Ottawa Winterlude – where a million people come to chill


Toronto, January 13, 2010 – It's a mid-winter post-holidaze festival. Ottawa is once again getting ready to launch Winterlude, a two week February celebration of the best the season has to offer.
The annual festival runs from February 5th to February 21st and presents a variety of amazing winter weather activities including, skating, skiing, dog sledding, an outdoor animated shorts film festival with a snow screen and even an outdoor musical concert featuring music performed on instruments made out of ice. And, don’t forget the food, indoors many restaurants have created an affordable Taste of Winterlude culinary program, while outside, ice hog grog and hot beaver tails (pastries) are mainstays.
Each year, over 1-million Canadian and international visitors experience the cold weather sights and sounds of dozen and dozens of Winterlude events (most of them free), including the largest skating rink in the world (the Rideau Canal), glittering ice sculptures, and "chill" late night events.
Ottawa’s Confederation Park has been renamed Rogers Crystal Gardens. For three days beginning February 5th the world’s best ice carvers will be in the Gardens competing in the “International Ice-Carving Competition”. Composer/percussionist Jesse Stewart will be at the Crystal Gardens performing Glacialis, a musical suite for instruments designed and built out of ice.
Speaking of ice, Rogers Crystal Gardens will also be home to the Crystal Lounge, a temporary structure filled with everything from tic-tac-toe games built out ice, from an ice lounge built out of? You guessed it, ice.
“ We have a number of new events this year,” says Jantine Van Kregten Director of Communications, Ottawa Tourism. “Here's one cool new project for Winterlude 2010, The Urban Cozy Project. It is being staged by Spin and Needles, Ottawa’s premiere creative night out. They're asking people to knit, crochet or otherwise produce "cozies" that can be wrapped around trees and bushes in Rogers Crystal Gardens.”
Trees in Jacques-Cartier Park (renamed the Sunlife Snowflake Kingdom) will be wrapped in cozies too! As well, on Saturdays and Sundays you can take a dog sled ride in the park. And after a quick Mush through the Snowflake Kingdom visitors can take in works of snow art! With the theme of “Winter Fun,” teams representing Canada’s provinces and territories will compete in the National Snow Sculpture Competition. The contest runs Tuesday, February 9, to Saturday, February 13th in Snowflake Kingdom.
Winterlude has many family friendly options during the winter. One favourite activity is skating on the Rideau Canal. On Saturdays and Sundays you can enroll everyone in skating classes on the Canal. Sign up for a free 45-minute learn-to-skate session provided by professional coaches.
On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting at 6:30pm, families can watch winter-inspired, short animated films on a giant snow screen in the Rogers Crystal Gardens. Taking a warm break is worth a lot of money! Inside, families can check out Wintermuse at the Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada.” Discover how money has affected the Olympic Games, and learn about the relationship between currency and sports.”
The National Capital Commission has created a webpage for Winterlude. Events listings, contests, videos and a Facebook link can be accessed at
Tourists wanting information, tickets and lodging reservations can visit, a powerful website operated by Ottawa Tourism and supported by the region’s growing tourism industry. There are three themed hotel packages built around the Winterlude festival. Visit their website for information on the 2-night Winterlude Family Getaway and the Winterlude Rendezvous for Two. Don’t overlook the Yummy Mummy Winterlude Getaway package designed in conjunction with Yummy Mummy TV host Erica Ehm (who will be bringing her family to Ottawa for Winterlude).
Ottawa Tourism provides destination marketing, strategic direction and leadership in cooperation with members and partners to service the travel media and attract visitors, tours and conventions to Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region. Its vision is to build recognition of Ottawa as an outstanding four-season tourism destination.
CUTLINE - Skating on the world's largest skating rink has begun again in Ottawa.


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