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10 Things to Love About Winter in Ottawa

10 Things to Love About Winter in Ottawa


By Adam Slight

We decided to hit up Ottawa via Twitter and Facebook and ask what we love about Winter in our nation’s capital. Sure, it may be the second coldest capital city in the world when the white stuff starts falling, but that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace it. Here are ten things that Ottawa loves about winter!

Skating on the Rideau Canal

@TaniaFrechette: Skating on the canal

@GreenAppleFresh: Skating on the canal

@FoodiePrints: Carb refuel after skating on the canal

@Ottawa_events: Skating on the canal – and eating beavertails along the way

@CHEOHospital: Skating on the canal – with a helmet!

@kobayashimisa: skating on the canal

WarrenC: I can skate downtown from my place

GinaD: Skating down rideau canal!

VictoriaH: Beavertails and hot chocolate breaks while skating down the canal!

An overwhelming number of responses indicated the Rideau Canal as a major winter draw in Ottawa. What is there not to like about having the world’s largest outdoor skating rink at our doorsteps. If you’re as enterprising as WarrenC, you can even turn the canal into your winter commuting route, bypassing snowy roads and icy sidewalks entirely!

Skating Anywhere Else

VergilD: Playing hockey at the outdoor rink.

@StuntManStu: New Rink of Dreams, City Hall

@NHL_SENS: How about skating on the Rink of Dreams, @sensfoundation

@OttawaMag: Local rinks

The Rideau Canal can really steal the spotlight from other skating opportunities in our city. The Rink of Dreams, for example, opened last year at City Hall by Mayor Jim Watson, City Council, and the Sens Foundation is a great alternative to the Rideau Canal. The city also opens a number of rinks in public parks once the temperature is right. Who knows, you may even have a rink of your own in your backyard if you have the space. Regardless, skating seems to be an Ottawa favourite and frankly, we’re not surprised!


Winter Cuisine

@Carleton_U: Beavertails

@Apartment613: Warming up with bowls of Pho in Chinatown

@Ottawa_Events: Skating on the Canal – and eating beavertails along the way

@FoodiePrints: Carb refuel after a skate on the canal: either classic cinnamon sugar Beavertails or poutine pizza from House of Georgie’s

@OttawaMag: Winterbites

@BrianClarke__: Beavertails, Farmboy Apple Cider

@latwistedchef: Hot Apple Cider at @ChezEdgar !!!

VictoriaH: Beavertails and hot chocolate breaks while skating down the canal!

Winter seems to get our mouths salivating, mainly for one local favourite: Beavertails. This sugary Castorian treat is part of many Ottawans’ childhoods and goes hand in hand with many winter activities in Ottawa, including skating on the canal, and Winterlude. Of course, there are many alternatives that are just as good, including poutine pizza, Farmboy Apple Cider, and as Apartment 613 suggests, a nice hot bowl of Pho in Chinatown. As long as the food is warm, we’ll have some please!



@TheBlueCactus: Nightime after a fresh dumping of snow in the #bywardmarket — Photo opps at every corner!

@BrianClarke__: OC buses in the ditch

@TheLaffOttawa: I love seeing the snow on all the Christmas trees on York Street! It’s a winter wonderland! #winterinOttawa

@WhereOttawa: Snow-capped everything!

@MayfairTheatre: That styrofoam sound the snow makes under your feet on really cold days. (Oh, and watching movies.)

@AlgonquinColleg: The snow makes everything in the Capital glisten even more!

SimonK: Frostbite!

I don’t think we always realize how lucky we are to have snow in the winter. When a fresh layer of two-foot powder hits the ground, it enhances the wintery mood and enables us to take part in activities that just aren’t available just anywhere. If these Twitter users are any indication, it also makes for a beautiful sight in our city.

Outdoor Festivals and Events

@Max_Keeping: Bell Capital Cup

@Winterlude: Easy one! What we love is taking place from February 1 to 18, 2013. Any Idea? #winterlude #Ottawa

@FoodiePrints: Winterlude!

