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Confederation’s 150th birthday is coming up, and the biggest year-long bash is going down in the capital city. Festivities start at the stroke of midnight on January 1, so don’t let cold weather scare your travel plans into hibernation.
Here are all the things you need to do in Ottawa this winter.
December 7, 2016 – January 7, 2017
This 30-year-old tradition has become a staple of Ottawa’s winters. Christmas Lights Across Canada was launched to highlight historic landmarks like museums, monuments and embassies across the country, starting the holiday season in style. Take in the thousands of twinkling lights and don’t miss the holiday-themed sound and light show. Projected onto Parliament’s Centre Block, this free show runs at 15-minute intervals from 5:30 to 11 p.m.
December 31, 2016
Canada’s sesquicentennial year will start off with a bang in the form of huge firework displays this New Year’s Eve. Ottawa will be lit up at 8:17 p.m. (also known as 20:17), with fireworks going off in the downtown core and on Parliament Hill itself. The whole display will be set to music and will then be followed by live performances from French and English Canadian artists, kicking off 2017 festivities all across the country.
February 17-19, 2017
The Winter Brewfest is a bucket list item for lovers of craft beer and hearty food. After an amazing turnout at last year’s inaugural event, the fest is back with even more brews for your buck. Featuring over 40 beers from different breweries from Ontario and Quebec, thirsty festival goers can sample brews and munch on beer-inspired pub fare. Get tickets here.
February 3-20, 2017
Ottawa winter traditions all come together in Winterlude. This free event celebrates all things synonymous with Canadian winter: skating, ice hockey and playing in the snow. Skate on the world’s largest naturally frozen ice rink, the Rideau Canal Skateway, watch a classic ice hockey game, check out ice sculpture competitions and frolic in North America’s largest snow playground.
March 3-4, 2017
Thrill seekers, winter’s the time to get to Ottawa. Red Bull Crashed Ice comes to the capital for the Ice Cross Downhill World Series Season Finale. Competitors from around the world come for the competition, known as the fastest sport on skates. Athletes skate down a massive ice track of drops, turns and gaps at speeds up to 80 km/h.