Rideau Canal Skateway temporarily closed again

Ottawa's Rideau Canal Skateway temporarily closed again Wednesday night.

Canal closed to skaters at 10 p.m. Wednesday

Someone carries skates on their shoulder as they walk on a snowy canal.
A person carries their skates as they walk on the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa after its reopening on Sunday. The National Capital Commission listed the ice condition as 'very poor' that day and recommended visitors walk. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Ottawa's Rideau Canal Skateway temporarily closed again Wednesday night.

The National Capital Commission (NCC), which manages skating, said in an update the canal would close at 10 p.m. to help preserve the ice during some warm temperatures expected in the next few days.

About 3.3 kilometres of the ice had been open to skaters between Waverley and Bank streets.

Skating the canal's 7.8-kilometre length between Carleton University to downtown is a favourite winter pastime for locals and visitors.

However, opportunities to skate it have been few and far between this winter.

A shorter stretch opened for a few days late in January before a warm spell shut it down.

Some of it opened again on Sunday, but snow made conditions so poor the NCC recommended walking over skating.

It's only been open four consecutive days this week, and hasn't yet opened near its northern or southern ends.

Crowd of people skate on a long, frozen river
Crowds of people skate on the canal on Family Day after a noon opening. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

In 2022-23 the canal never opened at all for skating and its northernmost stretch never opened in 2019-20. Pandemic rules and concerns hung over it in the two years in between.

There have been years of warnings about climate change shortening the skating season, as well as years of efforts by the NCC to do something about it.

On top of that, it's an El Niño year. That often means a milder and drier winter and that's what has happened in and around Ottawa.