@InTheGlebe: The Glebe Spree! Simply shop in the Glebe this holiday season for a chance to win a $10,000 shopping spree!

Ottawa truly embraces winter, and nothing proves it more than our winter events and festivals. Winterlude was quick to hint to the obvious answer to our question, reminding us of the great times we have in February at the famous outdoor winter celebration. At Winterlude we can celebrate winter with sliding, ice sculpture contests, frozen mazes, and performances of every kind. Meanwhile Max Keeping relishes the Bell Capital Cup, the “Holy Grail of Minor Hockey.” If you can’t wait for these events, you can also win a chance to win a $10 000 shopping spree in the Glebe just by doing your Christmas shopping there.

Ottawa’s Wintery Beauty

@TheLaffOttawa: I love seeing the snow on all the Christmas trees on York Street! It’s a winter wonderland! #winterinOttawa

@LifeOfPieOttawa: Holiday lights downtown and on the Hill!

@RoughChopOttawa: The beauty

@FoodiePrints: Christmas lights around Parliament Hill…

@RwB_Rad: the instant feeling of warmth that pours over you when you make it indoors after being outside for too long. #chillycity

@Kobayashimisa: Cheap (but romantic) date nights! Checking out Christmas Lights Across Canada

DeekL: Stunning winter photos

Ottawa really knows how to make Winter look good (until about late February when we’re drowning in slush and dirty snow!) With coloured lights strung across our historical downtown skyline complimented by glistening snow and crisp winter air, it’s difficult to not like Winter in the capital, even just a little bit. Don’t forget to miss the Byward Market, which is beautiful at any time of the year, and the lights decorating the Parliament buildings, as suggested by @TheLaffOttawa and @FoodiePrints.


Outdoor Activities

@OttawaStart: Cross country skiing in the Greenbelt

@OttawaMag: Just 1? Feeding birds in Greenbelt, ski trails, local rinks, WinterBites!

@FraniePalaschuk: Make snow angels in the playground at school!

@Kobayashimisa: Going tobogganing

When winter descends upon the capital, a door of opportunity opens. Whether you enjoy sliding at Mooney’s Bay park, cross country skiing in the Greenbelt, or snowboarding at Mt. Tremblant, the Ottawa area is a paradise for the winter outdoors enthusiast.

Indoor Activities

 @WineOutLoud: Le Nordik!

@OmarElamam: indoor sports!

@OrnamentsBand: lots of shows to keep us all warm and toasty!

@MayfairTheatre: That styrofoam sound the snow makes under your feet on really cold days. (Oh, and watching movies.)

The cold weather and snow dumps not only open the door for outside opportunities but also lend a perfectly reasonable excuse to stay indoors all day long. Once you’re in hibernation mode, there are tons of indoor activities that you can indulge in– Endless movie marathons, tons of music shows at local venues, sports (if you can bring yourself to move), or Le Nordik spa as suggested by @WineOutLoud!

Running a Rickshaw in the Winter

This is our own addition to the list, but is definitely a favourite part of winter in Ottawa for us. Sure it’s minus 40 degrees out with a foot of snow on the streets, but that is just part of the fun. Several years ago we saw winter as a challenge to overcome, so our rickshaws hit the road in December, on New Years Eve, and in January/February. The snow made things ten times more difficult, but it also saw snowball fights between rickshaws, and bystanders pushing us up snowy hills as we struggled with passengers.

When Winter Ends

MKatherinaW: When it ends!

RobM: Nothing!!

MattR: That I’m not there

JasonG: Traffic. Pre heating my car, scraping my car. Being miserable, shovelling, being cold. The list goes on about all the stuff I love.

Hey! Winter isn’t for everyone. Dirty ice clings to your car, and the cold damp air cuts to your bone, leaving us to ask the inevitable question: Is it summer yet? Facebook users MKatherinaW, RobM, MattR, and JasonG are already asking!


Thanks to everyone who participated! What did we miss? Tell us what you love about Ottawa in the Winter in the comments section below!