• Keandra Gruys

Tis The Season For Holiday Cheer

It's nearly that time of the year, a time that we all have been waiting for, Winter Break!

Although finals can be stressful, the holiday decorations and celebrations remind us to take time to step back, ease off, have a cup of hot chocolate, and relax.

Here are some activity suggestions that may interest you during the winter break. For those who are going home for the break, you can look forward to exploring these activities when you return!

Christmas Market:

Are you looking for a last-minute Christmas gift or something to treat yourself? Be sure to check out the famous Christmas Market in Lansdowne! Stroll around the area to find multiple local businesses that bring holiday gifts and Christmas flavours all together. You can find Christmas ornaments, candles, socks, tea, chocolates, favourite fresh-made snacks, goods and many more.

Check out their schedule to get into the Christmas cheer!

Lansdowne Farmers’ Market:

Once you are in the area for the Christmas market, check out a myriad of artisans and farmers inside the Aberdeen Pavilion every Saturday & Sunday (Dec. 11- Dec. 19) from 9:00 am- 3:00 pm. Shop in-person for many local crafts, baked goods, personal care products and prepared artisanal food. If you’re looking for homemade goods, this is the place to be :)

Light Show:

From December 8 to January 7 Parliament Hill is showcasing a new multimedia projection of Canada’s history and culture with colourful lights! It’s free to enjoy and is on a continuous loop from 6 pm to 11 pm nightly. Get yourself a cup of hot chocolate and go for a stroll with a friend or two to see the lights that decorate downtown Ottawa.

Byward Market: No visit to downtown Ottawa is complete without a visit to the Byward Market! One of Canada’s oldest and largest public markets, it is filled with restaurants, cafés and local shops. You will need hours to take it all in if you haven’t already.

Patinage en Foret:

Located 45 minutes away from Ottawa, adjacent to Gatineau Park, you can find this cool and unique place to skate along a 3 km forest trail. It certainly offers visitors a Canadian experience that is open to all. If you don’t skate, there are designated trails you can use to snowshoe or hike along. Rentals for skates, helmets, snowshoes are available in the chalet if needed, or you can order a snack together with a hot chocolate to warm up! For hours and more information, check out their website.

Outdoor skating rinks:

Ottawa is famous for its outdoor skating, especially on the Rideau Canal. The Canal usually opens in the new year, but there are many other great places to go skating right now. Visit Ottawa Tourism for a list of suggestions. Once the Canal is open for skating, make sure to grab a Beavertail along the way; they are delish!


Who is ready to hit some powder? If you are not familiar with Ottawa yet, I gathered a list of some ski hills in the Ottawa-Gatineau region:

  • Camp Fortune

  • Ski Vorlage

  • Anne Heggtveit Ski Hill

  • Mount Pakenham. This hill offers tubing as well. If you haven’t gone tubing before, you have been missing out. Make sure to grab some friends and prepare to have a blast!

And of course, Gatineau Park has many kilometers of excellent cross-country trails as well. Check out for more information. There are several shops in the Ottawa-Gatineau area that rent gear.

December is an exciting month when Ottawa is brightly decorated with thousands of lights and filled with events for you to enjoy. For now, keep these ideas in mind to motivate yourself to get through the week we have left. Best of luck with your studies and finals, Sprotties! Happy Holidays!