Weekend weather makes for successful Winterlude

Three perfect winter weekends made for a very successful Winterlude, an event the NCC suggests could be the capital's top for tourism.
Thousands of people take advantage the a sunny winter day to skate on the Rideau Canal and take part in Winterlude festivities in Ottawa in 2012.

Organizers, businesses and tourists are crediting the weather for its part in a well-attended Winterlude.

The annual mid-winter festival wrapped up on Monday, bringing more than 600,000 people to its various venues and contributing $68 million in direct economic spinoffs.

The Lord Elgin Hotel, well within walking distance to Confederation Park and the Rideau Canal, said it was nearly full for each of Winterlude’s three clear, crisp weekends.

"It’s always a bit of a gamble," said Ann Meelker of the Lord Elgin.

"We had a fabulous winter, every winter (there’s) a weekend that's a bit of an if … but this year we didn't have that."

"In terms of weather conditions this was a perfect scenario, three ideal weather patterns all three weekends," said Guy Laflamme of the NCC.

"We saw that all sights were at full capacity, hotels were full, we saw lots of busses … "

For an event that depends on cold weather, one of the only nature-related challenges was a flash freeze earlier on in February.

Winterlude could be capital's top tourism event

The Esposito family from Toronto was one of many packing up from their hotel Monday, reflecting on time they were able to spend on Ottawa’s world-famous waterway.

"We went skating last night that was fun, it was pretty at night," said one member.

"(The ice was) better this year, last year it was really rough," said another skater.

The National Capital Commission now suggests that Winterlude has become the capital’s number one event for tourism and the money that visitors bring in.