Top 5 Reasons to Visit Winterlude!

Tourists in the frozen Rideau Canal at ReStays Ottawa


Winterlude Ottawa is the perfect time to escape the city and get a taste of winter. Just a brief walk away from reStays, anyone who loves winter will feel right at home. With all the snow, ice sculptures and skating on the Rideau Canal, this festival won't disappoint! Here are our top 5 reasons why you should visit Winterlude.


1. Skating on the Rideau Canal

The Rideau Canal is one of the most popular places to visit during Winterlude. The canal is an essential part of Canadian history and an excellent skating place. The canal is about 30 kilometres long—about 15 miles—and has several pathways for snowmobiles or cross-country skis along its entire length. Skate rentals are available at most lock stations along this route if you don't have your pair!

The Rideau Canal was completed in 1832 to connect Ottawa with Kingston via a series of locks and channels on the Ottawa River. Today, it's used mainly for pleasure skating in the winter and boating during the warmer months. Many people, including hikers, cyclists, and skaters, use it as a recreational destination.

The Canal was partially opened this year on Sunday, January 21, and our concierge team can keep you updated on its weather-dependent status.


2. Sparks Street Festivities 

Immerse yourself in the enchanting winter festivities on Sparks Street during Winterlude right in reStays’ backyard. The Winterlude Ice-Carving Showcase, proudly presented by Tim Hortons, takes center stage as sculptures pay homage to the 25th Anniversary of Nunavut and Ojibwe Spirit Horse this year. Seize the opportunity to meet and greet these skilled artisans as they bring their creative vision to life. The cultural celebration continues with Indigenous Performances on Sparks, showcasing the best in Indigenous talent.  From captivating storytelling to artistic light shows and live music, each performance promises a rich and authentic experience. As you explore Sparks Street, don't miss the Winterlude edition of OLG Buskerfest, featuring the fun-filled extravaganza Winterlude-style. Expect a dynamic blend of entertainment, creating an atmosphere of joy and celebration. For those seeking interactive delights, Sparks Street boasts a myriad of public art installations adorned with captivating light displays and mesmerizing sounds. Winterlude on Sparks Street is not just an event; it's a journey into the heart of Ottawa's vibrant winter culture.  Learn more about Sparks Street's calendar of events here.


3. BeaverTails

You can only understand Canada once you've had a BeaverTail. The fried dough pastry is made with a sweet, sugary coating and topped with cinnamon sugar and other toppings. It's the perfect treat when you need something to warm your hands and belly on a cold winter day. You'll find this delicious snack at Winterlude, but it's also available in other areas across Ottawa and Gatineau!


4. The Snowflake Kingdom Ice Slide

The Snowflake Kingdom ice slide is an otherworldly experience. You're transported to a winter wonderland as you descend the giant ice slide, open to everyone with no age restrictions. The ice slide can be enjoyed by tobogganing or sliding on your own, and it's free!


5. The Byward Market

Located in one of the most beautiful parts of downtown Ottawa, this market has been a part of the city since 1826. This year, the market will surprise and delight with a public installation called “Drawn Together,” enabling drawers and doodlers of all kinds to come together and create a 32-foot-long masterpiece. The market area gives you access to live music, sleigh rides, ice sculptures, local shopping, and tasty eats. Consult the full calendar here


Celebrate the best of Winterlude with reStays! Just a short 5-minute walk from the festivities on the canal and right in the heart of Sparks Street’s action. Families and couples will rejoice with these fun-filled activities, so join in the adventure and embrace the joy of the season!


Updated Jan 25 2023