Young children playing in ice sculptures

Winterlude | Ottawa Tourism

Top winter festivals in Ontario

Young children playing in ice sculptures

Winterlude | Ottawa Tourism

From wine country to cottage country, and the nation’s capital to the north, winter heats up across Ontario with special festivals celebrating the winter season.

Enjoy snow-based activities like snow tubing, ice skating and a polar plunge, if you dare! Meet legendary mascots, admire magical ice sculptures and unique light festivals that brighten up long nights. And warm up with delicious food and hot drinks or toast the day with sparkling Icewine.

Celebrate winter at these fun and festive Ontario destinations.

Note: check back in the new year for more festivals dates and details.

Southern Ontario 

Niagara Icewine Festival

Indulge in Ontario’s VQA wine culture and thriving culinary scene from wineries and restaurants across Niagara. Get your Niagara Icewine Discovery Pass to sample the finest “liquid gold” from dozens of wineries, paired with sweet and savoury chef-made treats. 

Curated food pairings range from Icewine-inspired and infused bisques, soups and stews to tarts, ice cream and gelatos. 

The festival sizzles with evening galas and glamorous events. The iconic Niagara Parks Power Station is the venue for the Cool as Ice Gala, where food from top chefs is paired with Niagara’s finest Icewine. The Sparkle and Ice Celebration showcases a spirited competition between talented mixologists that crowns the best Icewine cocktail.

Dates: January 12-14, 19-21 and 26-28, 2024 (three weekends in January)

Location: various venues in and around downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake

Stratford Winterfest

Come and play in the park this winter!

What began as a small winter event in 1998 is still running strong today with fun activities and entertainment. Fan favourites include snow glide and snow golf.

Date: Saturday, January 27, 2024

Location: Upper Queens Park, 55 Queen Street East, Stratford

Winterloo

Formerly Waterloo Ice Dogs Festival, Waterloo’s free winter festival takes the stage with exciting winter-themed attractions for all ages.

Highlights have included ice carving competitions, free skating to tunes in Waterloo Public Square, food trucks and more.

Dates: January 27, 2024 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Location: various venues in Waterloo

Goderich Winterfest

Ontario’s popular beach town hosts a fun and festive annual winter festival.

The widely anticipated 2024 Goderich Winterfest Trails features lights and lanterns, public skating, and the opportunity to participate in a tasting of the Rotary chilli cook-off to crown the best chilli.

Dates: February 3-5, 2024

Location: various venues in downtown Goderich

Hamilton Winterfest

Hamilton’s Winterfest features over 70 community-run activities across the city ranging from author readings and park tours to live entertainment.

And the best part? Hamilton is one of Ontario’s best destinations for foodies. From creative comfort eats to fine fusion dining, there’s something for every palate and craving, including halal, vegetarian and vegan.

Be sure to include the weekend brunch at the Ancaster Mill. There’s also a flourishing craft beer and cider scene in Hamilton, so plan for a brew at Collective Arts Brewery, Clifford Brewing, West Avenue Cider or one of the other excellent breweries and cideries.

Dates: February 2–19, 2024

Location: downtown Hamilton

Kingstonlicious

Experience delicious, innovative, regionally sourced and globally inspired food in one of Ontario’s favourite foodie cities. Kingstonlicious is a celebration of the best of Kingston’s culinary community. 

The annual prix fixe event features everything from three-course dinners to casual takeout options from over 40 participating restaurants. Turn date night, girls’ night, or dinner with your best friend into a weekend getaway in Kingston.

Book a food tour with Kingston Food Tours to experience Kingston’s foodie culture.

Dates: details coming soon

Location: throughout the city of Kingston

Winterlicious in Toronto

Explore Canada’s most exciting foodie city one bite at a time during this much-loved prix fixe event.

Participating restaurants offer special three-course lunch and dinner menus that showcase the diverse and distinct culinary culture at a range of price points in Toronto. 

During Winterlicious, sign up for a local food tour with Culinary Adventure Co. or Toronto Food Tours for even more delicious discoveries in Toronto’s foodie neighbourhoods.

Location: restaurants throughout Toronto

Dates: January 26–February 8, 2024

Winterlude in Ottawa 

Winterlude is one of the largest and most popular winter events in the nation and celebrates Ottawa’s cultural, artistic and culinary diversity.

From intricate ice sculptures to ice skating along the Rideau Canal, the world’s longest skate trail (weather dependent), endless frosty fun in Canada’s capital will build up an appetite. 

Warm up with treats like hot chocolate, maple taffy, poutine and sweet or savoury BeaverTails. Central to all the highlights and activities, the ByWard Market is Ottawa’s famous foodie hotspot with great restaurants, cafes, bars, stalls and food shops. C’est Bon Cooking gourmet food tours offer guided walking tours to learn about the food and history of the neighbourhood. 

