Ottawa is a pretty entertaining place to be in the winter. Even if you are not a fan of the cold and the snow, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Ottawa either as a resident or a tourist. Here are a few of the attractions in and around Ottawa that you can enjoy over the winter season!
For over 30 years, Ottawa has hosted a free winter festival in the downtown core, and in recent years has reached as far as Gatineau. This year from February 3-20, you can come and experience Winterlude and discover some new attractions that are guaranteed to impress. Go skating on the world’s longest skating rink, the Rideau Canal, and enjoy a beaver tail on route. There is an annual ice sculpting competition where talented sculptors come from all over the world to showcase their talent. Enjoy local cuisine and witness the first ever dragon boat race down the frozen Rideau Canal!
The Ottawa area has multiple ski hills depending on your location in the city and level of experience. Mount Pakenham is a great place to take the family skiing as it has plenty of beginner hills. You can find Mount Pakenham 45 minutes from downtown Ottawa. Camp Fortune is another excellent ski hill in the Ottawa area, located 25 minutes from downtown Ottawa in Gatineau. You will discover lots of beautiful nature trails and some tougher slopes at Camp Fortune. Calabogie Peaks Resort is also a favorite getaway spot for winter family fun. Enjoy renting a condo and make it a ski resort vacation. Calabogie is located a little farther than the others from downtown Ottawa with 1 hour and 10-minute commute, but it is worth the trip for a family fun winter vacation.
Ottawa has some excellent scenic winter trails which are free to enjoy. Take a walk down the Queen Elizabeth Parkway or Colonel By Drive and take in the sights of the Rideau Canal. Gatineau Park also hosts excellent hiking trails, although you would be wise to check in advance to see if they are open and safe for public hiking. For some beautiful authentic winter wildlife, checkout Jack Pine Trail in Ottawa’s west end. Bundle up and make a day of hiking through some of the beautiful trails Ottawa has to offer.
Tobogganing in the Dominion Arboretum
Take your children out (or embrace your inner child) and head to the Dominion Arboretum along the west side of Dow’s Lake on the Rideau Canal. Admission and parking is free, and there are slopes of every kind suitable for your kids or yourself. Plus, you can head over to the Ottawa City Woodshop where you can make your very own sled – the ultimate winter family day!
Don’t hibernate this winter! Get out and explore some of the beauty that Ottawa has to offer! Start new family traditions or continue old ones and make the most of this winter and this great city.