Winterlude 2023 is back in person after three years hiatus due to Covid. There is tobogganing, skating on an outdoor rink in front of City Hall, ice sculptures, horse drawn carts, fun special lighting on Sparks Mall and in the Byward Market, Beaver Tails and other food events. And people out enjoying it all “in person.”

Weather in Ottawa, and across Canada, has been mixed this year. The result is that the famous and ever popular Rideau Canal skate way is closed for Winterlude skating and the Dragon Boat ice event was cancelled, and the beautiful ice sculptures on Sparks Mall started melting within a week of their artful construction.

Winter celebrations are a mainstay of Canadians’ celebration and enjoyment of winter-be it Ottawa’s Winterlude, Quebec Winter Carnival in Quebec City, Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg, Caribou Carnival in Yellowknife, Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous, Montreal Highlights Festival, World Ski and Snowboard Festival in Whistle, Toonik Tyme in Iqaluit and Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls. These well known winter events are complemented by local winter events in cities and towns everywhere in Canada.

All cities, and definitely Canada’s Capital Ottawa, need to reassess their annual winter celebration and activities. Climate change is real and is affecting outdoor winter activities be it skating for two months on the Rideau Canal, skiing, snow-shoeing and amazing ice sculptures. We need to be prepared for increased climate change and develop indoor activities to complement the traditional ones, so that everyone can continue to be active, enjoy social time with family and friends, and celebrate the every changing seasons of Canada.

Ice Sculpture at Winterlude

Winterlude events at Byward Market



Robin Etherington worked for many national and community level cultural organizations over the past 30 years. Her area of consultant specialty at Etherington Consulting Services is management of not-for profit and cultural organizations and has improved the bottom line at many sites through tighter operations, expansive partnerships and maximizing networking opportunities. She developed tremendous skills in grant writing, social media, youth outreach, marketing, policy writing and implementation, and community facilitation. Skills include developing and implementing fund development (fundraising and revenue generation) strategies; Cultural Resources Management (CRM), and cultural strategic planning

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