1. The Rideau Canal Skateway
Designated the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink (7.8 kilometres) by Guinness World Records, the Rideau Canal Skateway is a must-do for every travel bug. This year, the Skateway is celebrating its 50th anniversary! For the most quintessentially Canadian experience, stop for a BeaverTail and a hot chocolate at one the many kiosks along the skateway.
A celebration of all things winter, Winterlude is a free, annual event that takes place over three weekends (January 31 to February 17) in the snowy Ottawa-Gatineau region. Jacques Cartier Park turns into Snowflake Kingdom, a giant winter playground full of tube sliding and zip lining. Sparks Street is the new home to three ice carving competitions — the Winterlude International Ice Carving Challenge, the Winterlude Battle of America’s Ice Carving Challenge and the Canadian Ice Carvers Society Championship — as well as the site of the Winterlude kick-off party and live performances. The first festival of its kind, Winter Pride will also be taking place again this year, celebrating the LGBTQ2+ community.
3. Outdoor Skating Rinks and Forest Trails
Ottawa has embraced the joy of ice skating. In addition to the Rideau Canal Skateway, there are a number of well-curated rinks throughout the city, including the Sens Rink of Dreams, the Lansdowne Skating Court, Rideau Hall (the home of the Governor General) and even a few skating trails through the forest.
4. Cross-Country Skiing, Snowshoeing and Hiking
Ottawa is a winter wonderland for those who love to get out and embrace the great outdoors. Cross-country trails are groomed and maintained throughout the heart of the city, along the Ottawa River, and in the Greenbelt area encircling Ottawa. Or just 15 minutes from downtown lies Gatineau Park, a mecca for cross-country (over 200 km of trails), snowshoeing (with reserved trails) and hiking (for a walk through a snow-covered forest).
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