Waiting for the canal to open

The cold snap continues, and we have hopes that the Rideau Canal Skateway will open soon. The National Capital Commission won't raise the green flags until there's 30 cms of good ice -- enough to support crowds of 10,000 people who show up for Winterlude at a given time.

The crews are out in force, pumping water through holes drilled through the ice. They'll thicken the ice layer until it's strong enough to hold ice-making machinery. Then we'll see the specially-designed ice-makers, like zambonis with dragonfly wings -- laying down sheet after sheet of water.

A couple of years ago, the Skateway opened on New Year's Eve. In 2002, the opening was delayed until February 2 -- the latest so far. With extended cold weather forecast for this week, we hope we'll be out on the canal ice very soon.

In the meantime, to keep us up-to-date on ice preparations, the NCC maintains a facebook page.  Check it out for further information.

  National Capital Commission (NCC) crews groom the Rideau Canal to turn it into the Skateway.  Still lots of work to do!

National Capital Commission (NCC) crews groom the Rideau Canal to turn it into the Skateway.  Still lots of work to do!