"If you build it, they will come." And they did. The skating rink on Parliament Hill opened to the public on Thursday, December 7. Judging from public response in the first few days of operation, this is going to be a very popular Ottawa destination this winter.
The Canada 150 rink is open from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on weekdays, and from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on weekends. Skating sessions are about 45 minutes, and the rink can accommodate up to 200 people at a time.
Skaters are encouraged to arrive an hour to 45 minutes before their allotted time slot -- although the Ottawa Citizen reported that it took only two minutes to get checked through security.
For Nicole Feriancek, writing for the Ottawa Citizen, it was all worth the effort: "As you whirl across the ice, you’re struck by the sheer magnitude of the architecture, the sepia-coloured stones, the ting of the clocktower bells. It’s almost unreal, like the backdrop of a movie set or a funhouse optical illusion. The rink is so flat and the buildings are so close, it’s as if the Parliament buildings are all pressing against you. You turn a corner and feel as if you could smack into the East Block. It’s magic."
Some time slots are not available for public skating because of special events that are planned., such as the December 15 Ottawa Senators Alumni Game at 7 p.m. Team Alfredsson will face off against Team Phillips.
The 2017 Scotiabank NHL100 Classic Outdoor Hockey Game will not be held on Parliament Hill, but at Lansdowne Park. However, the day after the Classic, the Ottawa Senators will host a Christmas-themed skate, with refreshments, prizes, Christmas music, photo opportunities, Spartacat, Santa and more.
Here's a video one enthusiast made on the first day, and posted to Youtube.
The Canada 150 rink will remain open until February 25, 2018.