Winterlude goes virtual for 2021

Virtual Winterlude provides the opportunity for Canadians across the country to be able to participate in the festival like never before

  • Feb 08, 2021
  • 559 words
  • 3 minutes
The spirit drumdancer is singing of our culture and customs and how our ancestors lived thousands of years ago. (Sculptor: Derrald Taylor)
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Winterlude was created in 1979 as a way to celebrate Canada’s unique relationship with winter and our northern climate, hoping to inspire more Canadians to get outside and enjoy the company of others all winter long. For the last 41 years, Winterlude has taken place across the Ottawa-Gatineau region with events like ice-carving competition and horse races on the Rideau Canal Skateway, attracting more than half a million people to the festivities each year.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Winterlude has gone virtual for 2021, but it provides the opportunity for Canadians across the country to be able to participate in the festival like never before. We’ve rounded up five of the chillest Winterlude events you can take part in from the comfort (and warmth) of your own home:

Winterlude national ice-carving competition

Winterlude’s annual ice-carving competition is held in downtown Ottawa, and residents have the opportunity to see the masterpieces be created as they enjoy the Winterlude festivities. This year, the competition has gone virtual, meaning you can see submissions from various Canadian cities across the country. The winners of this competition will be chosen by the people, and votes are being accepted on their website until Sunday, February 21.

Two lifelong friends, a boy and a reindeer, resting after a long journey in a snowy wonder. (Sculptor: Antonio Baisas)
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Exploring Canada’s winter traditions show

In order to capture the magic of Winterlude for the entire country to see, the Winterlude team put together an hour long special to commemorate the kick-off of the festival that celebrates Canada’s winter traditions. The special includes videos of the competitors in the ice carving competition, performances by figure skaters and Canadian musicians and celebrations of the variety of winter traditions that make up how we celebrate winter here in Canada. Check out the full video on the Winterlude website.

Make your own book with the Ice Hog family

The Ice Hog Family are Winterlude’s mascots, and even online, Papa, Mama and their children Noumi and Nouma are back to show families how to make the most out of the colder months. As a part of this year’s virtual festivities, you have the opportunity to put yourself at the centre of a Winterlude tale using their personalized storybook creator. By entering your (or your child’s) name, you can create your own digital storybook that can be downloaded for the perfect bedtime story and memory keepsake.

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Hockey trivia challenge

How much do you know about Canada’s famous winter sport? In this trivia challenge from the Canadian Museum of History, put yourself to the test and see how much you actually know about hockey. The Great Hockey Trivia Challenge is perfect to try with friends and family, or just to test your own hockey knowledge.

Powwow workout classes

Even in winter, you can still get your sweat on — Winterlude is offering two powwow workout classes in partnership with the National Arts Centre Indigenous Theatre. Gather up your loved ones to learn the basics of different styles of powwow dancing, and enjoy everything from traditional powwow to hop hop music. The class by Josée Bourgeois skews more towards learning the basics and modern sounds, while Steevi King brings you a high-intensity workout to traditional powwow music.

See the full slate of Winterlude events (available until Sunday, February 21, 2021) online.


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