Winterlude 2013 – Hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoyed Canadian winter traditions Canada’s Capital Region.

The 35th edition of Winterlude, the Capital’s winter celebration, wrapped up today, and organizers at the National Capital Commission (NCC) report that Winterlude 2013, which ran from February 1 to 18, 2013, was a great success and attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to Canada’s Capital Region.

“The 35th edition of Winterlude demonstrated the sustainability of our new business model, building on existing partnerships, and forging new ones. In 2013, a record number of programming partners joined the Winterlude family to celebrate our Canadian winter traditions throughout the Capital,” said Guy Laflamme, Senior Vice-President, Capital Experience and Official Residences at the NCC. “The iconic Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest outdoor skating rink, was open in its entirety during Winterlude and offered visitors a spectacular skating experience in the heart of Canada’s Capital Region.”

The American Express Winterlude Opening at Marion Dewar Plaza on the grounds of Ottawa City Hall, Winterlude’s newest official site, proved to be a crowd pleaser and set the stage for outstanding visitor turnout during Winterlude. On average, Winterlude attracts 600,000 visitors to the Capital Region, of which 30% are from outside the region.

During Winterlude 2013, the NCC marked the 100th anniversary of the first Arctic expedition, the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s passage in this region, the 300th anniversary of Louisbourg, the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice and the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations with South Korea.

The NCC is proud of the success of Winterlude and its events that were part of the 43rd season of the Rideau Canal Skateway, and wishes to acknowledge the cooperation and dedication of its more than 700 volunteers.

The NCC also wishes to acknowledge the significant contribution of American Express®, City of Ottawa, Ville de Gatineau, OLG – Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Enbridge Gas Distribution, Giant Tiger, Pizza Pizza, Nabob Coffee, Rideau Centre, Pepsi, Westin Ottawa, Fairmont Château Laurier, Lord Elgin and many others, including strong support by the hospitality industry. Special thanks to the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport for its contribution to the Winterlude marketing campaign and for the Celebrate Ontario funding that supported the activities at Marion Dewar Plaza.

The 36th edition of Winterlude will take place from January 31 to February 17, 2014.

HIGHLIGHTS OF WINTERLUDE 2013 Programming partners:

  • Ottawa’s newest annual craft beer festival, WinterBrewed on Sparks St, the 35th annual Gatineau Loppet in Gatineau Park and the 5th Annual Winterman Marathon, which registered a record number of participants (over 1500), were part of Winterlude’s success stories.
  • Cool Science Saturday, spearheaded by the Canada Science and Technology Museum, attracted 20 new partners from the scientific world that added diversity to the overall program offer, close to 1800 visitors attended the event.
  • Cracking-Up the Capital expanded into a four-day comedy festival that featured Canadian comedians from a variety of genres, including women, youth, Aboriginal and Ottawa’s own.
  • The spectacular Northwest Territories family-friendly and interactive pavilion at the Ottawa Convention Centre attracted more than 8000 visitors, and added a unique dimension to the Winterlude offering during the first weekend.
  • Culinary events were also crowd favourites in 2013. The American Express Winterlude Food and Fashion evening featuring Chef Marc Lépine and Toronto designer Lucian Matis greeted more than 400 foodies at the Ottawa Convention Centre. Other sold out culinary events included Red Apron’s Winterlude brunch, Burnt Butter Italian Kitchen’s Tuscan Winter evening and an evening by the fireside wine and cheese event at the Clos Baillie Vineyard.
  • In Gatineau, a series of concerts organized by the Ville de Gatineau and La Maison de la Culture de Gatineau, including an encore presentation of the Orchestre Symphonique de Gatineau tribute to Claude Léveillée, were well-attended events.
  • In Ottawa, a series of concerts were presented at Centrepointe Theatre and Shenkman Arts Centre, including a sold-out performance by Daniel Lavoie.
  • Among the new partnerships, four new Business Improvement Areas (BIA), Wellington West, Glebe, Somerset Street Chinatown and Sparks Street joined the Winterlude family in addition to the ByWard Market, Downtown Rideau and the Heart of Orleans.

Official sites
At Winterlude’s newest site, Marion Dewar Plaza at Ottawa City Hall, visitors experienced the multi-sensory show IgNight! featuring musical performances, aerial dancers, interactive projections, public art illumination displays and outdoor DJ dances every Friday and Saturday of Winterlude. As well, festival-goers enjoyed figure skating performances, and were able to skate on the Rink of Dreams.

At Winterlude’s Snowflake Kingdom at Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau, families had the opportunity to experience a fun-filled adventure as they entered the biggest snow playground on the continent co-produced by the NCC and Ville de Gatineau. The new tube slide “The Chinook” and the Xtreme zone with its new zipline were real crowd favorites.

Thanks to Parks Canada, visitors went through a journey back to the 1700’s to learn more about the lifestyle of residents of the French colony of Île Royale (Cape Breton Island) and the founding of the town of Louisbourg, 300 years ago. The 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s passage through the region, as well as the support from the Algonquin people was also highlighted at Snowflake Kingdom. During Winterlude’s second weekend, a delegation of Yukon performing artists and snow sculptors delighted festival-goers.

Crystal Garden at Confederation Park gave visitors an extraordinary look into the magic of ice sculpting as 13 teams of professional ice-carvers from around the world participated in the 26th International Ice-Carving Competition.

Other majestic ice sculptures were created during Winterlude to feature the World Wildlife Fund Ice Bear and the Mighty Muskox from the Northwest Territories and to highlight the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice.

The year 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations with South Korea and to demonstrate the true spirit of this international friendship, the NCC worked closely with the Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival in Jinju in South Korea, to create a spectacular 35 m (115 ft) long tunnel, comprised of over 1,300 lanterns in Confederation Park. In addition to strolling through the tunnel, Winterlude-goers could also admire other free-standing large lanterns shaped in whimsical forms.

Confederation Park was also the theatre for IllumiNation, a new public art exhibit that featured light art from seven Canadian artists, storytelling in an authentic Norwegian lavvu and a stunning and powerful exhibit of Arctic images presented by the Canadian Museum of Nature as part of the 100th anniversary of the first Canadian expedition in the Artic.

The Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest skating rink, hosted an Alumni shinny hockey showdown between the Ottawa Senators Alumni and Team Canada Women’s Alumni and the “Imjin Classic”, a unique hockey game to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice which featured a team of parliamentarians and Canadian military.

Other popular events included the 33rd Annual Accora Bed Race, the 30th Annual Winterlude Triathlon and the 5th Annual Beaver Pond Hockey Cup.

Winterblast, the first-ever Winterlude youth inspired weekend of festivities organized for and by young people from Canada’s Capital Region was a big success. Highlights of the weekend included a DJ battle, graffiti workshops, outdoor dancing and sliding under the stars at Snowflake Kingdom in Gatineau. In addition, a showcase of heartwarming short films created by youth and the travelling photo exhibit “Defining Moments” featuring the work of 26 young people from across Canada were also well attended events.

For more information about the NCC, call 613-239-5000, 613-239-5090 (TTY) 1-800 465-1867 or 1-866-661-3530 (TTY) or visit the