltz on ice under the stars at Alles Walzer!, presented by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • View Parks Canada’s photography exhibition Epic. Arctic. Sirmilik, showing the beauty and grandeur of Canada’s North.
  • Cheer on the competitors in the first Winterlude Mascot Challenge, presented by the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est.
  • Scramble up the Altitude Gym Climbing Tower.
  • Participate in “Pioneer Winter” activities and use the tools of yesterday’s dairy farmers. Presented by the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum.
  • Try on some pilot gear and sit in an ejection seat, courtesy of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park North, Gatineau: “Winter Pleasures”

To accommodate the Mosaïvernales installation in the southern part of Jacques-Cartier Park, the Snowflake Kingdom has been moved to the northern end of the park, near the Maison du vélo at 350 Laurier Street.

Once again this year, admission to the Kingdom is FREE!

This huge winter playground provides enjoyment for people of all ages. A few highlights:

  • Speed down the Super Slides at the Snowflake Kingdom (Tim Hortons Chinook, Iceberg and Glacier).
  • Admire amazing snow sculptures by talented carvers.
  • Watch an extreme aerial acrobatic and trampo-wall show, in a special edition to celebrate the 40th Winterlude.
  • Interact with Humanoid, a gigantic digital art projection.
  • Meet the Ice Hog family, Winterlude’s lovable furry mascots.
  • Attend live family performances: Waste Works with CréaSon , a percussion-themed show featuring instruments made out of salvaged materials (bilingual); and The Silly People, a wacky comedy duo (in English).
  • Tune in to a broadcast by Radio Jeunesse, live from the Snowflake Kingdom and produced entirely by young people.
  • Learn about Indigenous cultures and enjoy stories, songs and games in the Indigenous Village.
  • Explore the unexpected with Parks Canada.
  • Get a free introduction to downhill skiing and snowboarding (for ages 5 to 8).
  • Go for a dogsled ride ($).
  • Meet Indigenous role models with Motivate Canada.
  • Meet Crazy Carpet and Espace Forain, two colourful roving performers.
  • Meet the Canadian Rangers.
  • Visit the Kiddie Zone, where little tykes can let loose!
  • Play giant versions of favourite family games.
  • Discover the art of wood-carving with Josh Dagg.
  • Have your photo taken in a bobsleigh.
  • Discover the Scandinavian sport of kicksledding.
  • Roving quizmasters will be on-site to test visitors’ knowledge with the Historica Canada’s Trivia Challenge.

Rideau Canal Skateway: Celebrating 48 seasons of skating!

One of Winterlude’s most popular attractions, the Rideau Canal Skateway will be centre stage for several opening weekend events and attractions, including:

  • The spectacular 35th annual Winterlude Triathlon.
  • Free Nokia Learn to Skate sessions.
  • Hot drinks and a rest area at the OLG Sno-Bus Station.
  • Live performances on the OLG Stage.
  • The Pepsi Fun Zone, featuring an obstacle course and much more.

The Nokia Rest Area (at Concord Street) and the OLG Sno-Bus Station (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 2–4 weekend at various locations in Ottawa and Gatineau:

  • Mosaïvernales Gatineau 2018: A winter wonderland in Jacques-Cartier Park South ($)
  • Light Up the Night on the Sir John A. Macdonald Winter Trail (between the Canadian Museum of History and Westboro Beach)
  • Canadian Ski Patrol Day, including an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for most people making snow angels (Canadian Museum of History).
  • ByWard Blizzard Snow’Art snow-sculpture exhibition in the ByWard Market.
  • Downtown Rideau Chill Factor sculptures and snow art.
  • Sparks Street ice arcade.
  • Fête Frissons at the Shenkman Arts Centre.
  • Beat the Cold at the Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum ($).
  • 2018 Winter Beerfest at the Canadian Museum of History ($).
  • Celebration of Ottawa’s winter history and Winterlude crafts at the Bytown Museum.
  • Free outdoor screening of Unikkaaqtuarniq: Stories from the North at Lansdowne Park.
  • Riddles in the Snow at the Bank of Canada Museum.

Canadian Heritage is proud to present Winterlude with the support of the following official sponsors and site partners: OLG – Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Circle K, Enbridge, Tim Hortons, Nokia, Pizza Pizza, Pepsi, Goodlife Fitness, Redpath, Ville de Gatineau, City of Ottawa, National Capital Commission, Fairmont Château Laurier, The Westin Ottawa, Lord Elgin, Aboriginal Experiences, Altitude Gym, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Canada, Ontario Snow Resorts Association, Association des stations de ski du Québec, Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, Royal Canadian Army Cadets, Canadian Ski Council, Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est, Delegation of the European Union to Canada, Drop in Sport, Ottawa Art Gallery, Historica Canada, Ice Dragon Boat Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Ottawa, Motivate Canada, Canadian Museum of Nature, Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Parks Canada, Canadian Rangers, Zone3sports, Société de transport de l’Outaouais, OC Transpo, and many others, including members of the region’s tourism industry.


“We are proud to celebrate the 40th edition of Winterlude, with its fantastic program of activities highlighting the joys of winter in Canada. The family activities, live performances, entertainment, and much more, will have us all saying, ‘I love MY Winterlude.’”

—The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage

Related Products

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For more information (media only), please contact:

Simon Ross
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage


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