Ottawa is among Canada’s top winter destinations–because rather than hibernate, the city embraces and celebrates this most quintessentially Canadian season.
It all starts in early December with Christmas Lights Across Canada, when the historic Parliament Buildings and other national sites across this capital city’s downtown are bathed in dazzling lights and projections. December 2019 will also see the debut of the Ottawa Christmas Market, a European-style holiday market with unique vendors, food, drink and live entertainment in the city’s bustling Lansdowne district.
In winter, Ottawa is home to the world’s largest outdoor skating rink, the Rideau Canal Skateway, which is resurfaced nightly (weather permitting) and welcomes thousands daily–including many who strap on their blades and use it to commute to work. The Skateway runs right beside the Shaw Centre, Ottawa’s beautiful downtown meeting and conference facility, and skating its 7.8 kilometre length is worthy of anyone’s bucket-list!
The Skateway is also front-and-center during Winterlude, Ottawa’s annual winter festival. Breathtaking ice sculptures by artists from around the world, a giant snow playground, outdoor bars and restaurants all bring the city to life each year during the first three weeks of February.
For those into outdoor recreation, Ottawa is like an urban resort, with cross-country skiing and snowshoeing right in the city, and downhill skiing and winter fat bike trails just minutes away in the Gatineau Hills. There’s also dog sledding and winter safaris through a massive outdoor wildlife park.
Of course, it’s not all about the outdoors. The capital is also home to many indoor attractions, including national museums and performing arts and theatre venues, live music, dining, shopping, gaming and nightlife. The museums and the National Arts Centre provide grand public spaces for unique off-site galas and events surrounded by art and artifacts.
In short, Ottawa makes winter fun! And now Ottawa Tourism is making it more affordable too with Winter Meeting ‘ICEntives’, special savings on qualifying meetings held in the city between December 1 and March 31.
“Our city has so much to offer meeting delegates in winter,” says Lesley Mackay, Ottawa Tourism’s Vice President, Meetings and Major Events. “So, with some organizations hesitant to meet in a winter destination, we’re offering added incentives for them to give it try. We think when they do, they’ll experience winter the way it’s meant to be.”
Learn more about winter meetings in Ottawa and how to make the most of your business trip to Ottawa in winter.