Backgrounder Article from  Canadian Heritage

The 38th Edition of Winterlude

January 29 to February 15, 2016

Winterlude transforms Canada’s Capital Region into the ideal destination to celebrate Canadian traditions in wintertime. Activities for everyone are taking place at the Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau, at the Crystal Garden in Confederation Park and on the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa, and at various partner sites across the region.

Crystal Garden in Confederation Park, Ottawa

“Discover Canada’s Flora and Fauna”

Witness a fusion of art and ice at the Crystal Garden and discover a world of memories. Located in Confederation Park, this spectacular display of ice sculptures will take your breath away. Come admire this icy world of wonder at night and discover a vibrant outdoor space filled with electrifying music from Canadian artists. Some of the highlights include:

  • the Winterlude Kick-off Celebration, featuring Canadian superstar Gregory Charles;
  • the Sub-Zero Concert Series featuring Canadian artists (Fridays and Saturdays);
  • the 29th Crystal Garden International Ice-Carving Competition;
  • majestic ice sculptures representing the 100th anniversary of the National Research Council Canada and the 40th anniversary of the opening of the European Union’s diplomatic mission in Ottawa and the EU–Canada Framework Agreement;
  • the public art exhibit *fLORA and fAUNA*
  • special ice displays, presented by the Canadian Museum of Nature and Parks Canada; and
  • opportunities to explore the rich culture and daily lives of Aboriginal peoples.

Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park, Gatineau

“Discover the Great Canadian North”—with the Ice Hog Family!

The Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park, presented by Canadian Heritage and the Ville de Gatineau, is the biggest snow playground on the continent and the home-away-from-home of Winterlude’s furry mascots, the Ice Hog family. Outfitted with larger-than-life snow slides and snow sculptures, the Snowflake Kingdom provides enjoyment for the young and the young at heart. A few of the highlights are:

  • Super Slides: snow and tube slides;
  • Inuit Circle with Nunavut Sivuniksavut;
  • the XTREME Zone with dogsledding, ziplining, ATVing for kids and a winter merry-go-round;
  • special lighting effects for an illuminated sliding experience;
  • family entertainment on the Snowflake Stage, with special performances by Shilvi and Atchoum;
  • the 175th anniversary of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Franklin Expedition, presented by Parks Canada;
  • Snowtime! 3D;
  • And more!

Rideau Canal Skateway

Celebrating 46 seasons of skating!

Set in a UNESCO world heritage site, the world’s largest skating rink will host a variety of activities—so sharpen your blades for a unique Canadian outdoor winter experience! During Winterlude, the Rideau Canal Skateway will be centre stage for several events, including:

  • CIBC Skate for the cure;
  • special performances at the OLG Sno-Bus Station;
  • the Giant Tiger Interactive Hockey Zone;
  • Library and Archives Canada presents “Let Them Howl: Images From 100 Years in the Women’s Rights Struggle”;
  • the 33rd Annual Winterlude Triathlon; and
  • the 36th Annual Accora Village Bed Race.

The National Capital Commission is custodian of the Rideau Canal Skateway and steward of the official sites.


There’s still time to be part of the biggest winter party of the year! The Department of Canadian Heritage invites you to volunteer at Winterlude. Metro Ontario is proud to be the exclusive sponsor of the Volunteer Program.

Programming Partners

More partners, more diversity, more fun!

For the 38th Winterlude, more than 50 programming partners have come together to offer a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities, including:

  • Lansdowne Park Snowscapes;
  • Cracking Up the Capital Comedy Festival;
  • Winter Fantasies on Brewery Creek;
  • Gatineau Winter Beerfest;
  • Winterman Marathon and Marathon Relays;
  • Northern Lights 2016 Business and Cultural Showcase;
  • Scavenger Hunt and more at Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum in Carp;
  • SNOWMANIA in the Glebe;
  • Cool Science Saturday;
  • TechnoSnow;
  • and much, much more, including a series of culinary experiences!

Canadian Heritage is proud to present Winterlude with the support of the following official sponsors and site partners: Ville de Gatineau, City of Ottawa, National Capital Commission, CIBC, OLG – Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Enbridge, Metro Ontario, Giant Tiger, Fairmont Château Laurier, The Westin Ottawa, Lord Elgin, National Research Council Canada, Parks Canada, Delegation of the European Union to Canada, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa Redblacks Cheerleading and Dance Team, TakingITGlobal, Aboriginal Experiences, Historica Canada, Snowtime! 3D, Association des stations de ski du Québec, Société de transport de l’Outaouais, OC Transpo, and many others, including the support of the region’s hospitality industry. Special thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who contribute their time, talent and energy during the Capital’s winter celebration.

Follow Winterlude on Twitter @Winterlude (#Winterlude), Facebook and Instagram.

To find out more about Winterlude, call 819-997-0055, 1-866-811-0055 (toll free) or 1-888-997-3123 (TTY toll free). You can also visit

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Hon. Mélanie Joly Canadian Heritage Arts, Music, Literature

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