Winterlude begins

Ottawa is among the coldest capital cities in the world and we’re going to celebrate that.

The 41st annual Winterlude Festival begins Friday.

This year’s edition runs Feb. 1 to 18.

Event locations include Gatineau’s Jacques-Cartier Park, the Rideau Canal, the ByWard Market, Sparks Street, Downtown Rideau, the Glebe and more.

Mélanie Brault, with the Ministry of Canadian Heritage, tells CTV News there’s something for everyone.

“Jacques-Cartier Park is really a destination that’s really centered around families. There are lots of slides, lots of entertainment for kids, but also kids at heart,” she says. “But also there’s lots of other activities at our other destinations, like the ByWard Market, where we’re going to have our 32nd annual international ice carving competition.”

You can see a full calendar of events here.

The Ministry of Canadian Heritage says this year’s festival, in addition to the iconic annual winter activities and highlights, will showcase indigenous culture on the 1st weekend and LGBTQ2+ culture, history and pride on the 2nd weekend.

There will be road closures on the weekends and Friday evenings to accommodate various events:

  • York Street West between Byward Market Square and Sussex Drive
    • Friday, February 1, 8 and 15 between 6 pm and 10:30 pm
    • Saturday, February 2, 9 and 16 between 10 am  and 8 pm
    • Sunday, February 3, 10 and 17 between 10 am and 6 pm
    • Monday, February 18 between 10 am and 6 pm
  • York Street between William Street and Dalhousie Street
    • Friday, February 1 and 15 between 6 pm to 11 pm
    • Saturday, February 2 between 6 pm and 11 pm 
    • Saturday, February 16 between 9:30 am and 11 pm
  • O’Connor Street between Wellington Street and Queen Street
    • Friday February 8 between 10 pm and 11 pm
    • Saturday, February 9 between 10 pm and 11 pm
  • Vimy Place between Booth Street and Wellington Street
    • Sunday, February 17 between 7:45 am and 8:45 am
  • Westbound lanes of Sir John A Macdonald Parkway
    • Sunday, February 17 between 6 am and 2:30 pm
  • Queen Elizabeth Driveway between Preston Street and Somerset Street
    • Saturday, February 2, 9 and 16 between 9:30 am to 8:30 pm
    • Sunday, February 3, 10 ,17 between 9:30 am and 6 pm
    • Monday, February 18 between 9:30 am and 3:30 pm

Queen Elizabeth Driveway will remain open at the following locations to accommodate local traffic during the Winterlude festival.

  • Queen Elizabeth Driveway between McLeod Street and Catherine Street
  • Queen Elizabeth Driveway between Pretoria Bridge and McLeod Street

Additional traffic congestion and parking restrictions will be in effect in the Byward Market during the Winterlude festival. Parking restrictions during Winterlude weekends are the following:

  • North and South of the York Street median between Sussex Drive and ByWard Market Square (Thursday, January 31 to Tuesday, February 19)
  • York Street, South side, between Williams Street and Dalhousie Street
  • York Street, North side, West of Dalhousie Street
  • ByWard Market Square, West side, South of York Street