NCC pegs weekend for Rideau Skateway opening

<p>Sharpen your skates. The Rideau Canal skateway could be open this weekend.</p>






Workers braved -20 C weather yesterday to flood the Rideau Canal near Pretoria Bridge, in preparation for opening a section of the world’s longest skateway this weekend. The cold snap has been timely for the National Capital Commission, which is looking for a deep-freeze to help ensure the canal is open for Ottawa’s signature Winterlude festival in February.

Sharpen your skates. The Rideau Canal skateway could be open this weekend.

A few more days like yesterday, with temperature below -15C, should improve the quality and thickness of the ice enough to open a section of the canal to skaters between the Corktown and Bank Street bridges, according to National Capital Commission officials.

“The weather has been very encouraging and we are hoping to have the first section open this weekend,” said spokeswoman Kathryn Keyes.

It wasn’t long ago that a January thaw melted stockpiled snow in Gatineau’s Jacques Cartier Park and hurt ice quality on the canal, raising the idea of Winterlude starting without the skateway. But recent cold weather has improved conditions “significantly” and crews have been out flooding the canal surface with water pumped from below the ice.

The NCC updates the condition of the canal on an information hotline, at 613-239-5234. The Rideau Canal Skateway is a primary venue for the three-week long Winterlude festivities, which kick off on Feb. 1.

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