Head to Beckta Dining + Wine Bar for upscale Canadian cuisine. Have a tea or something stronger at the opulent Joy on Sussex, or raise a glass at the Chateau Lafayette, affectionally known locally as the Laff, Ottawa’s oldest tavern. 

Get tips on making the best cocktails from various Glebe restaurants, bars and cafes during the Winter Cocktail Corner. And visit the Ottawa Farmers’ Market on Sunday for fresh, local produce and food.

Dates:  February 2-19, 2024

Location: downtown Ottawa

Toronto Chinatown Lunar New Year Celebration

Celebrate the Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival, in downtown Toronto’s Chinatown.

Welcome the Year of the Dragon with an exciting parade, special events and authentic and fusion East and South East Asian cuisine. You’ll find everything from spicy pho to steaming hot pots, dumplings, dim sum, bún, bánh mì, bibimbap bulgogi, sushi, maki and soul-warming noodle soups. 

Toronto’s Chinatown is nestled west of Beverley Street and east of Augusta Avenue on Dundas Street West and south of College Street and north of Queen Street on Spadina Avenue. Events will take place in Chinatown Centre and Dragon City Mall.

Note: Additional Lunar New Year celebrations take place throughout the Greater Toronto Area, including Markham, Mississauga and Scarborough.

Dates: February 10-11, 2024

Location: Chinatown neighbourhood in downtown Toronto

Central Ontario

Fire and Ice Bracebridge

Experience a Muskoka twist on the traditional winter carnival with fun activities like ice skating, fat biking and axe throwing and events that include ice sculpting demonstrations, lumberjack shows and fireworks during this exciting festival.

From roasted marshmallows, all-day popcorn and hot apple cider, enjoy sweet and savoury treats during the day. And for a more substantial meal, explore some of the cafes, restaurants and eateries in Bracebridge.

Located in one of the area’s oldest buildings, Basilico serves fresh Italian-inspired cuisine. Housed in a former service station, The Old Station Restaurant is a local foodie fixture. Savour the bold Indian, Thai and Indo-Chinese flavours at Marigold or Japanese fusion at Wabora.

Dates: January 27, 2024
Location: downtown Bracebridge

Fire and Ice 2024 Winter Festival

The coldest month of the year heats up with fun outdoor and indoor activities at the Alton Mills Arts Centre.

The super snow slides will keep the little ones entertained. Skate laps on the outdoor skating rink or play competitive pond hockey. Watch the dramatic transformation at ice carving demonstrations and view a fire sculpture crafted by a local artist.

Miller’s Meats food truck will be serving hot food and drink.

Date: January 27 from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and January 28, 2024, from noon to 5:00 p.m.

Location: Alton Mill Arts Centre, 1402 Queen Street West, Alton

Barrie Winterfest

Barrie’s favourite annual winter tradition returns in 2024.

Enjoy family activities and entertainment including ice skating, games, inflatables and lumberjack shows. And you won’t want to miss watching professional sculptors carve incredible ice sculptures from massive blocks of ice.

Dates: February 3-4, 2024, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Location: Meridian Place and Heritage Park, 30 Simcoe Street, Barrie

Northern Ontario

Bon Soo Ontario Winter Carnival

For over 60 years, Bon Soo has been a long-standing winter tradition in “the Soo.”

It celebrates the season with ice carvings and snow sculptures, unique activities like snow slides and polar bear dips, live music and entertainment, pancake breakfasts, a lovable mascot and, of course, great food. 

Events and activities take place in several downtown zones, including The Canal District, the Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Plaza, Northern Superior Tap Room and the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre.

Start your day right at the Breakfast Pig Badass Eatery. In the historic Canal District Machine Shop, you’ll find a selection of dining options from the upscale The Mill Steakhouse & Wine Bar to The Boiler Room, a casual wood-oven pizzeria or Blockhouse Pub.

Nearby, the Mill Market Farmers’ Market brings together the best from Northern Ontario’s lakes, fields, forests, kitchens and workshops each Saturday. From hearty northern Ontario barbecue traditions to authentic Italian and internationally inspired fusion, there are great dining options in “the Soo.”

Dates: February 2-10, 2024

Location: Sault Ste. Marie

SnowDay on the Waterfront

Bundle up for family fun during Family Day weekend at SnowDay on the Waterfront in and around Marina Park in downtown Thunder Bay.

This award-winning event features indoor and outdoor activities and entertainment like ice and snow sculptures, ice fishing, snowshoeing, music, games, food and more.

Date: February 19, 2024

Location: Marina Park Drive, Thunder Bay

Last updated: January 16, 2024

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