Rideau Canal Skateway, Ottawa
Photograph Courtesy Ottawa Tourism
LIGHTS, HOLIDAYS, WINTER ACTION!
Ottawa Goes All-Out For Winter
There are few things more Canadian than winter. And there are few places in the country that offer more ways to enjoy the season than Ottawa, Canada's Capital. Located just an hour's drive north of the Canadian and United States border and about an hour by air from New York and Boston, Ottawa is a comfortably cosmopolitan city of national landmarks, cultural attractions and celebrations—a place where you'll hear English and French spoken in the streets and where people welcome winter with a warm embrace. Here are some of the highlights on the Capital's winter calendar!
Be Dazzled by Christmas Lights
Early December through early January, Ottawa's downtown, historic sites and national landmarks are bathed in the colourful glow of hundreds of thousand of twinkling lights. It's the annual Christmas Lights Across Canada, linking Ottawa with provincial capitals across the country, and it's something you don't want to miss!
Running through September 2012 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, GOD(S) A User's Guide is a fascinating exhibition on the similarities and differences between the deities, celebrations, practices and rituals of modern religions in Canada.
Get Something to Give
December's Christmas lights make a fine backdrop for holiday shopping at the downtown Rideau Centre and ByWard Market district. Take home souvenirs and gifts for everyone on your list.
Take a Celebration Vacation
Ottawa Tourism offers a wide range of packaged getaways, including the Celebration Vacation, an ideal holiday experience. A Taste of Canada is also a popular package for those looking to sample an entire country in a single destination.
Skate on the World's Largest Skating Rink
The Rideau Canal Skateway is 7.8 kilometres of frozen fun in the heart of Ottawa. Bring your skates or rent some on the Canal. Don't forget to stop for a famous BeaverTail pastry and hot chocolate along the way! New this year is the Rink of Dreams at Ottawa City Hall, where the ice is always nice, even in warmer weather! Hundreds of thousands will be on hand and on ice for Winterlude, the Capital's annual winter festival with events and celebrations along the Canal and at sites across Ottawa and Gatineau. Favourites include the Snowflake Kingdom, a giant snow playground, incredible ice carvings, plus activities, entertainment and recreation for all—the first three weekends of February. Hotels are always busy for Winterlude, so early reservations are highly recommended.
Savour Capital Culinary Delights
With three renowned cooking schools feeding a culinary scene that's really come into its own, Ottawa is definitely a destination for foodies. Try Le Cordon Bleu Bistro @ Signatures Restaurant—a Canadian Tourism Commission Signature Experience!
An All Star Weekend
January 28 and 29, the 2012 NHL All Star Game comes to the Capital to help celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the hometown Ottawa Senators. Ottawa Tourism offers Hockey Night in the Capital Packaged Getaways that include hotel accommodation and tickets to a Senators game. Make it your ultimate hockey road trip!
Hit the Trails
Minutes from downtown Ottawa, Gatineau Park is a cross-country skier's paradise, with trails through scenic wilderness areas. For the truly committed, the Canadian Ski Marathon (Feb. 11 & 12) is a two-day, 160 kilometre event that starts in Lachute, Quebec and ends in the Capital region. If downhill is more your style, there are hills literally 20 minutes from the centre of downtown.
Warm Up To Winter Contest
You could WIN four glorious days at The Rosseau Resort & Spa in the heart of Muskoka - a National Geographic Traveler top 10 destination of 2011.
Browse this gallery to get a taste of the adventures that await in Ontario, including boating, mountain biking, and much more.
Experience the Best of Ontario!
National Geographic's Digital Nomad, Andrew Evans, reveals his travel favorites in Ontario. From outdoor adventures to vibrant cities, discover the best of what Ontario has to offer.
Message From Ontario Tourism
Discover all winter has to offer in Ontario. From climbing the frozen waterfalls to relaxing in world-class spas, you'll find there's a lot more to winter than snow and hot cocoa. Celebrate the season with Canada's favorite winter activities and culinary delights. Or unwind with a glass of icewine, just one of many Ontario winter treats.