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NCC 'not speculating' on opening of Canal’s 40th season - Metro US

NCC ‘not speculating’ on opening of Canal’s 40th season

Temperatures have plummeted of late and National Capital Commission workers could be seen flooding the ice on the world’s largest skating rink over the weekend.

But there’s still a ways to go before skaters can take to the Rideau Canal Skateway, an NCC spokesperson said yesterday.

“The weather has been quite unpredictable,” said Jasmine Leduc, referring to the balmy days the nation’s capital received around Christmas. “In December, we had temperatures above zero and at zero, which slowed down the process.

“We’re not speculating about whether the ice is ready.”

When the ice finally opens, it will mark the 40th skating season for the skateway, which measures 7.8 kilometres long and 165,621 square metres.

Last weekend, the NCC did intense flooding on a 4.3-kilometre stretch of the ice surface between the National Arts Centre and the Bank Street Bridge “in order to maximize the ice growth,” Leduc said.

Workers are also continuing to clear the snow —which acts as a thermal blanket for the ice surface — for that same reason.

Today, workers will also be out testing the thickness of the ice, which needs to be 30 centimetres thick before it is opened for skating. This takes 14 days of cold weather with temperatures of -15 C degrees, excluding windshield factors.

On average, the skateway opens during the first couple of weeks in January, Leduc said. Last year it opened on New Year’s Day.

The earliest opening day was Dec. 18, 1981, while the latest opening was Feb. 2, 2002.

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