Ottawa

Winterlude 2018 underway in Ottawa-Gatineau

Ottawa-Gatineau's annual midwinter celebration of the chilly, snowy side of Canadian life begins today.

Annual winter festival turns 40 with mix of old favourites, new events, Feb. 2 to 19

The international ice carving competition at Confederation Park is one of the highlights of the opening weekend of Winterlude, but the sculptures will be on display for the rest of the festival as long as the weather cooperates. ((Pawel Dwulit/Canadian Press))

Ottawa-Gatineau's annual midwinter celebration of the chilly, snowy side of Canadian life begins today.

The 40th edition of Winterlude kicks off Friday morning with the international ice carving competition at Confederation Park, with winners announced Sunday afternoon.

The festival's kickoff party, also in Confederation Park, starts at 7 p.m. and features entertainer André-Philippe Gagnon and DJ4Korners, the official DJ of the Toronto Raptors.

Saturday is the annual Winterlude Triathlon on and around Dow's Lake, featuring skating, cross-country skiing and running, along with a free pancake breakfast at 10 a.m. at Ottawa City Hall.

Other highlights include:

  • The annual modified bed race on Dow's Lake, Feb. 17 starting at 12:30 p.m.
  • The ice dragon boat race, which made a soggy debut in 2017, Feb. 10 starting at 8:30 a.m.
  • The return of the Waiter and Waitresses Race on the canal at Fifth Avenue, Feb. 18 at 1 p.m.

When it comes to paid events, the Gatineau Winter Beerfest runs 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Feb. 2 and 3 at the Museum of Canadian History.

Meanwhile the Mosaïvernales snow sculpture show runs from dusk until 10 p.m. at Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau, and is the reason the Snowflake Kingdom has been shifted slightly north this year.

Winterlude runs until Feb. 19. The full list of events is on the Winterlude website.

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