Well, it was sunny and 14 outside less than a week ago but as I look out the window today, the ground is covered in snow and the wind makes it feel like the arctic. For many of you this will be your first winter in Ottawa and for some of you this will be your first Canadian winter. For all of the first timers out there, it is only going to get colder and the piles of snow are going to grow significantly, but lucky for you, me and everyone else at Carleton we have tunnels! To help you make the most of your first Ottawa winter we put together some tips for enjoying the snow and cool temperatures.

  1. Get out on the Canal

skating-rideau-canal

“So, did you skate on the canal?”, is just one of the questions you will definitely hear when people find out you go to school in Ottawa. The Rideau Canal is the iconic centerpiece of the epic winters in Ottawa and lucky enough for you the portion of the canal that can be skated on starts right behind res! For the perfect winter afternoon, grab your skates, bring a backpack with shoes or boots in it and skate right into downtown for a drink or two and then skate or bus back to campus.

  1. Parliament light show
    sound-and-light-show-on-parliament-hill-northern-lights-1

This Ottawa Christmas tradition starts on December 7 and runs right through to January 7! The light show last 13 minutes and plays continuously each night between 5:30 and 11pm. If you’re looking to take a break from the exam stress, this is an awesome way to escape the library or your room for a little fresh air and holiday fun.

  1. Have a Beavertail

250px-beaver_tails_byward_market_ottawa_canada“Oh, you went to school in Ottawa? How great are Beavertails?” – You will be asked this question without a doubt, whether it is by friends, family or random acquaintances. So, do yourself a favour and grab a Beavertail, whether it is on the canal or downtown in the market, you wont regret it!

  1. Watch a hockey game

ravens-hockey-615x410Hockey, Canada and Winter go together like peanut butter, jam and bread. There is nothing like grabbing a group of friends on a chilly winter night and heading out to watch a hockey game. We are lucky at Carleton to have so much great hockey around us, whether it is our Men’s or Women’s Ravens teams, the Ottawa 67’s of the OHL or the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. Bonus for students, you can always get cheap seats to games, making it an affordable night out for everyone.

  1. Tobogganing

161Just across the canal is a perfect hill for tobogganing, so whether you are going down the hill on a Tupperware lid or a legitimate toboggan we are positive that you will have a blast flying down the hill.

  1. Skiing/Snowboarding

monttremblant-ski-resort-monttremblant-quebec-canada_mainCarleton has a pretty awesome ski and snowboard club that will fill up a bus or two every Sunday during the winter and make the two-hour drive to Tremblant. If you aren’t ready for the big mountain or don’t want to make the long drive, there are a ton great hills around Ottawa, including, Mount Pakenham, Camp Fortune and Mont Cascades.

We hope that these activities help you make the most out of your winter in Ottawa and remember when in doubt, just take the tunnels.