21 Winter Family Fun Events and Activities Around Ottawa

| January 11, 2017 | 13 Comments

The longer, colder days are making way for the change of the season! Winter is here! Just because the temperatures are dropping doesn’t mean that you and your family have to be stuck inside during winter. The Ottawa-Gatineau region has plenty of events and activities to get you to enjoy the coldest of seasons! Here is of a list of things you can plan to do this winter!

21 Winter Family Fun Events and Activities




Photo credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism via Foter.com / CC BY-ND


1. Rideau Canal Skateway – Late December 2016 – Late February 2017
Take in the world’s largest ice rink with your family and plan a day along the Rideau Canal Skateway! 7.8 km of this famous waterway becomes a playground of ice for locals and visitors alike! There are four heated change rooms along the Skateway, as well as skate and other rental facilities, food and beverages and washrooms to make skating a fun experience. Free

2. Lansdowne Park Skating Court – now until March 16, 2017 from 6 am-11 pm
Get the family outside for a fun day on the rink for the inaugural season of skating at Lansdowne Park! There are heated changing facilities open from 8 am – 11 pm. This is a free activity, weather permitting. Click on the link for more information.

3.  Senators’ Rink of Dreams, Ottawa City Hall – November 2016 – March 2017 from 6 am – 11 pm

In the downtown area of Ottawa and want to go for a bit of a skate? The Senator’s Rink of Dreams is open this winter for skaters to have a good time! It is a refrigerated outdoor rink equipped with LED lights, a heated changing hut to keep skaters warm while they change (these facilities are available from 8 am – 11 pm) and picnic tables and benches to enjoy a snack or to get a rest from the fun! Visitors are also able to rent or sharpen skates on the following days and times:

  • Friday from 4 pm- 9 pm
  • Saturday from Noon – 9 pm
  • Sunday from Noon – 6 pm.

4. Patinoire du ruisseau de la Brasserie (Skateway Brewery Creek) – January to March 2017 from 7 am -10 pm
Located in downtown Gatineau, visitors can have fun skating outdoors. Skate rentals, washrooms, and other amenities are available. Hot chocolate is even on hand during some weekends on the Water Tower located at 170 Montcalm Street.

Hills, Hills and More Hills!



Photo credit: Nate Merrill via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

5. Tobogganing/Sledding Hills – Throughout Ottawa
The City of Ottawa offers many sites to take your family to have a great day flying down their hills. Check out the hills available for revelers to use during the winter and have a great time!

Outdoor Festivals

The region becomes a playground with the festivals happening throughout the season! Make plans to revel in the festivities!

6.  Kanata Nordic Snow Day – Wesley Clovers Park Campground, January 22, 2017, from 6 am – 9 pm

Who loves snow play? Well bundle up and be a part of all of the fun of the Kanata Nordic Snow Day! Visitors can have a free day of nordic fun, from cross-country, snowshoeing, skijoring, and fun ski antics visitors big an dsmall will love!

7.  Rideau Hall Winter Family Activities
The residence of the Governor-General always has something for visitors to do and see during the winter to get people active, having fun and spending time together as a family. The traditional Rideau Hall Skating Rink will be open for public skating times on Saturdays and Sundays from January 28 -March 26, 2017, from noon – 5 pm (weather permitting). Families can also take part in the Winter Celebration on January 28 from 12:30 pm – 4 pm, where visitors experience Nordic sports and traditions. Guided tours of the residence will also be available at 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm. No reservation is required.

8. Winter Night Market Ottawa: Lunar New Year Edition, Hilton at Casino Lac Leamy, January 20 -22, 2017

Ottawa Asian Fest and Casino Lac Leamy have partnered to bring the Winter Night Market – Lunar New Year Edition. This event wants to give Ottawa a truly unique taste and a memorable event to ring in The Year of the Rooster. Below are the hours for each night:

  •  January 20th – 5pm to 11pm
  •  January 21st – 12pm to 11pm
  • January 22nd – 12pm to 6pm

9.  Winterlude – Various locations in the Ottawa-Gatineau region – February 3 – 20, 2017, Various Locations
Once of Canada’s favourite celebrations will be back to entertain and enlighten revelers in its 39th season! From skating on the Rideau Canal, watching ice sculpting competitions or playing at North America’s largest playground, there are so many different activities those attending this festival can be a part of in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.

10. TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Fest – Various Locations – Feb 9-12 2017

In 2010 the Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary of consecutive programming, boasting the largest loyal audience of its kind in eastern Ontario. The Ottawa International Jazz Festival is the premier music event to take place in downtown Ottawa and we are proud to be part of the continuing tradition of bringing jazz to the National Capital Region. Set on a bold path, trailblazing the most dynamic programming and innovations the Festival continues to present the finest musicians from across Canada and around the world in all genres and inspirations of Jazz.

11. First Annual Ice Dragon Boat Festival, Dow’s Lake, February 17-18, 2017

Love watching the excitement of racing over the waves at the Dragon Boat Festival in the summer? Well, hold on to your toques, as boats will be taking to the frozen surface of Dow’s Lake to race to claim top spot at the first annual Ice Dragon Boat Festival! Ottawa will be making history as this will be the first ice dragon boat races being held in North America. This festival is part of the festivities of  Winterlude, as well as one fo the many events happening as part of the Canada 150 celebrations happening this year!

