Department of Canadian Heritage

Department of Canadian Heritage

January 12, 2017 11:00 ET

Unveiling the Program for Winterlude 2017

The 150th anniversary of Confederation is at the heart of the winter celebration!

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 12, 2017) - Department of Canadian Heritage

Steven MacKinnon, Member of Parliament (Gatineau), on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, today unveiled the official program for Winterlude 2017. He was joined by Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa, and Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin, Mayor of Gatineau.

A wide range of activities-reflecting both the Capital Region and Canada as a whole-will be presented at three official sites. Snowflake Kingdom in Gatineau's Jacques-Cartier Park will let visitors experience Canadian landscapes through fun winter activities, such as zooming across the Park on a mega-zip line, sliding down super slides-including a new fifth slide named "Blizzard"-and finding their way out of a giant Canada 150 maze. The National Snow Sculpture Rendezvous is back by popular demand, and the public will be invited to vote for their favourite sculpture.

Crystal Garden in Ottawa's Confederation Park is where the stage is set for an exciting start to the festivities. Canadian performers Karim Ouellet and Coleman Hell will lead the Kick-Off Celebration, starting at 7 p.m. on February 3. An accompanying laser show will wow the crowd on this opening night. The Sub-Zero Concert Series, including a special Canada 150 Signature Concert on February 11, will liven up the park on Friday and Saturday evenings (plus Sunday, February 19) with a variety of talented Canadian entertainers. Visitors will be able to see ice carvers at work during the 30th Crystal Garden International Ice-Carving Competition, part of the inaugural Canada Cup of Ice Carving, and vote online for their favourite ice sculpture in the teams category.

The Rideau Canal Skateway will once again host some of Winterlude's classic activities, including the Winterlude Triathlon and the annual Bed Race. This year, the Canal will host the first ever ice dragon boat race in North America and the largest in the world. There will also be a wide range of activities presented by Winterlude partners at other venues around the region.


"It's with great excitement that Canada's Capital Region is getting ready to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors to this Canada 150 edition of Winterlude. This festival is a wonderful opportunity for Canadians to come together in the Capital Region and celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation through activities that showcase our country's nature, climate and culture."

- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage

"I invite everyone to take part in this truly Canadian experience! Come skate, slide and celebrate this important milestone for Canada, and be sure to say hello to the Ice Hog family!"

- Steven MacKinnon, Member of Parliament (Gatineau)

Quick Facts

  • Winterlude runs from February 3 to 20, with all sites open for Family Day in Ontario.
  • The theme for this 39th edition of Winterlude is "Celebrate Canada in Winter."
  • The 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge will be marked with a majestic 100-block ice sculpture.
  • The Sub-Zero Concert Series (Fridays and Saturdays, and Sunday, February 19) will feature Karim Ouellet, Trevor Guthrie, Alx Veliz, DJ DOMENO, Elisapie, David Serkoak, Sarah MacDougall, Annie Blanchard, Jean-François Breau, Maxime McGraw, Joannie Benoît, David Usher, Scott Helman, Alex Nevski and more.
  • Official sponsors for the event include CIBC, OLG, and Metro Ontario.
  • Visitors are encouraged to make their way to the Winterlude official sites with the free OLG Sno-bus service.

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The Canada 150 edition of Winterlude

February 3 to 20, 2017

Winterlude transforms Canada's Capital Region into the ideal destination to celebrate Canadian traditions in wintertime. Activities for everyone are taking place at the Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau, at the Crystal Garden in Confederation Park and on the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa, and at various partner sites across the region.

Crystal Garden in Confederation Park, Ottawa

"Dare to Dream" carved in ice!

