8 activities for your winter bucket list in the Capital

Canada’s Capital is really beautiful after a snowfall, and there’s so much to do in the great outdoors during the winter months. Here are a few activities to try on NCC lands during this wonderful time of the year.

Skating outdoors in the Capital is hard to beat…

Is there anything better than skating outdoors? The NCC maintains the world’s largest skating rink right here in Ottawa. The Rideau Canal Skateway winds its way through the heart of downtown, over a total length of 7.8 kilometres. Along the way, you can enjoy our heated rest areas and fire pits. Or stop at one of the concession stands for a hot chocolate and a Beavertail.

Or, step back in time, and go for a skate on the historic outdoor rink at Rideau Hall. Did you know that it was originally built in 1872?

A farm that becomes a magical Santa’s village…

The Log Farm is now open for the holiday season! They have some beautiful pre-cut Christmas trees and freshly made wreaths. Hop on for a wagon ride past Santa’s Workshop, and enjoy viewing the decorations along the way. Then, stop by the bonfire to warm up. Be sure to check out the shop, and pick up some local Christmas gifts for your loved ones. Don’t forget to visit your favourite farm animals while you’re there!

Wax up your cross-country skis and hit the trails…

Gatineau Park has one of the largest networks of cross-country ski trails in North America — with over 50 trails of varying difficulty.

The Greenbelt has over 150 kilometres of cross-country ski trails. You can use the trails for free, and all are suitable for beginners, and great for family outings.

Check out the groomed multi-use winter trails along the Sir John A. Macdonald (SJAM) Parkway and Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway. The SJAM winter trail runs through parklands along the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway, from the Canadian War Museum to Westboro Beach, animating spaces that, in the past, were not being used during winter.

The Ski Heritage East trail stretches from Green’s Creek to Trim Road. Both trails are maintained by volunteers, in partnership with the NCC.

Try a great Canadian tradition…

Pack up the family, and head out to one of the toboggan hills in Canada’s Capital Greenbelt. These snowy hills are some of the best in the Ottawa region, and are sure to provide thrills for the young and the young at heart.

The Bruce Pit Toboggan Hill is located in the Stony Swamp section of the Greenbelt. The hill offers great daytime sliding, but is not lit at night.

The Conroy Pit Toboggan Hill is located in the Pine Grove Forest section of the Greenbelt. At Conroy Pit, you can toboggan in the evening, as well as during the day. The hill is lit daily from 4 pm to 11 pm.

There are also great toboggan hills at Green’s Creek. These hills are also lit in the evening, extending the fun.

You don’t have to miss cycling on snowy days…

Jump on your fat bike, and come out for a winter ride on 29.5 kilometres of snow biking trails in Gatineau Park. The NCC works in partnership with the Ottawa Mountain Bike Association to offer this activity on its trails.

For that perfect snowy Instagram shot…

Grab your snowshoes, and enjoy a walk through the magnificent snowy conservation forests of the Greenbelt and Gatineau Park. Both settings are perfect for capturing the beauty of winter, so be sure to bring your camera.

If you’re feeling adventurous…

Experience the joys of winter in a ready-to-camp unit in the heart of Gatineau Park. All are equipped with beds, wood stove, barbecue with propane burner and a few basic amenities. Enjoy an early-morning ski or snowshoe on one of the largest winter trail networks in North America. Reserve early, as space is limited.

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