Most of Rideau Canal Skateway opens as cold snap hits Ottawa

Most of Rideau Canal Skateway opens as cold snap hits Ottawa
Runners make their way along a path as people skate on the Rideau Canal Skateway on its opening day, in Ottawa on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018. A 2.7-kilometre section of the skateway opened at 8 a.m. Sunday, marking the earliest start to the skating season since 2004. The Rideau Canal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


As Ottawa’s wind chill dropped below -30 C Friday morning, the National Capital Commission  (NCC) opened up the majority of the outdoor Rideau Canal Skateway.

As of 8 a.m. on Friday, 7.2 kilometres of the 7.8-kilometre skateway are safe for skaters to hit the ice, the NCC said.

The canal is open from Hartwells Locks, through all of Dows Lake and up to the Laurier bridge downtown. The section north of the Laurier bridge remains closed.

The skateway ice conditions can change on short notice. Anyone hoping to strap on their blades can check the canal’s current conditions and what sections are open to the public using the NCC’s online  interactive map .

The canal’s 49th skating season kicked off on Dec. 30 and has been a bit touch-and-go since. The NCC first opened a 2.7-kilometre section that day, adding an extra kilometre on Friday, Jan. 4.

That weekend, however, the NCC closed down the canal over two days due to mild weather.

Now, the NCC — which manages the skateway — said it will continue working to open the final section of the canal “as soon as ice conditions are safe and weather permits.”

Until then, the federal Crown corporation asks residents and visitors to stay off the ice on the section downtown that remains closed.
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