Winter in Ottawa When Living in Ottawa – Fun Activities To Do
Winter in Ottawa When Living in Ottawa – Fun Activities To Do make it an unforgettable experience, with the city offering a multitude of activities that make the most of the chilly months. From skating on the iconic Rideau Canal to immersing yourself in the magic of the Winterlude festival, Ottawa has something for everyone during the winter. In this blog, we will explore the fun and engaging activities that capture the essence of this Canadian capital’s winter wonderland. Whether you’re a local looking for new adventures or a visitor seeking the best experiences, these winter activities in Ottawa will leave you with lasting memories of this vibrant and snowy season.
Considering relocating to Ottawa and worried you’ll be left shivering through a dull winter? Think again. Ottawa is not just another city that hibernates through the cold. Instead, it transforms into a winter wonderland, teeming with activities that make the season unforgettable. Whether it’s gliding on the world-famous Rideau Canal or basking in the magic of the Winterlude festival, there’s something for everyone. Today, we’ll unveil must-do winter activities in Ottawa that promise to turn any cold apprehension into warm memories. Let’s dive in!
Ice Skating in Ottawa
If you are planning a visit to Canada during the winter season, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to ice skating opportunities. One of the cities with fantastic skating locations is Ottawa. It offers a variety of options for ice skating, making it a perfect destination for skating enthusiasts of all levels. From iconic Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink, to picturesque locations like Dow’s Lake, Ottawa provides a truly unforgettable skating experience. Whether you want to glide along the canal or enjoy the scenic beauty of frozen lakes, Ottawa has something to offer for everyone.
Skate on the World’s Largest Skating Rink
Did you know that the Rideau Canal, which is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, undergoes an amazing transformation during the winter months? It become the world’s largest skating rink, spanning over 7.8 kilometers in length! This incredible frozen wonderland offers a truly unique and unforgettable skating experience that attracts both locals and tourists alike. Beyond just skating, the canal is dotted with cozy rest areas, food kiosks serving delicious beavertails and hot cocoa, and venues for impromptu hockey games and snowball fights.
Jacques Cartier Park
Jacques Cartier Park is a fantastic destination located in Gatineau, just across the river from Ottawa. This picturesque park is renowned for its wide array of exciting winter activities. One of the highlights of Jacques Cartier Park is its large ice skating rink. The park also boasts an incredible outdoor winter playground featuring thrilling snow slides and magnificent snow forts, adding to the fun-filled atmosphere.
Icelynd Skating Trails
Welcome to Icelynd Skating Trails! Located in Ottawa, this newer winter wonderland offers a delightful experience for all. Immerse yourself in the charm of our nearly 100 acres of beautiful natural woods, where winding skating paths await. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or just starting, you’ll love gliding through the enchanting trails. And make sure not to miss the magical evening skating experience that Icelynd Skating Trails is renowned for. Come and discover the joy of skating in this picturesque forest setting.
Embrace the Winterlude Festival in Ottawa
Winterlude in Ottawa stands as a significant annual winter event that celebrates Canadian winter traditions and activities. Spanning three weekends, this festival boasts a range of events that appeal to both residents and tourists. One of the event’s cornerstones is the Ice Sculpture Competition, which sees artists from around the world gathering in Confederation Park to craft detailed sculptures from large blocks of ice. Jacques Cartier Park hosts the Snowflake Kingdom, offering family-friendly activities like snow slides and mazes. Additionally, the Rideau Canal Skateway becomes a central hub during Winterlude, as it’s open for skating and flanked by vendors offering traditional treats like beavertails and hot apple cider. Throughout the festival, attendees can also expect a series of concerts, workshops, and exhibitions that highlight Canadian culture and the joys of winter living.
Explore Gatineau Park
Gatineau Park, located just a short drive from Ottawa, becomes a winter enthusiast’s paradise as the temperatures drop. The park, spanning over 361 square kilometers, transforms into a snowy wonderland, offering a diverse range of activities tailored for the season. One of the most popular winter pursuits in the park is cross-country skiing. With over 200 kilometers of groomed trails, skiers of all levels can navigate through dense forests, open meadows, and frozen lakes. The trails, such as the picturesque “Trail 1” starting from the Visitor Centre or the challenging “Trail 36” at Luskville Falls, cater to both beginners and experienced skiers.
For those who prefer a slower pace, snowshoeing in Gatineau Park provides a serene way to explore the winter landscape. Designated trails, like the King Mountain Loop or the Lauriault Trail, allow snowshoers to trek through snow-covered forests and catch panoramic views of the Ottawa Valley. Additionally, winter hiking and fat biking are gaining traction, with specific trails set aside for these activities. If a more relaxing experience is on the agenda, several shelters throughout the park, like Keogan or Shilly Shally, offer cozy spots to warm up, enjoy a packed lunch, and immerse oneself in the tranquility of the surroundings. Gatineau Park in winter is not just about activity; it’s about experiencing the pristine beauty of nature at its most serene.
