Rideau Canal Skateway opens for its 48th Season

Rideau Canal Skateway opens for its 48th Season

The weather has been subarctic across Canada, but for those waiting for the skating season, one of the benefits has been anticipating the opening of the world's largest skating rink:  the Rideau Canal Skateway. For 7.8 kilometres it curves an arch through the centre of Ottawa -- from the Hartwell Locks at Carleton University to the canal's final descent to the Ottawa River in the heart of downtown.

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NHL Goes Outdoors

NHL Goes Outdoors

Canadians love their outdoor rinks -- the "ODR" as the teenagers call them. There's at least one in every neighbourhood, lovingly built and tended by community volunteers. Sometimes whole families get into the act -- going out on a cold, starlit night to clear the snow and flood the rink is part of growing up Canadian. 

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Thrawn: Skating when it's 40 below

Thrawn:  Skating when it's 40 below

The winter gods have a sense of humour. Last week, the temperatures were so warm, the Rideau Canal Skateway was covered with meltwater and had to be closed.  This weekend, it opens once more, but the thermometer drops to minus-29 and, with the wind chill, minus-40.

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First Canal Skate of the Season

First Canal Skate of the Season

The ice is a bit rough, but we expect that on the first day. Everyone on the Rideau Canal Skateway was just happy to have a 3.8 km portion of the world's longest skating rink open on a perfect winter afternoon -- sunny, minus 10 degrees, and no wind. Here's some pix.

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Rideau Canal Opens for Skating

Rideau Canal Opens for Skating

The season is starting late. Two years ago, we were skating the canal on New Year's Eve. The latest was February 2, 2002. Just couple of weeks ago, the canal was buried in snow. The ice was too thin for maintenance, and the temperatures refused to drop low enough to hurry the freezing process along.

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