Better Lifestyle
Matthew Kranabetter, February 25 2020

5 Winter and Early Spring Activities in Ottawa you HAVE to try

No matter what seasons you enjoy the most, if you are in Ottawa during the winter then there are winter activities I guarantee you would enjoy.  I am to this day definitely a summer person, but even being a summer person I look forward to my favourite winter activities in Ottawa every year.  

Jumping right into it, here are 5 winter activities in Ottawa you have to try. 

l'Ange Gardien 

Price - $$ 

Location - 1031 Chemin Pierre-Laporte, L'Ange-Gardien

Picture this: The fluffiest pancakes you’ve ever had, delicious home fries, crispy bacon and breakfast sausages, maple taffy all with an absurd amount of maple syrup AND it’s all you can eat.  I know I am getting hungry just thinking about it, but this is exactly what the l'Ange Gardien sugar shack provides.  On top of the food, there are various activities such as sleigh rides and tobogganing available for you to do, not to mention enjoying the atmosphere of being at a sugar shack and the historic elements of the surrounding area.  

One issue that needs to be considered is Ange Gardien is a 25 minute drive from downtown Ottawa.  If transportation is an issue then an alternative is Vanier Sugar Shack.  Although I have never been they seem to offer a lot of what Ange Gardien does while being much more public transit friendly for those living in Ottawa or just visiting.  

All in all, if you like maple treats and delicious food then l'Ange Gardien will not disappoint.  

Rideau Canal & The Rink of Dreams

Price - Free (Unless Skate Rental Needed)

Location: Rideau Canal - Interactive Map.  Rink of Dreams - 110 Laurier Ave 

Okay so I cheated a bit and combined both of these activities BUT let me explain why.  Both of these involve skating, getting beavertails and are easily substituted for one another.  If you are from the Ottawa area, I am sure you have heard of the Rideau Canal.  If you have not heard of it then in the winter the Rideau Canal skate way is one of Ottawa’s most popular tourist attractions and gives the unique opportunity to skate on the Rideau Canal while grabbing a hot chocolate and enjoying different pastries such as the aforementioned beavertails.  

Now I personally prefer the Rink of Dreams to the Rideau Canal because the ice is refrigerated and maintained using a Zamboni, therefore allowing the Rink of Dreams to be open almost all the time and the ice to always be smoother than the canal.  As well, one of my personal favourite parts of the Rink of Dreams is how the boards light up in the night, which is the perfect backdrop for pictures and is very aesthetically pleasing.  

The Rideau Canal and the Rink of Dreams are two of my favourite Ottawa activities and are definitely worth going too.  

Ottawa/Gatineau Auto Show 

Price - $

Location: The Shaw Centre, 55 Colonel By Drive

The Ottawa/Gatineau auto show has been a long-standing tradition in my family.  From a very young age I would go with my dad and brother to the car show and make no mistake about it the Lamborghini’s, Rolls Royce’s, Mercedes McLaren’s and other exotic cars were always the main attraction.  One of my fondest memories from the car show was seeing the Bugatti Veyron in person which is worth approximately two million dollars (sadly not there this year). 

Fast forward several years and I find myself looking to take advantage of more than just seeing the exotic cars.  The Ottawa/Gatineau car show also gives the opportunity to see almost every mass car manufacturer you can think of (Honda, Toyota, etc.) and get to take a look at them all under one roof.  To give a sports analogy, I personally plan on using this as a scouting opportunity to pick the best car prospects I might want to buy for my first car.  

The combined elements of checking out the exotic cars or searching for your own potential new vehicle make the Ottawa/Gatineau auto show definitely worth attending when it is in town March 19th-22nd.  

Gatineau Park

Price: Free - $$ 

Location: Interactive Map 

While I personally consider Gatineau Park to be more of a fall activity where you get to see the fall coloured leaves, it doesn’t get enough recognition for its wide selection of winter activities.  Gatineau Park gives the opportunity to rent snowshoes, cross-country skis, and fat tire bikes and go along set trails all over Gatineau Park.  Not only is this good exercise but it is an excellent opportunity to check out the winter scenery as well (not to mention the view). 

Nature Nocturne 

Price - $$

Location - Canadian Museum of Nature 240 McLeod St

Nature Nocturne has to be one of the most hidden gems in Ottawa.  What I mean by this is that I had only heard of and attended Nature Nocturne because of a school project.   The event ended up being an amazing and memorable experience, thus earning a spot on this list.  I believe calling Nature Nocturne an “educational party” describes it best.  Nature Nocturne is three dance floors with DJs, mini bars, and more, all put into the Museum of Nature.  In addition to these features from a party aspect, there is a completely educational component as well in that the entire museum's exhibits are open.  You can transition from learning about butterflies to dancing in 2 seconds.  

This unique combination of partying and education fit surprisingly well with each other and I know for a fact there is no other museum in Ottawa that offers this combination.  I highly recommend checking out this activity in Ottawa! 


Thank you for reading! If you have any suggestions of activities in Ottawa I should cover next then please contact me.  

Written by

Matthew Kranabetter

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