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WINTERLUDE Roundup: Best Bets during Winterlude’s opening weekend


Skating along the Rideau Canal Skateway is one of the most popular events during Winterlude.

Ottawa’s been in a deep freeze lately, but the next three weeks make it all worth it. February 1 to 18 marks the 35th anniversary of Winterlude, Ottawa’s celebration of frosty fun. From concerts, special exhibits, outdoor activities, and food and drink events, you’ll find something for everyone. We highlight just a few of the happenings taking place during opening weekend.

Friday, February 1
Opening ceremony! This year the kick-off is at the Marion Dewar Plaza outside City Hall. The free event will feature incredible aerial dancers, interactive projections, and pyrotechnic effects. Afterwards, A Tribe Called Red’s Electric Powwow will get you moving. DJs NDN, Bear Witness and Shub are the Ottawa locals who started the powwow step movement, combining electronica with traditional powwow vocals and drumming.

Sarah Slean plays at Centrepointe Theatre, on the first night of Winterlude.

Winterlude wouldn’t be Winterlude without ice-skating on the Rideau Canal. Every year the canal and Dows Lake are transformed into the world’s largest skating rink. Check out the Skateway’s website for ice conditions and directions to one of their three skate and sleigh rental centres, then head on over for skating, hot chocolate, and yummy treats.

If you want to enjoy the spirit of Winterlude without having to brave the elements, you’ll be pleased to know that Ontario’s own Sarah Slean has an opening-night concert at the Centrepointe Theatre. Her voice will give you chills.

Saturday, February 2
Get your body moving at Jacques-Cartier Park! Starting at 10 a.m. the Snowflake Stage will be bumping music so you can get your Zumba moves on.

After your morning workout, head to Confederation Park where the Ottawa Art Gallery will be on hand to help artists of all ages to take part in building ice sculptures and ice mosaics.

The Darcy’s perform at the Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival, part of the Winterlude festivities.

The Wee Trio, the John Escreet Trio, Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola Duo, Pawa Up First, and The Darcys arrive in town to perform at the Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival.

Sunday, February 3
Make sure you have enough energy for the day’s activities by dining at the Red Apron’s Winterlude Brunch. It’s lumberjack-themed, so wear your plaid, toques, and sport a moustache. Expect apple cinnamon waffles, tourtière, and maple-whisky baked beans. Mmm!



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