Despite cold conditions, canal remains closed

Catherine Kitts
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NCC warns skaters to stay off ice

Despite freezing temperatures that almost reached -40 this week, the National Capital Commission (NCC) is warning residents that the Rideau Canal in Ottawa's downtown is not yet ready for skaters.

Icy temperatures don't mean that the ice is stable for skaters, NCC warns. (Photo: Archives)

It is currently dangerous to venture onto the surface of the Rideau Canal," said the NCC on its website, Dec. 16.  "Please note that the presence of work crews on the Skateway must not be construed as a sign that the ice surface is stable. The Rideau Canal Skateway team is made up of professionals who know how to manage the risks of their work."

The water level beneath the ice surface varies from approximately one metre (three feet) to 4.3 metres (14 feet) along the length of the Rideau Canal between downtown Ottawa and Dows Lake.

The Rideau Canal Skateway typically opens in the first half of January. The ice thickness must measure at least 30 centimetres (12 inches) to accommodate the weight of the public on the Skateway.

Once the ice thickens, with sustained cold weather, the NCC says it will be working hard to open the world’s largest skating rink as soon as possible.

"The NCC urges everyone to keep personal safety in mind, and asks pedestrians and skaters not to venture onto the Rideau Canal Skateway."

Signs have been posted at Skateway access points to advise the public of the danger. The NCC says it will officially launch the 44th skating season on the world’s largest skating rink once the ice conditions are safe and weather permits. 


Organizations: NCC

Geographic location: Ottawa, Dows Lake

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