Things to do in Ottawa (winter edition)

Even though my phone alerted me that it was -29 degrees (Celsius) yesterday, one thing that I always appreciate about this time of year though is that it gives us a chance to settle into routine a bit and get some things done that we seem to get through during the rest of the year. Ottawa has some unique outdoor activities in the winter that we try to take advantage of at least a little bit. After all, it is a four-season country and some of those seasons are longer than others so giving up on winter would be quite a waste.

Together as a family we brainstormed a list of things to do in Ottawa before the end of winter. (Which I consider to be March break, even if it often isn’t!) Many of these are things we have done in winters past but it is nice to have traditions.*

*As per my family custom, if any activity happens more than once it instantly attains ‘tradition’ status

Canadian Museum of History – The children’s museum at the former Museum of Civilization is always a hit and since we usually only go about once a year, it is a good opportunity to check out the special exhibits. A spin through the regular exhibitions is interesting as well; even if Canada’s history hasn’t changed since last year, the kids’ interests have and they tend to gravitate to different things each time.

National Art Gallery – Our attempt to ingest some culture; we usually get to this gallery once a year as well and wonder why we don’t go more often. On the weekends, they run Artissimo which has interactive components for the kids that have been quite a hit in the past.

Skating – Over the Christmas holidays we finally got the Big Guy going on skates so it should be fun to do this as a full family now. Of course, Ottawa is most famous for the Rideau Canal but there are other great spots for a family skate as well. After discovering the great ice at the Rink of Dreams last year, we will definitely be back there and Lil’ E was also intrigued by the rink at the Governor General’s residence, originally built in 1872 by the Earl of Dufferin. The new skating court at Landsdowne also looks interesting to check out so there is no shortage of places to try.

The Rideau Canal – one of our many skating opportunities

Hockey game – I realized that the Big Guy has never been to one. I am not too sure that he has the attention span to sit through one, and Lil’ E is terrified of mascots but I think we will still give this a try, either with some cheap Senators tickets through Stubhub or one of the Family Packs that the 67s (our local junior team) have been advertising.

Museum of Nature – We still have our annual pass but have not yet been to check out the new special exhibit on Arctic Voices, so I expect we will do that soon. The transformation of this museum over the past years has been amazing and has really made it into a favorite for the kids. Ottawa is lucky to have this museum in addition to all the others.

These were the few ideas that we came up with to keep us busy over the next couple of months but there are also lots of good ideas on local blogs such as Kids in the Capital, OttawaStart, and others.


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