I'm a firm believer that the best way to get through winter is to make the most of it. And Winterlude is here with tons of reasons to get out and explore the 613!
To make it easy for ya, I've rounded up my top 6 Winterlude picks, from skating to ice sculptures, and even a burlesque show with my favourite drag queen of all time. Read on to see who she is!
1. Rideau Canal
Grab your skates and head to the Rideau Canal! At nearly 8km long it's the world's longest outdoor skating rink, stretching from the National Arts Centre in downtown Ottawa all the way to Dow's Lake.
Don't have a pair of skates? Loads of local consignment shops like St. Vincent de Paul and Goodwill sell them for cheap, cheap cheap -- I've seen them for as little as $3! Or you can rent a pair at three different points along the Canal: downtown at the start of the Canal, at Fifth Avenue in the Glebe, and at Dow's Lake at the end of the Canal.
2. National Arts Centre
Done on the canal? Warm up at the NAC! There are lots of comfy places to sit, oodles of public bathrooms, plugs to charge your phone, and delicious hot chocolate at Equator Coffee. Wanna take in a show? The Wedding Party is a hilarious play that's on til February 9. Hubby and I saw it and busted a gut! It tackles family politics and everything that can (and does) wrong at wedding receptions.
Have kiddos aged 5-12? Pop back on February 17-18 for the BIG BANG Festival, a journey through all kinds of weird sound machines and loads of other surprises. And lots of the activities are totally free! Perfect for Family Day.
3. Chateau Laurier
Here in Ottawa we're lucky to have our very own castle in the heart of the city: Fairmont Chateau Laurier. I have such a soft spot for this beautiful hotel, and it's the perfect place to stay during Winterlude: it's next to the Rideau Canal, the National Arts Centre, the Byward Market, and just a snowball's throw from Parliament Hill and Sparks Street.
Their Wildly Winterlude package starts at $279 and includes a beautiful Fairmont Room, Beavertails, and hot chocolate! And their afternoon tea at Zoe's is simply spectacular.
4, Ice Cabaret featuring Mado
Brand new at this year's Winterlude is a full weekend of LGBTQ2+ celebrations. From February 8 to 10, Sparks Street will be host the first-ever winter edition of Capital Pride, including an Ice Cabaret featuring the one and only Mado! If you've ever been to Chez Mado in Montreal, you know this is gonna be a treat. I saw Mado perform a 2-hour Madonna revue way back in 2006 and I've been a fan ever since. There's no one quite like her!
5. Subzero Electro DJ Nights
The first weekend of Winterlude kicked off with an outdoor dance party featuring DJ SHUB, and if you missed it, you'll have another chance February 15 and 16! Head to the Rideau Carleton Casino Stage (York at Dalhousie) for a night of electrifying music from Canadian DJs like TYR ONE and TDOT.
6. Winter Brewfest
The fifth annual Winter Brewfest at Lansdowne Park brings together some of my favourite local breweries like Dominion City and Beau's, along with other gems from farther afield like Prince Eddy's, Nickel Brook, and Muskoka Brewery. You'll also find several beers from Quebec, plus ciders, spirits, food by local chefs, and even beer yoga. February 15-16, ages 19+.
What's on your Winterlude to-do list this year? Beavertails? Ice sculptures? The first-ever winter Pride?
Leave me a comment, I'd love to know! Here’s to celebrating winter in the snowy 613.
This post is sponsored by Canadian Heritage but all opinions are mine all mine.