Merry and Bright Ottawa Events

The smell of snow is in the air. The crisp, cold air is nipping at your nose. Summer might be months away, but who said that summer gets to have all the fun? 

Bundle up in your favourite toque, mitts and jacket and get ready to have a flurry of fun in Ottawa this winter. We’ve curated a list of events that everyone can enjoy from holiday markets, cooking competitions, light shows and more. Plus, snap a pic with the one and only Santa—we’ve got all the details below.

Events & Activities

Stanley’s Christmas Village. December 3 – 18, 2022 (Saturdays & Sundays). Bundle up and head over to Stanley’s Christmas Village for a winter wonderland experience. Snap a photo with Santa, warm up around the bonfire, and indulge in hot cocoa before jumping on a sleigh ride through the winter forest.

Vintage Village of Lights. December 2 – 18, 2022 (Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays). Explore traditions from days gone by in an enchanted, drive-through setting with over 30,000 Christmas lights! This family-orientated event lets you continue the fun at home with a take-away cookie decorating kit, hands-on crafts, and a special telegram from Santa.

Ottawa Christmas Market. November 25 – December 23, 2022. Get into the holiday spirit at Ottawa’s European-style Christmas market—the perfect place for great food, warm drinks, traditional kiosks and a festive atmosphere!

New Year’s Eve Comedy Night. December 31, 2022. Ring in the new year with great Canadian comedians Frank Spadone and Cassie Cao. Laughter is the ultimate way to say goodbye to 2022 and welcome in the new year.

Winter Lights Across Canada. December 8, 2022 – January 8, 2023 (Thursday to Monday). Let yourself be carried away by the magic of a multimedia projection show! You will be captivated by the musical score and digital imagery set against the Parliament Building as a backdrop. This free show is presented every 15 minutes, from Thursday to Monday, from 5:30 to 11 p.m.

Come from Away. December 27-January 8, 2023. Don’t miss this breathtaking musical that takes you into the heart of the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them.

Capital Wedding Show. January 21 – 22, 2023. Your dream wedding starts here! Prizes, discounts, interactive events and much more. Meet vendors from a variety of fields that want to support you as you plan your exciting day!

Classic Albums Live – The Beatles: Abbey Road. January 29, 2023. Classic Albums Live takes the greatest albums and recreates them live on stage – note for note, cut for cut, using the best musicians. Don’t miss this performance of what’s been often ranked as one of the greatest albums of all time, featuring hits like Here Comes the Sun and Come Together.

Canadian Culinary Championship. February 3 – 4, 2023. This respected culinary event features a weekend competition among nine chefs who proved themselves as winners at regional competitions in the fall of 2022 in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Ottawa, Montréal, Toronto, and St. John’s. Which one will be crowned the top chef in Canada? Come to the event to find out.

BeaverTails Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival. February 3 – 4, 2023. International teams race beautifully decorated dragon boats on the world’s largest skating rink in downtown Ottawa. Cheer on participants as they push the long boats outfitted with special blades on the frozen Dows Lake portion of the Rideau Canal Skateway.

Winterlude. February 3 – 20, 2023. During Winterlude, you can marvel at beautiful ice sculptures, skate on the world-famous Rideau Canal Skateway (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and play in Snowflake Kingdom – a gigantic snow playground. The many other Winterlude activities— both indoors and outdoors—highlight Canada’s cultural, artistic and culinary diversity.

Embrace Winter Run. February 19, 2023. This winter running event has something for everyone: Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, 3K, and Kids 1K. Embrace Winter is an official event of Ottawa’s biggest and best winter festival – Winterlude. This scenic run takes you through true Canadian winter landscapes and is a great motivator to stay active and get outdoors this winter.

Big Bang Festival. February 18 – 19, 2023. A one-of-a-kind festival of musical adventures that invites children and their families on a colourful journey using a rich array of sound concepts whose diversity and originality make the festival a hit wherever it goes. Many activities are free.

🎅Pictures with Santa

Snap an unforgettable family picture with the holly jolly man in charge, Santa! Here are the top spots for Santa pics this holiday season.

Bayshore Shopping Centre. Visit Santa Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Book an appointment here.

Place D’Orleans. See Santa Claus Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. On Christmas Eve, Santa will be at Place d’Oreans from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ottawa Christmas Market. From the warmth of his cabin and the comfort of his chair, Santa will welcome you to Santa’s Village where you can say hello to the big guy and take a photo with him. Visit the website for dates and times.

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