Winterlude over the years

Here are some of the highlights of Winterlude's history over the years.

1978

A day of winter celebration is organized in Ottawa. It attracts a few hundred curious people who watch a bed race and meet ByTowne Bert, a magical creature who came from... under the ice on the Rideau Canal!

1979

The National Capital Commission (NCC) creates Winterlude, a week-long event. The mascot is back. Its name is Ice Hog, the ancestor of the Ice Hogs.

1980

About 100,000 visitors attend Winterlude. Activities take place mostly around Dows Lake.

1982

An attempt is made to break the Guinness World Record for the longest human chain. To achieve this, 17,000 people hold hands along the Rideau Canal Skateway but the goal is not achieved.

1983

MPs and members of the parliamentary press gallery play hockey against each other, a popular event that is later repeated. Organizers introduce an international component with the creation of a snow sculpture presented by Italy.

1984

Winterlude introduces its first international competition with the arrival of 400 Dutch skaters. Since then, skaters as well as ice and snow sculptors from around the world have participated in various competitions.

1985

About 500,000 visitors attend Winterlude. Activities are held at several sites (Rideau Canal and Dows Lake, Confederation Park, Jacques-Cartier Park).

1991

About 1.2 million visitors attend Winterlude.

1993

Winterlude celebrates its 15th anniversary. The tallest snowman in Canada is built, measuring over 16 metres in height.

1994

Winterlude changes from a 10-day event to 3 consecutive weekends of activities.

2003

Winterlude celebrates its 25th anniversary.

2005

The mild weather forces organizers to cover the ice sculptures to keep them from completely melting, which unfortunately happens on the last day of Winterlude.

2007

About 1.6 million visitors attend Winterlude, a record!

2013

The NCC organizes its last Winterlude. Canadian Heritage is now responsible for it.

2018

Winterlude celebrates its 40th anniversary.

2019

Winterlude carries through its new vision by offering more cultural programming and new destinations (ByWard Market, Sparks Street, Downtown Rideau and the Glebe). Indigenous culture is featured on the first weekend and LGBTQ2+ culture, history and pride on the second weekend.

To highlight this new vision, the slogan "THIS is Winterlude!" is adopted.

2021

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Winterlude is celebrated virtually with a national webcasting and virtual activities.

For the first time, Winterlude challenges ice sculptors to compete simultaneously in 7 cities as part of the Winterlude National Ice-Carving Championship.

2022

In the context of the COVID‑19 pandemic, ice sculptures are truly the stars of Winterlude!

Canadians from across the country can admire world‑class ice sculptures and vote for their top 3 as part of the Winterlude National Ice‑Carving Championship, which is held in all 10 Canadian provinces.

Date modified: