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History and Significance of Winterlude Festival

Question:

Explain about one of the most important and widely popular festivals of Canada is the Winterlude festival.
 

In the recent world of globalization, various countries, with their own cultural heritage and national events and regional festivals, are becoming an interesting source of amusement and delight for the tourists, who are coming to explore the cultural and regional taste of the other sphere of the world. Hence, the celebration of cultural festivals not only helps in strengthening the bond and unity among all the members of a cultural community, but it also largely benefits the economy of the nation, by attracting a huge number of tourists from different spheres of the world. Canada is one of the very few countries in the world, which boasts of a huge and varied number of cultural festivals, such as the Vancouver light festival or the Toronto International Film Festival, and as a result, the country earns a huge revenue for the country. Hence, proper and well organized management of these events is very much important to ensure the satisfactory experience of the tourists (Jones et al., 2014).

One of the most important and widely popular festivals of Canada is the Winterlude festival, which is annually held in the month of February, precisely the time when the temperature of the country dips down the most. The festival is regarded as one of the most important festivals of Canada, in terms of the greatest amount of economic impact it exercises on the revenue of the country. The festival is held every year, during the month of February and it spans over, usually from the first to the third weekend of the month. The festival, which is celebrated in the capital city of Canada, every year, is capable of earning an average amount of $151 million annually.  The history of the cultural program dates back to the year of 1979, when it was started by the National Capital Commission, and since then, the Winterlude festival has been able to attract a huge number of tourists across the globe. The tourists undertake a tour of the city, during the February month each year, to be a part of the celebration of winter(Heritage et al., 2014).

The Winterlude festival set a new record recently, in the year of 2007, when it succeeded in witnessing a visit of as much as 1.6 million tourists. These tourists are attracted to the site of Canada during the unusually cold season, with sub-zero temperature condition, and the beauty of the snowfall. Further, the festival offering the tourists to explore the various fun and interesting activities in Rideau Canal Skateway, Dow’s Lake, Byward Market, is an icing on the cake for the visitors, as well as the natives. The most fascinating part of the festival is that it not only offers an alluring opportunity to the participants, to enjoy the ice-skating activities in and around these snowy regions, but it also has provision for some interesting competitions to enthuse the participants of all age groups. All the Canadian sites, which are chosen for the celebration of the festival, are covered with snow and melted ice, and these places are used for holding concerts, musical performances, sculpture making competition, and many more. One of the most important USBs of the festival is that, unlike many festivals across the world, this festival offers an incredible source of delight even for the children. The festival offers varied chances to the children to enjoy their holiday, by taking a ride on the sledge, by participating in the workshops which can train them to make igloos and icy sculptures, and to dance to the tune of loud music at night, while also enjoying the dainty Canadian dishes ("CANADIAN, CAPITAL AND UNIQUE: THE 33RD WINTERLUDE AND THE 41ST SEASON OF THE RIDEAU CANAL SKATEWAY", 2016). 

Attractions and Activities at Winterlude Festival

The Winterlude festival is annually held each year in the capital city of Canada, Ottawa Gatineau , and it was started with the mission of celebrating the climate of the northern region of Canada, particularly during the month of February. During this time of the year, Canada turns out to be one of the coldest places in the world, with the temperature dipping down at night, as much as, to -20 Degree Celsius. The snowfall, ice rink and the icy slides, offer picturesque scenery for even the Canadians to enjoy, who come out of their houses, to play with ice, and to skate, and enjoy to the fullest ("Winterlude", 2016).

Apart from the native Canadians, the Winterlude festival is also an important source of delight for the Canadians living abroad, who join their family and friends during the celebration time of the festival. One of the major reasons, as to why Canadian government has been able to celebrate the festival with great pomp and splendor, along the years, is the huge revenue it is being able to draw from the tourists. In fact, studies suggest that the country makes an approximate investment of $4 million, each year, while the revenue it is being able to draw from the festival sums up to an enormous amount of $43 million. As a result, the Winterlude festival, is much valued In Canada, taking into consideration, the valuable contribution, it makes to the event tourism related activity of the country ("38th Winterlude festival kicks off in Ottawa-Gatineau", 2016). The festival is also known for celebration of themed events related to the Canadian culture. Although, for the tourists of Canada, the various programs, such as the Ice Hogs festival, is but only a source of great amusement for the children, whereby they get to enjoy the company of Papa Ice Hog, Mama Ice Hog, and their children, but the whole theme has a story deeply rooted in the Canadian culture. The incorporation of the Ice Hogs Program, in the Winterlude festival, is mainly due to a Canadian myth, which says that during the Ice Age, these mysterious hogs actually had crossed the Bering Strait and had come over to live in the Ottawa region of Canada ("Winterlude Ottawa - Canada's Winter Festival 2017 | Canada, Dates , Venues & Tickets", 2016).

