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Winter Celebration 2017

January 24, 2017
Updated on January 28, 2017

Winter Celebration at Rideau Hall

OTTAWA—Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston invite the whole family to Winter Celebration on Saturday, January 28, 2017, from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Rideau Hall.

The young and the young-at-heart are invited to enjoy fun winter sports and traditions such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and curling on the grounds of the official residence and workplace of the Governor General. New for Canada’s 150th birthday, lace up your skates in the refurbished Winter Pavilion and skate on Rideau Hall’s historic outdoor rink, now refrigerated. Take a stroll through the Embassy Village and discover how different countries embrace the coldest months of the year by enjoying traditional foods and activities. We will even supply the hot chocolate to keep you warm!

All activities are free of charge.

Make it a giving moment by bringing non-perishable food items for the Ottawa Food Bank and Moisson Outaouais or winter clothing for the Snowsuit Fund.

Visitors are also encouraged to post their photos of the day’s activities to social media by using the hashtag #RHPhoto.

Winter Celebration is made possible thanks to the generosity and participation of the embassies of the Republic of Austria, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Republic of Finland, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Iceland, the Italian Republic, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Norway, the Republic of Slovenia, the Kingdom of Sweden and the Swiss Confederation, the Republic of Turkey as well as the European Union Delegation to Canada, the National Capital Commission, the Canadian Armed Forces, the Governor General’s Foot Guards and other participating organizations.


Bandy: This precursor of modern ice hockey will engage participants in a form of field hockey on the skating rink). Presented by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Sweden.

Baltic-Nordic Film Festival: Learn about this unique annual film festival.

Canada Aviation and Space Museum: Discover new experiments that could improve human living conditions in Space.

Canada Games 50th Anniversary Booth: To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Canada Games, stop by to learn about the Canada Games Activity Challenge as well as the 50th Anniversary Flag Relay, and get your photo taken with the Activity Challenge mascot!

Craft Station: Children will have the opportunity to make Canada-Netherlands friendship mittens at the craft station. Presented by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Curling: Athletes will demonstrate the ins and outs of this historic sport.

Fairy Tales and HyggeStories by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen will be read aloud in a “hyggeling” atmosphere. Presented by the Kingdom of Denmark.

Historic Skating Rink: On the occasion of Canada’s 150th anniversary, lace up your skates in the refurbished Winter Pavilion and skate on Rideau Hall’s historic skating rink, now refrigerated.

Kicksledding: Try out this traditional means of Nordic transportation. A team from the Embassy of the Republic of Finland will demonstrate kicksledding and encourage visitors to hop on board these chair-mounted sleds. Finland will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of its independence in 2017. Presented by the Embassy of the Republic of Finland.

Knitting: Help to knit a woolen scarf. Presented by the Embassy of Iceland.

La Ridaine: This uniquely Canadian folk local band is sure to have visitors clapping their hands and tapping their toes.

Nature Interpretation: Learn about what happens to the wild animals of our region and their habitats during the winter months. Presented by the Friends of Gatineau Park.

Norway Giant Ski: Strap on Velcro bindings on giant skis that hold eight adults at one time and attempt to ski in unison, without stopping or falling over. The activity is organized by the Royal Norwegian Embassy who is celebrating 75 years of Canada-Norway diplomatic relations in 2017.

Nunavut Traditions: Students from Nunavut will share their Inuit culture and language through drumming, dancing, throat singing and winter activities.

Obstacle Course and Winter Camp: Members of the Governor General’s Foot Guards will introduce visitors to some of their training exercises with a fun obstacle course and will demonstrate how a military camp is set up for winter.

Parks Canada: Be among the 2000 first visitors to visit our kiosk to get your 2017 Discovery Pass which provides free admission for the entire year to Parks Canada places from coast to coast to coast! Meet Parka, Parks Canada’s mascot, get her autograph and become a member of her club.

ParticipACTION 150 Play List: This is the ultimate list of 150 physical activities that define us as Canadian. Throughout 2017, all Canadians are challenged to complete as many physical activities from the list as possible. Stop by to learn more about the 150 activities, register for the 150 Play List, and check a few activities off your own list!

Science Experiment:  Don’t miss the Fire and Ice presentation by the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Witness breathtaking demonstrations: a fire tornado, an ever-changing rainbow reacting with ice and an icy bubbling “lava” reaction.

Snowball Challenge: Children of all ages are invited to try and knock the EU teddy bear’s hat  off his head with snowballs. Weather permitting, young participants will also be invited to build their own snowmen. Presented by the European Union Delegation to Canada.

Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing: Visitors will be invited to explore the grounds of Rideau Hall on a snowshoeing or cross-country ski trail. Snowshoes and skis will be provided.

Winterlude’s Official Mascots: The Ice Hog family—Papa, Mama, Noumi and Nouma—will be on hand to offer warm hugs to children and adults alike.

Tours of the Residence: Visitors will be able to tour the historic residence and see the current exhibit A Reflection of Who We Are: The Canadian Honours System, which explores various facets of the Canadian Honours System.

Access to site and parking
Due to construction work being done on Rideau Hall’s forecourt, visitors who wish to access the skating rink must enter the grounds through Princess Gate. All other activities can be accessed via the Mackay and Thomas gates. 

Visitors are encouraged to walk or to use public transportation or taxis to get to Rideau Hall. Limited free parking will be available on the streets in the surrounding neighbourhood. Limited parking for mobility-impaired guests will be available on the Rideau Hall grounds via Princess Gate.

For more information, visit or contact us at 1-866-842-4422 (toll-free), 613-991-4422 or at


Media information:

Julie Rocheleau
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-302-0229 (cell) 

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