Winter may be wearing on some Ottawans, but thousands of other residents and tourists would welcome a blast of cold to kick-start Ottawa’s iconic skating season on the Rideau Canal.

But skaters are going to have to wait until the area gets a few more sustained days of cold weather, said National Capital Commission spokeswoman Kathryn Keyes.

The Rideau Canal Skateway remains closed and it is considered dangerous to venture onto the ice, which in places is thick, but not what the NCC considers ice that can sustain skaters’ weight.


The ice measures around 30 centimetres in most places, but there are spots where the ice is still thin.

“We need about three to four days of cold weather in the -15 to -20 C range,” she said.

“We’re hoping for a cold spell. It’ll be at least a few days before we’re able to open the world’s largest skating rink.”

According to Keyes, people are eager to get out onto the skateway. “We’re working as hard as possible to get it open as soon as possible,” said Keyes. “The only thing we can’t control is the weather.”

The NCC has maintenance crews standing by to flood the skateway in the event of cold temperatures.

In the meantime, the NCC is taking measures to ensure everyone knows to stay off the ice, Keyes said. Signs at all stairways leading to the skateway warn of ice conditions, and the NCC updates the canal’s status on its website regularly.

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