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 23 family winter fun events and activities around Ottawa you can plan to do this winter!
This year, all guests who are eligible for a vaccine must be fully vaccinated* to attend festivals, events, and attractions in Ottawa. *This means having received your second dose of a Health Canada approved vaccine 14 days prior to attending the event. Also, you must show proof that you are fully vaccinated such as the Ontario enhanced vaccine certificate.
23 Family Winter Events and Activities in Ottawa
Skating in Ottawa
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.
Get the family outside for a fun day on Ottawa skating rinks or the inaugural season of skating at Lansdowne Park! This is a free activity, weather permitting. Click on the link for more information.
Have fun gliding across the historic rink at Rideau Hall with your family this winter! Listen to music as you enjoy our time on the ice. Storage for bags is located in their stunning heritage building next to the rink. There is also an exhibit that shares the history of winter sports played at Rideau Hall for visitors to peruse. Click on the link for more details and for group bookings. Skating is available by reservation only. To ensure physical distancing, there is a maximum of 25 visitors allowed per time slot.
Hills, Hills and More Hills!
4. 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 Ottawa hills available for revelers to use during the winter and have a great time!
Ottawa outdoor winter activities
The region becomes a playground with the festivals happening throughout the season! Make plans to revel in any of these Ottawa family events and festivities! The family can also take part in many outdoor activities like snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.
From January to March, rediscover Parc Oméga aboard a sled pulled by a pack of dogs through the forest roads. Parc Omega admission fees apply as well as $ 25 per adult and $ 15 per child. Available depending on weather conditions.
The Renards Blancs trail network located in L’Ange-Gardien gives you access to 15 km of mechanically maintained cross-country ski trails and 10 km of snowshoe trails. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced level, you will find a route to your liking!
Once of Canada’s favourite celebrations will be back to entertain and enlighten revelers! From skating on the Rideau Canal, watching ice sculpting competitions or playing at North America’s largest playground. There are so many fun and different activities for families attending Winterlude in the Ottawa-Gatineau region!
8. Ottawa Winter Jazz Fest – From the Vault
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 the Winter Jazz Fest 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.
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 Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival. This festival is part of the festivities of Winterlude. Free concerts and other activities will also be happening to keep the crowd moving!
In the heart of the Gatineau sector, the centre de plein air du Lac-Leamy is a splendid place where you can discover the wonders of nature and the outdoors.
11. Gatineau Park – Throughout the season
Gatineau Park is the National Capital Region’s conservation park. Please take note that there is a fee to access the cross-country ski, snowshoe and snow biking trails in Gatineau Park. You can purchase a daily pass, or save with a season pass.
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!
13. Fête Frissons – Shenkman Arts Centre – February 12, 2022 (Cancelled)
As the weather gets colder it means one thing, it’s time for our annual Fête Frissons event! This free Ottawa family event is open to all with performances, art making, workshops, storytelling, dancing and of course, outdoor fun in the snow.
Sugar Bushes in Ottawa
Want to satisfy your sweet tooth this winter? These sugar bushes below can help! They offer activities and events available for visitors to take part in to ensure a sweet trip. Have a look at each of them to see what is in store for you on your visit!
Want to get out of the house, but want to stay warm this winter? These Ottawa museums have exhibitions and demonstrations for visitors to enjoy while staying out of the cold.
23. The Diefenbunker
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!
Which Ottawa family activities do you like to take part during the winter? Comment below!