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16 Winter Family Fun Events and Activities Around Ottawa

February 1st, 2016 Posted in Lifestyle
The longer, colder days are making way for the change of the season! Winter is here! Just because the temperatures are dropping doesn’t mean that you and your family have to be stuck inside during winter. The Ottawa-Gatineau region has plenty of events and activities to get you to enjoy the coldest of seasons! Here is of a list of things you can plan to do this winter!


Photo credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism via / CC BY-ND

Photo credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism via / CC BY-ND


1. Lansdowne Park Skating Court – now until March 16th, 2016 from 6 am-11 pm

Get the family outside for a fun day on the rink for the inaugural season of skating at Lansdowne Park! There are heated changing facilities open from 8 am – 11 pm. This is a free activity, weather permitting. Click on the link for more information.

2. Rideau Canal Skateway – Jan 9-Mar 9, 2015 weather permitting

Take in the world’s largest ice rink with your family and plan a day along the Rideau Canal Skateway! 7.8 kms of this famous waterway becomes a playground of ice for locals and visitors alike! There are four heated change rooms along the skateway, as well as skate and other rental facilities, food and beverages and washrooms to make skating a fun experience. Free

3. RBC Free Public Skating Weekends – Now until March 26, 2016

All public skating sessions that take place on Saturday and Sunday are free, sponsored by RBC Royal Bank. This excludes Family, Adult and 50 + skating. You can check when specific public skating times take place here.

4. Patinoire du ruisseau de la Brasserie (Skateway Brewery Creek) – January to March, 2016 from 7 am -10 pm

Located in downtown Gatineau, visitors can have fun skating outdoors. Skate rentals, washrooms and other amenities are available. Hot chocolate is even on hand during some weekends on the Water Tower located at 170 Montcalm Street.

5. Tobogganing/Sledding Hills – Throughout Ottawa

The City of Ottawa offers many sites to take your family to have a great day flying down their hills. Check out the hills available for revellers to use during the winter and have a great time!

Photo credit: Nate Merrill via / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Nate Merrill via / CC BY-SA


Outdoor Festivals

The region becomes a playground with the festivals happening throughout the season! Make plans to revel in the festivities!

6. Rideau Hall Winter Family Activities

The residence of the Governor-General always has something for visitors to do and see during the winter to get people active, having fun and spending time together as a family. The traditional Rideau Hall Skating Rink will be open for public skating times on Saturdays and Sundays from January 5th -March 13th from noon – 5 pm (weather permitting). Families can also take part in the Winter Celebration on January 16th from 12:30 pm – 4 pm, where visitors experience Nordic sports and traditions. Finally, families can attend the Ontario Family Day Activities taking place on February 15th from noon – 5 pm, where the skating rink will be open from noon until 5 pm (weather permitting), and guided tours of the residence will be available at 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm. No reservation is required.

7. Winterlude – Various locations in the Ottawa-Gatineau region – Jan 29-Feb 15 2016 Various Locations

Once of Canada’s favourite celebrations will be back to entertain and enlighten revelers in its 38th season! From skating on the Rideau Canal, watching ice sculpting competitions or playing at North America’s largest playground, there are so many different activities those attending this festival can be a part of in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.

8. Lansdowne Park Snowscapes: Community Snow Sculpture Contest – January 30-February 5, 2016, from 8am – 11 pm

Groups from all over the Ottawa will showcase their skill and community spirit to compete for a cash prize by creating the best snow sculpture. The snow garden will be available every day to visitors until the end of Winterlude on February 15, 2016.

9. Chill Factor in Downtown Rideau – Various Locations in Downtown Ottawa January 29- February 20, 2016

This festival celebrates a “cool” collection of art, theatre, dance, film, cuisine and family events throughout Ottawa’s Arts, Fashion and Theatre District! There will be live music, theatre, comedy, visual art, film, and so much more!

10. Ottawa Irish Festival – Throughout the National Capital Region, March 4-17, 2016

The Ottawa Irish Festival aims to promote the Irish/Irish –Canadian culture and heritage, and to strengthen and support the Irish/Irish –Canadian community in the National Capital Region. There will be many events happening throughout this festival, including a proclamation of the Ottawa Irish Festival 2016 at Ottawa City Hall, live Celtic music and breakfast, a ghost walk of Thomas D’Arcy McGee’s final steps, a mass to celebrate St. Patrick, a St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Irish Party!

11. Maple Sugar Festival – Richelieu Park, March 26- April 3

This festival celebrates the tradition of maple sugar season that was started here in the region by the White Fathers who made syrup for their religious community. Since 2012, The Vanier Museopark has been in charge of the sugar shack. They hold a festival each year that includes dinners, food contests, storytelling, breakfasts, tours of the facilities and so much more! You family can have a great learning experience and have fun while attending this event!

12. Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park has so much to offer its visitors during the winter! There are activities for families who like to explore nature at different speeds to enjoy themselves. For families that have a need for speed, Gatineau Park offers activities such as cross-country skiing, and snow biking as a pilot project this winter. For those who enjoy nature at a slower pace, there are also winter hiking trails available to discover! There are also many amenities for visitors to use while visiting the park to make their visit more comfortable and one to remember!

13. Lac-Beauchamp Parc – Throughout the Season (except for select dates during the holidays, weather permitting) from 7 am-11 pm

Lac-Beauchamp Parc also offers families outdoor activities to enjoy during the winter.
The outdoors is within reach! Activities such as cross-country skiing, hiking, skating and snowshoeing are available for visitors to do and enjoy!

14. Museum Fun

Want to get out of the house, but want to stay warm this winter? The museums around the region have exhibitions and demonstrations for visitors to enjoy while staying out of the cold!

15. TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Fest National Arts Centre Fourth Stage – Feb 4-7 2016

In 2010 the Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary of consecutive programming, boasting the largest loyal audience of its kind in eastern Ontario. The Ottawa International Jazz Festival is the premier music event to take place in downtown Ottawa and we are proud to be part of the continuing tradition of bringing jazz to the National Capital Region. Set on a bold path, trailblazing the most dynamic programming and innovations the Festival continues to present the finest musicians from across Canada and around the world in all genres and inspirations of Jazz.

16. Rag & Bone TheatreVarious performances and dates

Want to stay warm and take in a bit of culture the whole family will enjoy? The Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre is featuring four productions this winter for families to watch and enjoy! These performances range from adventures that have its characters in far off locales to stories that are closer to home. There is a tale for everyone in the family to be fascinated by!

Whether you are taking in a festival, a fun winter sport or one of the great museums, the Ottawa region has so many events and activities for families to do and explore! All you have to do is make a plan to be a part of all of the action this winter, and to make some memories with your family!

Photo Credit: Tony Fischer Photography via / CC BY

Photo Credit: Tony Fischer Photography via / CC BY


What kind of activities and events does your family like to take part in during the winter?


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