The canal freezes over -- but not for long

Winter roared in with a blast last week, just in time to cover the football field at TD Place while the Ottawa Redblacks and the Edmonton Eskimos battled for the right to represent the Eastern Conference for tomorrow's Grey Cup.

Canadians are a hardy lot. The statue of the legendary Ottawa coach, Frank Clare, didn't seem to mind the weather. The fact that Ottawa won the game was enough to keep us warm -- sorta...

But the skating weather is definitely on its way. Over the next days, ice started to form on the Rideau Canal.

The temperatures at night did more to help turn November's canal into January's skateway.

That picture was taken at the top of Bank Street Bridge, where it crosses over the Rideau Canal.

At the north end of Bank Street Bridge is Lansdowne Park, where we held Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate last year, because the weather on January 16, 2015, was still too warm for the canal to open.  This is the square where the snow sculptures were built as part of the Winterlude festival.

Here's how it the square looked last February.

Here's Patterson Creek.  In a month or two, it will be a picturesque little inlet where the skaters come to practice their twirls away from the crowds on the main channel of the Rideau Canal Skateway.

The weather has been getting warmer this weekend, and although that's good news for most people in Ottawa, it's disappointing for those of us who want an early season on the skateway. Today, however, was perfect for snowballs and snowmen.

We're keeping a close watch on how the ice is forming at Dow's Lake, where we'll be gathering on January 28th at the pavilion. 

In the meantime, six Canadian cities have come forward with plans for a kilt skate to honour Sir John A. Macdonald.  We're working with the Scottish government to make these events the best yet, and I hope we'll have some good news to announce in the coming days.