Family-Friendly Winter Events in Ottawa

| February 3, 2015 | 9 Comments

rideau-canal-skating (1)

On the bitterest of winter days in Ottawa, nothing beats snuggling up inside and spending quality time with the family. But for those itching to get outside, our great city has plenty of awesome family events and activities to enjoy this winter, like the following:



Ottawa residents are very lucky to be able to join in this world-renowned winter festival every year. Kids and parents alike will have an awesome time skating on the Rideau Canal, watching incredibly talented ice sculptors practice their art, and wrap up the whole day with some hot chocolate and a beavertail. Winterlude begins on January 30 and continues each weekend in February, so bundle up the family and enjoy Ottawa’s premiere winter event. Though you have to pay for treats, there is no admission cost.

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Family Day at the Farm

Kids in Ottawa get the day off school on Monday, February 16th in celebration of Family Day. The Canadian Museum of Agriculture at the Experimental Farm always has great family-friendly activities that are both fun and educational, and its Family Day programme is no exception. Your children can learn about farm life and even make “garbage soup” from vegetables – it’s tastier than it sounds. The activites are free with the price of admission.

Family Day Lego Bunker

If your kids are into history, espionage, or building lego (who isn’t?), then a visit to the Diefenbunker on Family Day is definitely in order. Free with the price of admission, your kids can build a custom bunker out of lego pieces. Once tired out, they can enjoy snowcones under the security and safety of their handiwork.

Rideau Hall/Sens Rink of Dreams

One of the best parts of Canadian winter is being able to skate on outdoor rinks. While you can have a blast skating or playing hockey on your local winter rink, Ottawa also has a few special rinks you should definitely visit. The historic rink at Rideau Hall, in operation every winter since 1872, is open to free public skating on weekend afternoons. Sens Rink of Dreams at City Hall is open for public skating on evenings and weekends. Come on Family Day for free hot chocolate.

Bob the Builder

March Break runs from March 16th-20th this year. There are plenty of activities to choose from, but with the special Bob the Builder exhibition wrapping up at the Canadian Museum of History shortly afterwards, it’s a great option for your younger children. Free with museum admission, your kids can go on a Tool Trek and learn about planning, construction, and working in a team as they help Bob and his Can-Do crew get the job done.


Arctic Food Fair

While the Museum of Nature’s Arctic Voices exhibit runs until May, the Arctic Food Fair is a March Break special. You and your family can learn about Canada’s Great White North while enjoying Arctic delicacies like bannock bread, Arctic berry tea, and muskox. If your kids aren’t as adventurous, reindeer-shaped cookies should hit the spot.

These are just some of the great affordable family-friendly activities happening in the Ottawa area this winter. Get out and enjoy our beautiful city!

Written by: UpFront Ottawa is your source for community news and local events. UpFront Ottawa is a daily digital magazine with a focus on news and topics relevant to the Ottawa community. Founded in 2014, Up Front Ottawa has a team of writers with different specialties: sports, food, families, entertainment, health & wellness, and more.

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Photo credits:

The rideau Canal picture: Howard Sandler/

Ice sculpture: Vlad G/

Arctic food: Jelly/

Horse: Alexia Khruscheva/


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Category: Babies & Toddlers, Dads, Family, Grand-Parents, Kids, Moms, Ottawa Events

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Comments (9)

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  1. Cheryl says:

    Beautiful pictures. I have never been to Ottawa and you make it look so inviting!! Maybe someday I will venture west 🙂

  2. EvelynG says:

    Thanks for the reminder on all the fun winter events. Some days are just too cold and it’s great to have something to go to and do!

  3. Brenda A says:

    As much as I can complain about the frigid weather that never seems to end, I am truly happy to live in such a beautiful city that offers so much in the winter! From skiing of all sorts to skating and sledding, we embrace it all (though I still grumble about the cold!).

  4. Veronica S. says:

    Wow, I can’t wait to try out the Arctic foods.

  5. Stephanie LaPlante says:

    Everything looks so beautiful over there!

  6. kathy downey says:

    Amazing photos,this much make for a wonderful time

  7. kathy downey says:

    I have never been to Ottawa but it looks beautiful

  8. Victoria Ess says:

    We took a winter vacation in Ottawa a few years ago and enjoyed many of the activities you listed. We are overdue for another one!

  9. kathy downey says:

    I really enjoyed your photos,beautiful shots

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