Jan 28, 2020 | Festival News Previews and reviews
Ski, snowshoe or sled your way over to the grounds of Rideau Hall for this year’s Winter Celebration taking place on February 1, 2020, from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. This event is a chance to discover winter traditions from around the world, with over 25 free activities, performances, pop-up museums and food samples.
While you’re there, take advantage of Canada’s oldest outdoor skating rink, or try your hand at snowshoeing, curling, cross-country skiing, kick sledding, snowman building and more. You and your family will also get the chance to learn about outdoor winter survival techniques, partake in science experiments, learn a traditional Métis jig and go through a military-style obstacle course.
Hungry? Get a taste of some traditional favourites, like Rideau Hall’s famous poor man’s pudding (pudding chômeur) and hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows, as well as other treats from countries like Switzerland, Hungary, Turkey, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Finland, Norway, South Korea, Austria and Iceland.
All activities are free, but visitors are encouraged to pay it forward by bringing non-perishable food items for the Ottawa Food Bank or articles of winter clothing for the Snowsuit Fund.
As in previous years, visitors are encouraged to walk or use public transportation or taxis to get to Rideau Hall (1 Sussex Drive). A free OC Transpo shuttle bus will run from Metcalfe Street (between Sparks and Queen streets) to Rideau Hall every 30 minutes between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m., with the last bus departing Rideau Hall at 4:30 p.m.
Presented in partnership with Winterlude and the National Capital Commission, Winter Celebration should not be missed! For more information visit gg.ca/wintercelebration.
- 1972 Summit Series Shootout Challenge: Score the series-winning goal for Team Canada and check out Cold War artifacts from the Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum.
- Curling: Learn the ins and outs of this historic sport. Presented by the Ottawa Valley Curling Association.
- Eisstock: Try this winter sport that is similar to curling. It is a traditional sport played in the Alpine countries. Presented by the Embassy of Austria.
- Fit Break: Join our on-site instructor for dancing and aerobics to get your heart pumping! Presented by ParticipACTION.
- Kicksledding: Try out this traditional means of Nordic transportation, which features a chair-mounted sled. Presented by the Embassy of Finland.
- Meet Team Canada Olympians and Paralympians: Meet great athletes and enjoy sports demonstrations. Presented by the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees.
- Métis Jigging Performance and Workshop: Celebrate the unique history and culture of the Métis people with jigging. Its intricate footwork combines First Nations and highland dance, and is accompanied by the instruments and form of European music.
- Musical Performances: Enjoy the sounds of local bilingual band Highway Sunrise.
- Mystery Object Table: Discover a medley of interesting props and artifacts from the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum.
- Norway Giant Ski: Strap on a pair of giant skis that hold eight people at one time and attempt to ski in unison, without falling over or stopping. Presented by the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
- Nunavut Traditions: Students from Nunavut Sivuniksavut will share their Inuit culture and language through drumming, dancing, throat singing and winter activities.
- Obstacle Course and Winter Camp: Learn about how a military camp is set up for winter, and take part in military-style training exercises through a fun obstacle course. Presented by the Governor General’s Foot Guards.
- Paengi-chigi: A Korean variation of spin top, where spin tops are wound up with string and then let go. Try to keep the top from falling over by hitting it with a thin leather strap.
- Perfect your Hosting Skills: Get tips from the Governor General’s hospitality experts on hosting guests at your next special occasion.
- S’mores: Warm up by the fire pit and enjoy a sweet treat! Presented by YMCA/YWCA.
- Sjoelen: Test your skills at Dutch shuffleboard, a variation on the table-top game that combines elements of bagatelle, pinball, billiards, skee-ball and miniature golf. Presented by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
- Skating Rink: Bring your skates, lace up in the Winter Pavilion and skate on Rideau Hall’s refrigerated outdoor skating rink.
- Snowman Building: Decorate your very own snowman with top hats, buttons and carrots.
- Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing: Explore the grounds of Rideau Hall on a snowshoeing and cross-country ski trail. Snowshoes and skis will be provided.
- Survive Outside: Learn how to safely plan and prepare for winter outdoor activities. Presented by Ottawa Volunteer Search and Rescue.
- Touch a Truck: Get a close-up look at a variety of winter vehicles used on the grounds of Rideau Hall. Presented by the National Capital Commission (NCC).
- Tours of the Residence: Visit the State rooms where the governor general fulfills official duties, welcomes dignitaries and honours Canadians.
- Wagon Rides: Climb aboard a horse-drawn wagon for an old-fashioned ride through the grounds.
- Warm Hugs: Winterlude’s official mascots, the Ice Hog family—Papa, Mama, Noumi and Nouma—will be strolling the grounds to offer warm hugs to children and adults alike.
- Winter Art Activity: Kids and adults alike can get creative using watercolour pencils and construction paper to make winter art master pieces with help from instructors of the Ottawa School of Art.
- Winter Camping: Discover a real winter camp with tents, shelters and outdoor cooking. Presented by Scouts Canada and the Association des Scouts du Canada.
- Winter Science Blast: Take part in one of our amazing, hands-on experiments: play music with a touchless laser harp, buzz your way through a Maple Leaf game, and take a spin on a gyroscope platform. Presented by the Canada Science and Technology Museum.
- World of Symbols: Let the heralds of the Canadian Heraldic Authority guide you through the wonderful universe of coats of arms, flags and badges. Who knows, perhaps you might be inspired to apply for a grant of emblems for yourself or your family?
Access to Site and Parking
A free OC Transpo shuttle bus will run from Metcalfe Street (between Sparks and Queen streets) to Rideau Hall every 30 minutes between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m, with the last bus departing Rideau Hall at 4:30 p.m.
Visitors are encouraged to walk or use public transportation or taxis to get to Rideau Hall. Limited free parking will be available on the streets in the surrounding neighbourhood. For guests with restricted mobility, limited parking spaces will be available on the Rideau Hall grounds via the Princess Gate. For more information, visit gg.ca/RideauHall or contact us at 1‑866‑842‑4422 (toll-free), 613‑991-4422 or at [email protected].