Come admire dazzling masterpieces in this enchanted garden and witness a fusion of art, ice and light! Ice carvers from around the world turn blocks of ice into stunning works of art. At night, special lighting turns ice-carved masterpieces into a breathtaking and mystical sight. As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, renowned Canadian artists will energize Friday and Saturday evenings plus the Sunday before Family Day! Some of the highlights include:

  • the Winterlude Kick-off Celebration, featuring Karim Ouellet and Coleman Hell
  • the Sub-Zero Concert Series, including a special Canada 150 Signature Concert on February 11
  • the inaugural Canada Cup of Ice Carving, in partnership with Ice Magic in Lake Louise and the Ice on Whyte Festival in Edmonton
  • majestic ice sculptures representing the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the Canadian Museum of Nature, and the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome
  • special ice displays, presented by Parks Canada, TakingITGlobal and Canada C3, a project of Students on Ice Foundation
  • Inuit experiences with Nunavut Sivuniksavut and Nunavut's Inuit storyteller and author, Michael Kusugak

Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park, Gatineau

"Explore our Canadian Landscapes"-with the Ice Hog Family!

Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park, co-produced by Canadian Heritage and the Ville de Gatineau, is a huge winter playground and the home-away-from-home of Winterlude's furry mascots, the Ice Hog family. Outfitted with larger-than-life snow slides and magnificent snow sculptures, Snowflake Kingdom provides enjoyment for the young and young at heart. A few of the highlights are:

  • 2017 National Snow Sculpture Rendezvous
  • Canada 150 Maze
  • Super Slides: snow and tube slides
  • Aboriginal Village
  • dogsledding, zip lining and musical bikes
  • digital art projection on snow sculpture - MosaïCanada 150
  • Explore the unexpected, presented by Parks Canada

Rideau Canal Skateway

Celebrating 47 seasons of skating!

Set in a UNESCO world heritage site, the world's largest skating rink will host a variety of activities-so sharpen your blades for a unique Canadian outdoor winter experience! During Winterlude, the Rideau Canal Skateway will be centre stage for several events, including:

  • special performances at the OLG Sno-Bus Station
  • Hockey Day in Canada - Minor Hockey Shinny Hockey Game
  • Nokia Skating Lessons
  • the 1st Ice Dragon Boat Festival
  • the 34th Annual Winterlude Triathlon
  • the 37th Annual Accora Village Bed Race

The National Capital Commission is custodian of the Rideau Canal Skateway and steward of the official sites.


There's still time to be part of the biggest winter party of the year! The Department of Canadian Heritage invites Canadians to volunteer at Winterlude. Metro Ontario is proud to be the exclusive sponsor of the Volunteer Program.

Programming Partners

More partners, more diversity, more fun!

For the 39th Winterlude, close to 50 programming partners have come together to offer a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities, including:

  • CrackupComedy Festival
  • Gatineau Winter Beerfest
  • Winterman Marathon and Marathon Relays
  • ByWard Market's Annual Winterlude Stew Cook-Off
  • SNOWMANIA in the Glebe
  • The U.S.-Canada Relationship: 150 Years of Friendship & Cooperation
  • Techno Zap
  • Flying Snow
  • and much, much more, including a series of culinary experiences!

Canadian Heritage is proud to present Winterlude with the support of the following official sponsors and site partners: Ville de Gatineau, City of Ottawa, National Capital Commission, CIBC, OLG - Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Metro Ontario, Enbridge, Giant Tiger, Fairmont Château Laurier, The Westin Ottawa, Lord Elgin, Parks Canada, Delegation of the European Union to Canada, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa Art Gallery, Students on Ice Foundation, TakingITGlobal, Aboriginal Experiences, Motivate Canada, Historica Canada, Association des stations de ski du Québec, Société de transport de l'Outaouais, OC Transpo, and many others, including the region's hospitality industry. Special thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who contribute their time, talent and energy during the Capital's winter celebration.

Follow Winterlude on Twitter (#Winterlude), Facebook and Instagram.

Canadians can find out more about Winterlude at 1-844-878-8333 (toll free) or

Contact Information

  • Pierre-Olivier Herbert
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage

    Media Relations
    Canadian Heritage