Another winter tradition kicked off in the capital Friday as the 33rd annual Winterlude festival opened at Jacques Cartier Park in Gatineau.

The festival will take place at several locations throughout the downtown core, including Confederation Park and the Rideau Canal Skateway, over the next three weekends. It is an annual attempt to bring some cheer to the dreary winter months.

"We want to tell people, ‘Let's embrace winter, let's celebrate what we share as a nation and let's be proud of the nation's capital,'" said Guy Laflamme, a spokesman for the National Capital Commission.

Winterlude draws thousands of tourists to the national capital region every year and has generated over $82 million in revenue for the city.

This year's festival was launched in part by the Ottawa Ice Hogs, the official mascots for Winterlude.

By Friday afternoon, many Ottawans were already enjoying Winterlude activities such as the slides at Jacques Cartier Park and the skateway.

Other activities will include a bed race on the canal, a pond hockey tournament, and ice sculptures.

A fireworks display was scheduled for Friday night at the Museum of Civilization to signal the official start of the festival.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Kristy Kirkup