Snow Storms Impact the City
Ottawa, with its continental climate, often finds itself in the path of significant snowstorms, especially during the winter months. The impact of these snowstorms can be quite profound, affecting transportation, infrastructure, and daily life. For instance, in 2008, a massive snowstorm hit Ottawa, dumping over 37 centimeters of snow in just 24 hours. This storm caused widespread traffic chaos, school closures, and delays in public transportation. Similarly, in 1999, a series of snowstorms led to a record-breaking snowfall accumulation of over 400 centimeters for the winter season. The city declared a state of emergency due to the overwhelming amount of snow that needed to be cleared, illustrating the immense challenges Ottawa faces during severe snow events. Moreover, in 2016, a powerful snowstorm swept through Ottawa, dropping about 51 centimeters of snow and disrupting the city’s usual rhythm. These historical events underscore the necessity for Ottawa to have robust snow removal and emergency preparedness strategies in place. Over the years, Ottawa has honed its snow management practices to ensure the safety and mobility of its residents, even in the face of Mother Nature’s snowy onslaughts. Each winter, the city’s snow removal fleet and emergency services work tirelessly to minimize the impact of snowstorms and keep the city functional and safe.
Visit Museums and Indoor Attractions in Ottawa
Ottawa is a treasure trove of history, culture, and art, especially evident in its array of museums and indoor attractions. When the winter chill blankets the city, these institutions provide a warm getaway. The Canadian Museum of History, just across the river in Gatineau, offers a journey through Canada’s rich past with its grand totem poles and the immersive First Peoples Hall. Similarly, the National Gallery of Canada, with its striking glass architecture, houses a vast collection of artworks, from indigenous sculptures to contemporary pieces, providing a visual feast away from the winter cold.
To make the most of your indoor explorations during the winter, consider purchasing a museum passport, available at local tourist information centers. This pass offers access to multiple museums over three days, ensuring you get the best value for your visits. Winter is also an opportune time to catch special exhibitions, lectures, and workshops that these institutions often host. Sipping on a hot beverage from the museum’s café, diving deep into Canada’s stories, or simply marveling at artistic masterpieces, Ottawa’s indoor attractions offer a perfect blend of education and entertainment, making those cold days both enlightening and enjoyable
Try Winter Sports in Ottawa
Ottawa, with its crisp winter air and snow-blanketed landscapes, is a haven for winter sports enthusiasts. The city and its surrounding areas are brimming with opportunities for both seasoned athletes and beginners alike. A standout attraction, as mentioned earlier, is the Rideau Canal Skateway, which, when frozen, becomes the world’s largest naturally occurring ice rink. Stretching over 7.8 kilometers, it offers a unique experience for ice skaters, with kiosks along the way offering skate rentals and traditional Canadian treats like beavertails. For those keen on ice hockey, numerous outdoor rinks, such as the Rink of Dreams at City Hall, are perfect for a friendly game or practice session.
Beyond skating, Ottawa’s nearby trails beckon cross-country skiing enthusiasts. The Greenbelt, a vast area encircling the city, boasts over 150 kilometers of skiing trails that wind through picturesque forests and frozen wetlands. For adrenaline seekers, snowboarding and downhill skiing options are available at Camp Fortune, just a short drive from the city in the Gatineau Hills. The park offers a range of slopes catering to various skill levels, ensuring everyone from novices to experts can enjoy the thrill of descent. Whether you’re lacing up skates for the first time or carving down a snow-covered hill, Ottawa’s winter sports offerings promise exhilarating experiences amidst a stunning backdrop.
Ottawa’s winter season truly offers an incredible array of exciting and enjoyable activities for both locals and visitors to indulge in. From the sheer delight of gliding along the expanse of the iconic Rideau Canal while skating to the enchantment of immersing oneself in the magical Winterlude festival, this Canadian capital truly comes alive during the colder months. Whether you’re an adventurous soul seeking to conquer the snowy slopes through skiing and snowshoeing, or if you prefer the warmth and comfort of indoor activities, rest assured, Ottawa has something to suit every taste. The city’s winter charm culminates in a truly captivating and unforgettable experience. So, when the gentle flakes of snow begin to fall upon the charming streets of Ottawa, I encourage you to embrace the opportunity to partake in these incredible activities and start to appreciate that Winter might be one of the best seasons in Ottawa!
You can learn more about the city of Ottawa by visiting its official website: https://ottawa.ca/en.