All kidding aside, I really do think winter is a terrific time to pay a visit to the nation’s capital. Contrary to popular belief, Ottawa is not the world’s coldest capital city (based on annual mean of the daily temperature) – that honour belongs to Mongolia’s Ulaanbaatar. Nevertheless, we do get our share of cold temperatures and snow in Ottawa, but those elements just add to the many reasons why you might want to consider scheduling an event at Shaw Centre in wintertime.
Not only is there typically a good selection of available dates for events from January through March, there also is a lot more than you might think to enjoy in Ottawa during the winter. In fact, there are so many things to see and do, all of which can enhance and complement your event programming.
Our partners at Ottawa Tourism have put together this fun guide to winter activities in the region; it includes some of my personal favourites such as a visit to Nordik Spa-Nature. Located on the edge of Gatineau Park, just minutes from downtown Ottawa, it’s the largest spa in North America and an ideal place to relax in a gorgeous, tranquil setting.
There are so many more possibilities, with the majority of them located very close to Shaw Centre, such as:
- Check out the diverse programming offered during Winterlude, the national capital region’s annual celebration of winter. From concerts to sledding to ice carving there are so many activities. Spectators will particularly enjoy Winterlude’s BeaverTails Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival.
- Participate in free guided tours of the new Senate and House of Commons (tickets required)
- Visit a plethora of national museums including the Canada Museum of Science and Technology, the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian War Museum and the Canadian Museum of Nature.
- Tap into the local food scene at the wintertime farmers’ market at Lansdowne Park, the bustling ByWard Market area or via a tasty and informative walking gourmet food tour. You can also feast on an abundance of inventive dining with many restaurants across the city, including downtown, showcasing uniquely Canadian fare.
- Go skating on the famous Rideau Canal – the world’s largest ice-skating rink – or at the historic rink at the Governor General’s residence; other ice options include the Sens Rink of Dreams at City Hall and the Skating Court at Lansdowne Park.
- Visit local, Canadian and global treasures at our world-class art galleries including the National Gallery of Canada and the Ottawa Art Gallery.
- For a uniquely Canadian treat, head indoors to a pool to watch underwater hockey being played, or connect with your inner Lumberjill or Lumberjack at one of several local axe-throwing studios.
- Get active and enjoy snowshoeing, fat biking and cross country skiing just minutes from downtown on the 16 km SJAM groomed trail, suitable for all skill levels. For more adventuresome trails, including those for alpine skiing, visit nearby Gatineau Park.
- Challenge yourself in the world’s largest escape room.
- Check out Ottawa’s many live theatre and music venues including the National Arts Centre.
As you can see, there is no shortage of activities for visitors of all ages. For more inspiration, watch this fun Ottawa Tourism video which showcases some of the wintertime fun to be had in the region. Not only is there so much to enjoy here, Ottawa is also easy to get to, thanks to our excellent airport and good rail and bus links. Of note, many carriers offer favourable rates for rates for flights in winter; special deals may also be found at local hotels, which often have better availability in winter than at other times of the year. My colleagues here at Shaw Centre will be delighted to help you organize a full suite of activities sure to delight your delegates as they enjoy all that winter in Ottawa has to offer.