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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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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Kilt Skate by the Henry Moore

Kilt Skate by the Henry Moore

We've been trying to bring kilt skating to Toronto, so when a conference brings you to the big city, then pack the skates and the kilt, bring along the flag, and see if you can make some friends. 

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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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Pictures from Calgary

Pictures from Calgary

It was a bitterly cold Saturday in Alberta, but the Optimist Clubs in Calgary and High River stoked the fire pits at the Olympic Plaza skating rink, and strapped on their skates. A few strapped tartan towels, courtesy of Canadian Tire, around their waists.  But some brave souls were willing to embrace the cold with enthusiasm and joy.  Well done, Calgary!

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Showtime, Calgary!

Showtime, Calgary!

The Chinook winds have cleared away much of the snow in the Stampede City. But the Arctic front has returned and the forecast calls for a dusting of snow and a wind chill of minus 20 by the time the Optimist Clubs in Calgary and High River launch the 2nd Annual Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate. Once again, the skate will take place at Olympic Plaza between noon and 4 p.m.

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What would Sir John A. think?

What would Sir John A. think?

The Rink of Dreams is a wonderful facility -- an oval lit overhead and with illuminated sideboards that change colours. At that hour, there were only a handful of skaters, but more and more arrived as the evening darkened.

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