Winterlude is one of the most important festivals of Canada. The festival not only revolves around the celebration of an unusually cold temperature of the nation during February, but it also helps in the spread of the Canadian culture among the foreign tourists. The Hogs Family, which is an important theme in the festival, is itself a part of a Canadian ancient story. The celebration helps the country to showcase its national interest as well as talent before the tourists, as various cultural institutions get engaged in exhibitions through the festival. Economically speaking, Winterlude boosts the revenue of the country incredibly, as it even reaches higher than $42 million in the last year, where amidst extremely frigid weather also, people preferred to celebrate outdoors. However, the Winterlude festival contaminates the environment largely. For the sake of celebration of the Winterlude, much amount of salt is scattered on the roads, and after the festival gets over, about 22 million tons of salt simply run off into the water bodies, thereby contaminating them as well.

Economic Impact of Winterlude Festival

Canada is one of the few places in the world, which brags of a presence of huge number of cultural festivals, which are internationally recognized all over the world. Consequently, the Winterlude festival is not only celebrated with great enthusiasm among the natives of Canada, but it also draws a huge number of people across the globe. This whole idea of event tourism is very valuable, as it not only helps the country in earning an enormous amount of revenue, but it also helps Canada share its cultural and regional values, with other parts of the world. Hence, an organized and very well-managed approach is required in the process of showcasing the events, and designing the activities related to the festival ("Ottawa Winterlude: Top Festivals & Events in Ottawa, Ontario", 2016).

In the whole process of event management, as far as the Canadian Winterlude festival is concerned, the event managers will need to focus on three primary issues, related to the festival:

  • The economic aspect- Here, the event managers will have to consider the budget of the given year, and the activities that they will invest the money in
  • The organizational aspect: The event mangers will be required to make a note of what are the activities to be included, and how to organize the events, activities, by listing down the programs, the names and contact number of the artists to be contacted, creating an attractive infrastructure.
  • The leading aspect: Here, the leaders are also needed to lead, direct as well as motivate the subordinates and fellow mates, to implement all the plans matching the strategy (Stadler et al., 2014).

The Winterlude festival is quite an expensive festival of Canada, and it usually requires a huge amount of money , approximately $4 million, every year, to be able to successfully sponsor the festival. As a result, the event managers have to pay much attention to the process, of splitting the total budget into various activities. The major part of the budget has to be spent for arranging the skating shows, the icy slides, and the snow parks, in and around the region of Ottawa. The most attractive places of Ottawa, such as Confederation Park or the Dow’s Lake, are mainly selected for this festival (Yeoman et al., 2012). The event managers, have to hire these places, and then spend a required amount of money, for arranging the ice skating shows. Further, the event managers of Canada, also has to spend an amount of money on the musical programs, dance shows, and other amusement programs hosted by Ottawa during the festival. The whole act of event management also includes, listing down the names of the artists, who are going to host the music and dance show ("Hot music to heat up icy nights at Winterlude", 2016). In addition, the event mangers also keep back up plan, and hence have to pay few minor artists, in case the actual ones fail to turn up on the day of the event. Thus, the whole process of event management also includes the area of risk management (Andersson et al. , 2014). 

The Winterlude festival is not only about the winter celebration, but it also exhibits various events such as music shows, DJ dance parties, etc. For this reason, the event managers must have good contact and communication with various artists, who are professionally excellent, so that whatever performance they deliver, must meet the expectations of the foreign tourists. Although, the Winterlude is a famous cultural festival of Canada, everyone is more or less aware of it (Robertson et al., 2012). Yet, the event managers should opt for wide publicity, through social and printed media channels. For example, the event organizers pay a huge amount of money every year to Amex, to  become its official brand ambassador. As the celebration starts off, the party not only exhibits music and dance shows, but also interesting activities hosted by colorful cartoon characters, and the event managers will be needed to hire professional actors, for entertaining the tourists. The Rideau Canal will become the stage for some major performances, such as some special winter games, fun activities, sledge riding , sculpture making competition, and the organizers have to invest much on the infrastructure required for such festivals. In addition, taking the tourists on a tour in the Canadian museum, discussing and explaining the objects of cultural significance also forms a major function of the event planners of Canada (Beech et al., 2014).

Canadian Culture and Winter Celebrations at Winterlude Festival

The event planners are also required to create a sense of synergy and a sense of integration among the subordinates. The success of the event management process depends much on the act of co-ordination among the organizers (Getz , 2013). The event planners have to ensure that they instill a sense of confidence, collaboration and positivity among the team members, so that they can work jointly towards a particular vision. The Winterlude festival, is not only a celebration for the Canadians, but a huge number of people crowd the Ottawa region, at this time, and hence, the event planners have to ensure that the events organized by them are able to satisfy the tourists, to help in tourist retention purpose (Jones , 2014). It will be important to constantly boost the efficiency of the workers, by motivating them to work harder towards the goal of implementing an organized plan.

