Winterlude First Weekend Highlights

Jan 28, 2014, 17:12 ET from Canadian Heritage

An invitation to explore, discover, and celebrate what unites us as Canadians

OTTAWA, Jan. 28, 2014 /CNW/ - Canada's Capital Region is ready to welcome residents and visitors to the 36th Winterlude, which will begin on Friday, January 31, 2014. Over three weekends, until February 17, Ottawa-Gatineau will be the ideal destination to discover Canadian winter traditions through numerous cultural, sport, culinary, scientific, and family activities.

Here is a snapshot of the activities taking place during the first weekend of Winterlude.

Winterlude's Great Winter Ball
Friday, January 31
Opening Act 7 p.m.; Opening Ceremony 7:30 p.m.; DJ Dance Party 8 p.m.
Confederation Park

The celebration officially kicks off on January 31 with an electrifying evening at the Crystal Garden's main stage in Confederation Park. Winterlude's Great Winter Ball features the Opening Ceremony, which will pay tribute to our Olympic and Paralympic athletes and highlight milestones in Canadian history such as the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences. There will be musical performances, pyrotechnics, the 27th Crystal Garden International Ice-Carving Competition, and the one-of-a-kind DJ Dance Party!

Participants are encouraged to ignite the night by creating their very own illuminated costume or by dressing up in their funkiest winter attire with a touch of light.

Crystal Garden in Confederation Park
"Memories" carved in ice

This weekend, there are plenty of chances to watch ice carvers from around the world create their crystalline masterpieces at Confederation Park. These include the One-Block Challenge on Friday, January 31 (8 a.m. to 10 a.m.) and the 27th Crystal Garden International Ice-Carving Competition, in which professional carvers from around the world put their talent to the test beginning Friday and throughout the weekend.

On opening weekend, visitors to the Crystal Garden will also have the opportunity to:

  • visit the public art exhibition "Winter Memories" and discover Canadian artists' interpretations of winter
  • watch Mexican carvers transform blocks of ice into a beautiful work of art to mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Mexico
  • explore the Arctic through a unique photo exhibit that features the work of scientists in Canada's Great North
  • meet the Kettle Boys for some "olde time" fun
  • discover the folk traditions of Prince Edward Island and Quebec at an outdoor kitchen party to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences
  • learn about ephemeral art and create their own sculpture, or take part in making an ice mosaic sculpture
  • experience Memories of Ice, an original work for the reactable, the cutting-edge digital music instrument
  • see the United Buddy Bears Ice Sculpture, highlighting the unity and friendship between Canada and Germany
  • journey through Canada's vast Arctic in the footsteps of a Norwegian explorer, documented in the stunning photo exhibit "New Land Expedition"
  • warm up with Cool Moves, featuring dance and acrobatic stunts
  • discover the Crystal Garden at night as it transforms into a massive snowy dance floor for the Sub-Zero DJ Nights

The Winterlude fun continues across the street at Ottawa City Hall all weekend with:

Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park, Gatineau
An adrenaline rush—with the Ice Hog Family!

Both the young and the young at heart will enjoy playing in this frosty paradise of giant snow slides, presented by Canadian Heritage and the Ville de Gatineau. The fun begins on Friday, January 31, at 10:30 a.m., when Mama and Papa Ice Hog, along with twins Noumi and Nouma, join the crowd for the official launch of the Snowflake Kingdom—North America's biggest snow playground!

On Winterlude's first weekend, visitors will also have the chance to:

  • visit the Aboriginal Village and interactive exhibit "Winter Camp Life," featuring a display of tools for survival in the wintertime and a winter game called "snowsnake"
  • celebrate the 50th anniversary of ringette in Canada and learn the basics of the sport
  • grasp an official torch from the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games and take a seat in a bobsleigh for a unique photo opportunity
  • join a bundles' race like a voyageur from the past in the Parks Canada Zone
  • live the adventure of the Aboriginal trappers, French-Canadian coureurs des bois, and European merchants of the fur-trade era at Maison Charron
  • see graffiti art at its best
  • test their physical fitness in the Canadian Forces Winter Obstacle Course
  • experience downhill skiing with qualified instructors
  • laugh and dance along with talented performers at the Snowflake Stage
  • try a kicksled, the outdoor activity that millions of Scandinavians love
  • build a snow lantern and when the sun sets, discover the park at night
  • visit the XTREME Zone, where they can try a zip line, bungee trampoline, pedal go-karts on snow, and a giant maze

The Rideau Canal Skateway
Celebrating 44 seasons of skating

Each winter, the Rideau Canal is transformed into a skating rink that was officially recognized as the world's largest by Guinness World Records™ in 2005. The Rideau Canal Skateway is centre stage for many activities during Winterlude. For opening weekend, the world-famous ice surface will host the 31st Annual Winterlude Triathlon and the 34th Annual Accora Village Bed Race, which takes place at Dows Lake on Saturday.

Visitors to the Skateway will also have the opportunity to test their skills at the Giant Tiger Interactive Hockey Zone, move their muscles at the Goodlife Fitness Zone, or warm up with hot apple cider and play the OLG Sno-Bus Snowball Toss game at the OLG Sno-Bus Station at Fifth Avenue.

Programming Partners
Truly making Winterlude the Capital Region's winter celebration

For the 36th Winterlude, more than 90 programming partners from Ottawa-Gatineau's private and public sectors have come together to offer visitors a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities aimed at bringing the Capital to life like never before. Here is just a sampling of what takes place on the first weekend of Winterlude:

Associated Links
Follow Winterlude on Twitter @Winterlude #Winterlude and on Facebook.

For more information about Winterlude, call 613-239-5000, 613-239-5090 (TTY), 1-800-465-1867 (toll free) or 1-866-661-3530 (toll free TTY), or visit

SOURCE Canadian Heritage