The nation's capital has survived an avalanche of snow in recent days — just in time for Winterlude. This is the 39th year of the famous Ottawa winter festival. And it has taken on special significance as Canada celebrates its 150th birthday.

Winterlude runs for two weeks, loaded with activities ranging from ice sculpting competitions, outdoors concerts and skating on the world’s largest skating rink, the frozen Rideau Canal (yes, Winnipeg, you can have your longest rink). While it’s branded a national event, it really is more of a local family friendly affair, lasting from February 5th to the 20th.

The concerts have a local Canadian flavor, and the Beaver Tails hot pastry stands are omnipresent. An ice sculptures competition leans on the spectacular side around Confederation Park.

There’s still time to enjoy it if you’re in the area, whether in Ottawa or Gatineau, until the end of the weekend. Whether you make it not, here's a glimpse of the brisk festivities.

Canada's 150th Anniversary branding is displayed ice sculptures. This one was at Confederation Park. Photo by Alex Tétreault

Evana Müren is a ten-year-old DJ who, accompanied by her dad DJ Carl Müren, from Montreal, kicked off the opening night show at Confederation Park. Photo by Alex Tétreault

Enthusiastic crowds enjoy a free outdoors show. Mild weather on opening night made for a smooth start. Photo by Alex Tétreault

Street performers on stilts worked the crowds during and between shows. Photo by Alex Tétreault

Ice sculptors hailed from Japan, Russia, the Philippines and even Mexico and Venezuela. Junichi Nakamura, of Japan takes a break from the competition to dust himself off. Photo by Alex Tétreault

First Nations themes were well represented this year. This sculpture, titled Wish for a Fish, was by Egor Stepanov and Alexey Andreev from Russia. They won third place in the pairs category. Photo by Alex Tétreault

Beyond Winterlude, the Rideau Canal is a commuting method for many downtown workers and students in Ottawa. Photo by Alex Tétreault

Skating on the canal is a popular activity and a common school outing. Photo by Alex Tétreault

Across the river at Jacques Cartier park in Gatineau, kids also have a blast on the ice slides. It's also a popular school group activity. Photo by Alex Tétreault

Or thoroughly enjoyed on one's own! Photo by Alex Tétreault

Whatever Winterlude activity you take part in, there is a Beaver Tails stand close by to cap off your day or evening, though you might have to stand in line to enjoy the popular hot pastry. Photo by Alex Tétreault

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