For 500 businesses and 250 storefronts in the ByWard Market, Winterlude provides a shot in the arm for what would normally be a slower time of year.

Thanks to the influx of tourists that are brought in by the Winterlude festivities and the opening of the Rideau Canal Skateway, businesses in the market see a “really important spike,” said Jasna Jennings, executive director of the ByWard Market Business Improvement Area.

“Winterlude is typically one of those busy times of year that the businesses look to make their year,” said Jennings.

Nearly all the hotels in the market and surrounding area are completely sold out of rooms during the event, said Jantine Van Kregten, director of communications for Ottawa Tourism. “The Chateau Laurier has been sold out for a while, the Westin is full, the Marriott is full, the Lord Elgin is full.”

According to the National Capital Commission, 650,000 people attend Winterlude annually, one-third of which are from out of town.

“In general, our core markets are Ontario and Quebec, and 85 per cent of our visitors are Canadian,” said Van Kregten. “Winterlude does have an appeal that stretches beyond our borders. Last weekend, we welcomed groups from Japan, Korea, Germany, the UK and Mexico.”

As long as the weather is good, tourists are taking the opportunity to explore Ottawa at the same time, Jennings said. “Being the Number One tourist attraction, they end up in the market.”

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