12. Red Bull Crashed Ice – Rideau Locks by the Chateau Laurier, March 3 – 4, 2017

For the first time, Ottawa will play host to the Ice Cross Downhill World Series Finale! Athletes from all over the world will travel to Canada’s capital to compete to capture the championship in this extreme sport.

13. Ottawa Irish Festival – Throughout the National Capital Region, March 9-18, 2017
The Ottawa Irish Festival aims to promote the Irish/Irish –Canadian culture and heritage, and to strengthen and support the Irish/Irish –Canadian community in the National Capital Region. There will be many events happening throughout this festival, including a proclamation of the Ottawa Irish Festival 2016 at Ottawa City Hall, live Celtic music and breakfast, a ghost walk of Thomas D’Arcy McGee’s final steps, a mass to celebrate St. Patrick, a St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Irish Party!

14. Maple Sugar Festival – Richelieu Park, March 29- April 3
This festival celebrates the tradition of maple sugar season that was started here in the region by the White Fathers who made syrup for their religious community. Since 2012, The Vanier Museopark has been in charge of the sugar shack. They hold a festival each year that includes dinners, food contests, storytelling, breakfasts, tours of the facilities and so much more! You family can have a great learning experience and have fun while attending this event!

15. Gatineau Park, Throughout the season

Gatineau Park has so much to offer its visitors during the winter! There are activities for families who like to explore nature at different speeds to enjoy themselves. For families that have a need for speed, Gatineau Park offers activities such as cross-country skiing, and snow biking as a pilot project this winter. For those who enjoy nature at a slower pace, there are also winter hiking trails available to discover! There are also many amenities for visitors to use while visiting the park to make their visit more comfortable and one to remember!

16. Lac-Beauchamp Parc – Throughout the Season (except for select dates during the holidays, weather permitting) from 7 am-11 pm
Lac-Beauchamp Parc also offers families outdoor activities to enjoy during the winter.
The outdoors is within reach! Activities such as cross-country skiing, hiking, skating and snowshoeing are available for visitors to do and enjoy!

Museum and Indoor Fun

Want to get out of the house, but want to stay warm this winter? The museums around the region have exhibitions and demonstrations for visitors to enjoy while staying out of the cold

17.  National Gallery of Canada

18.  Canadian Museum of History

19.   Canadian Museum of Nature

20.  Canada Agriculture and Food Museum

21. Rag & Bone TheatreVarious performances and dates

Want to stay warm and take in a bit of culture the whole family will enjoy? The Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre is featuring four productions this winter for families to watch and enjoy! These performances range from adventures that have its characters in far-off locales to stories that are closer to home. There is a tale for everyone in the family to be fascinated by! 

Whether you are taking in a festival, a fun winter sport or one of the great museums, the Ottawa region has so many events and activities for families to do and explore! All you have to do is make a plan to be a part of all of the action this winter, and to make some memories with your family!



Photo Credit: Tony Fischer Photography via Foter.com / CC BY

What kind of activities and events does your family like to take part in during the winter?




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Category: Attractions, Babies & Toddlers, Dads, Family, Grand-Parents, Kids, Moms, Ottawa & Surrounding Area, Ottawa Events, Stuff of Interest, Teens, Themes, Tips, Weekly Themes, Winter

About the Author ()

My name is Lian Wright. Born in Toronto, I came to Ottawa as a student to study Political Science at Carleton University, and came away with an Honours Degree, and decided to stay. I'm a huge sports fan, have a love of reading, and like experiencing new things whenever I can. I am now a mother of three children (11, 1 and 7 months old) and am kept constantly on my toes. My blog, Pieces of Me, is my way of sharing what I have enjoyed and encountered in my life so far as a mother. So far, being a mom has had it's expected ups and downs, but that's what makes being a parent so fulfilling for me. I've loved and learned from what's happened so far, and I can't wait to see what's in store for me next. I hope you enjoy the journey with me!

Comments (13)

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  1. EvelynG says:

    Thanks for reminding of all the things that we can do. It’s just too easy to stay inside and just keep warm!

  2. cbrazil says:

    There are some events on here that I didn’t know about – thanks for the info! 🙂

  3. kathy downey says:

    Oh it does sounds like lots of fun events

  4. Veronica S. says:

    We like to ski at Mount Pakenham!

  5. kathy downey says:

    My favorite winter activity in winter is sledding,i cant do it anymore but i use to love it!

  6. Amber B says:

    I hope to visit Ottawa sometime for these! My sister was in Ottawa for school and didn’t get around to doing too many things there so hopefully we can one day!

  7. kathy downey says:

    Its great for skating here after all the rain we had

  8. kathy downey says:

    Calling for 30cm of snow today it will make for a fun day tomorrow

  9. Cheryl says:

    Looks like a great list!! I would just love skating with the family! Wish I was closer 🙂

  10. Cbrazil says:

    We have become regulars at the Lansdowne park – with restaurants, underground parking, skating, and sliding to enjoy! We also love Mooney’s Bay hill for sliding – it’s free parking and there are ski rentals for cross country skiing available. They also sell coffee/hot chocolate to warm up after a day outside.

  11. Kamy says:

    Great list!

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