David Gonczol/for metro ottawa


Robert Taillefer checks out the thickness of the Rideau Canal ice yesterday at the entrance to Dow’s Lake.

Skating enthusiasts rejoice! With just days left in January, a 1.2-kilometre swath of the world’s largest skateway will open today.

Days of consistent cold weather and work crews’ grooming will see the National Capital Commission open the Rideau Canal Skateway between Bank Street and Fifth Avenue today.

The opening is earlier than the NCC had hoped, said NCC spokeswoman Kathryn Keyes, and workers were out putting finishing touches on the skateway yesterday, building ice by watering the snow and testing the thickness along its length.

“I think people have been anxious to skate on the world’s largest skating rink,” said Keyes. “It’s a winter tradition for residents and visitors alike. Weather permitting, we hope to have an even larger area for them to skate on as soon as Saturday.”

The iconic image of government workers skating to work on the canal will get a boost this year as the NCC announced a new pilot project with OC Transpo yesterday.

The Skate O-Train initiative allows riders to take the O-Train to Carling Station and then skate to work from Dow’s Lake, said Keyes.