As previously mentioned a grand event such as Winterlude will require huge recognition through sponsorship. OLG and CIBC are two great sponsors of the event. As a result of this joint sponsorship by the two organizations, the participants of the Winterlude festival will gain free access to the Sno-Bus, which will take them on a drive to various Winterlude sites absolutely at no cost and this will thereby increase the satisfaction of the consumers. Further, OLG will be responsible for organizing all the cultural and musical events of the festival. 

Conclusion:

To conclude, it should be remembered that the Winterlude program, is one of the most important festivals of Canada, not only as it serves thrilling experience to the participants, but also because it helps in promoting the sites of Canada outside the nation. The Canadian authority must ensure that it invests sufficiently, to host and organize more interesting events in future, so that it can attract greater number of tourists annually(Merkel et al., 2013).

Since, the Winterlude program earns a huge amount of revenue for the country, the Canadian government should invest more on strategic event management, so as to ensure maximum possible tourist satisfaction. The major problem in organizing the Winterlude festival successfully is that it requires unusually cold temperature, to be able to form ice, needed for making igloos, riding on sledges, or creating snow sculptures (Liu et al., 2014). However, it often happens that in a particular year, during the celebration of the festival, the climate is not cold enough to form ice. Keeping this in mind, the event planners should organize some additional source of amusement for the tourists, so that in case the climate does not allow the perfect condition for skating activities in the ice skating ring, the tourists do not feel discontent. Fairs, exhibitions, DJ night shows, can be arranged for this reason. The official mascots for this Canadian festival, the Icy Hogs, is a source of great delight and recreation, for the children, as they play with ice with them, and also let the families take picture with them. However, in addition to this Icy Hog, incorporation of some more interesting cartoon personalities can really be delightful for the young ones (Andersson et al., 2014). During the month of February, when the Winterlude is celebrated, the climate is unusually unfavorable for organizing an event. Moreover, a large number of people are coming from outside Canada, and as such they are unaccustomed to the cold weather; so the organizers must arrange sufficiently for providing rest room, campfire, warm drinks. Medical aid should be available round the clock in the tourist venues, for treating and curing frostbites, hypothermia, etc (Yeoman et al., 2014). Although the center of tourist attraction of the festival is the ice and snow filled regions, the event planners should ensure that the side streets, parking lots, etc are cleared of ice, so as to avoid the inconvenience for the tourists. The managers should not only arrange the food selling stores, but should focus more on stores selling hot chocolate, warm drinks, etc to keep away the possibility of dehydration. The event planning authority can also hold exhibitions, selling Canadian handicraft products, which will help the country earn a considerable amount of revenue, and which will also assist the country in the preservation of its ethnical crafts, publicizing the same around the world (Quinn , 2013). 

Reference List: 

38th Winterlude festival kicks off in Ottawa-Gatineau. (2016). Cbc.ca. Retrieved 10 June 2016, 

Andersson, T. D., Getz, D., & Mykletun, R. J. (Eds.). (2014). Festival and event management in Nordic countries. Routledge.

Andersson, T. D., Getz, D., & Mykletun, R. J. (Eds.). (2014). Festival and event management in Nordic countries. Routledge.

Beech, J., Kaiser, S., & Kaspar, R. (2014). The Business of events management. Pearson Higher Ed.

CANADIAN, CAPITAL AND UNIQUE: THE 33RD WINTERLUDE AND THE 41ST SEASON OF THE RIDEAU CANAL SKATEWAY. (2016). 

Getz, D. (2013). Event studies. Routledge.

Heritage, C. (2014). Winterlude Lets Canada’s Capital Region Shine.

Hot music to heat up icy nights at Winterlude. (2016). Cbc.ca. Retrieved 10 June 2016, 

Jones, M. (2014). Sustainable event management: A practical guide. Routledge.

Jones, M. (2014). Sustainable event management: A practical guide. Routledge.

Liu, Y. D. (2014). Cultural events and cultural tourism development: Lessons from the European capitals of culture. European Planning Studies, 22(3), 498-514.

Merkel, U. (2013). Power, politics and international events: Socio-cultural analyses of festivals and spectacles. Routledge.

Quinn, B. (2013). Key concepts in event management. Sage.

Robertson, M., & Wardrop, K. M. (2012). Events and the destination dynamic: Edinburgh festivals, entrepreneurship and strategic marketing.Festival and Events Management, 115.

Stadler, R., Fullagar, S., & Reid, S. (2014). The professionalization of festival organizations: A relational approach to knowledge management.Event Management, 18(1), 39-52.

Winterlude Ottawa - Canada's Winter Festival 2017 | Canada, Dates , Venues & Tickets. (2016).

Winterlude. (2016). Ottawa Festivals d'Ottawa. Retrieved 10 June 2016,

Yeoman, I., Robertson, M., Ali-Knight, J., Drummond, S., & McMahon-Beattie, U. (Eds.). (2012). Festival and events management. 

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[Accessed 25 February 2024].

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