Residents of this city of long, harsh winters love to be outside, whatever the season.

The Rideau Canal, Ottawa's most famous outdoor attraction, doubles as one of the world's largest ice-skating rinks. The 7.8km of groomed ice is roughly the size of 90 Olympic-sized hockey rinks. Rest stops and changing stations are sprinkled throughout, but, more importantly, take note of the wooden kiosks dispensing scrumptious slabs of fried dough called beavertails. The three skate and sled rental stations are located at the steps of the National Arts Centre, Dow's Lake and 5th Ave.

Several nearby ski resorts offer a variety of alpine and cross-country trails. In the Gatineau Hills, about 20km from downtown, over 50 groomed slopes are available. Camp Fortune is a year-round adventure spot whose ski runs turn into a mountain biking and zip-lining paradise in summer. Popular ski resort Mont Cascades also flips its tricks in the summer, operating an expansive waterpark. Mount Pakenham, 65km west of Ottawa, is a strictly winter affair. Cross-country skiers will love the trails in Gatineau Park.