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Discover the Enchanting Rideau Canal Skateway: Ottawa's Winter Gem

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"Thru Nature's Lens" - A Blog by Celeste E. Reisinger

Experience the magic of winter at the Rideau Canal Skating Rink in Ottawa, a truly remarkable attraction that captivates locals and visitors alike. Every year, the National Capital Commission (NCC) undertakes a remarkable transformation, turning the historic Rideau Canal into the world's largest skating rink. Spanning an impressive 7.8 kilometres, the Rideau Canal Skateway winds its way through the heart of Ottawa, offering a unique and unforgettable skating experience.


Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal in winter becomes a true treasure that fills the National Capital with immense pride. As the temperatures drop and the canal freezes over, the city comes alive with excitement. The Skateway becomes a signature destination, drawing in people from all walks of life to enjoy the beauty and thrill of gliding along the frozen waterway.

1971: "It’s the very first season of the Rideau Canal Skateway!"
Reference: National Capital Commission - History of the Rideau Canal Skateway:


The skating season on the Rideau Canal typically runs from January to early March, providing ample time for locals and tourists to indulge in this winter wonderland. However, it's important to note that the opening and closing dates of the Skateway are weather-dependent. The NCC diligently monitors the ice conditions to ensure the safety of skaters, and the skateway is only open when it is deemed safe for use.


One of the most remarkable aspects of the Rideau Canal Skateway is its accessibility. Open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, this frozen marvel welcomes skaters at any time. Whether you prefer a peaceful morning skate, a romantic evening glide under the stars, or a lively afternoon with friends and family, the Skateway accommodates all preferences. Lace up your skates and embark on a journey along the frozen canal, taking in the breathtaking views of Ottawa's landmarks and picturesque surroundings.


To make your visit even more enjoyable, be sure to treat yourself to a delicious Beavertail, a Canadian pastry that is a must-try when in Ottawa. These delectable treats come in a variety of flavours, from classic cinnamon and sugar to decadent chocolate hazelnut. The warm, sugary goodness of a Beavertail is the perfect companion as you skate along the canal, adding an extra touch of sweetness to your experience.

1981: "BeaverTails® become a part of the Skateway experience, and the pastry stand finds a home on Dows Lake. Prior to 1981, the popular pastry was called “The Elephant Ear,” but the name was later changed to make it more Canadian."
Reference: National Capital Commission - History of the Rideau Canal Skateway:


And what better way to warm up on a chilly winter day than with a steaming cup of hot chocolate? Whether you prefer it plain and simple or topped with whipped cream and marshmallows, a cup of hot chocolate is the ultimate comfort drink. Sipping on this warm, velvety beverage while taking in the beauty of the canal is a true delight for the senses.


If you don't have your own skates, don't worry! The Rideau Canal offers skate rentals, ensuring that everyone can partake in the fun. Whether you're a seasoned skater or a beginner, the canal caters to all skill levels, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. So, even if you've never skated before, don't miss out on the opportunity to try it on this iconic rink.


The Rideau Canal Skating Rink is a must-visit destination for skating enthusiasts of all skill levels. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner, the skateway offers a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. The NCC ensures that the ice is well-maintained, regularly clearing snow and performing necessary maintenance to provide optimal conditions for skating.


As you glide along the Rideau Canal Skateway, you'll be immersed in a vibrant atmosphere filled with laughter, joy, and a sense of community. The Skateway is not just a skating rink; it is an extraordinary “winter experience” that must not be missed.

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