Ottawa

Extra section of Rideau Canal Skateway opens after Winterlude wraps up

The National Capital Commission (NCC) has opened an additional section of the Rideau Canal Skateway, meaning visitors can now go along a stretch between Waverley and Bank streets.

Expansion comes after the NCC opened the canal on the final day of annual festival

A row of people walk and skate along a large section of ice. Behind them are trees and large buildings.
A row of skaters travel along the Rideau Canal Skateway on Feb. 20, 2024. On Tuesday afternoon the NCC opened an extra section of the skateway, one day after the end of Winterlude. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

The National Capital Commission (NCC) has opened an additional section of the Rideau Canal Skateway, meaning visitors can now skate along a stretch between Waverley and Bank streets.

In a social media post Tuesday afternoon, the NCC said the new section opened to skaters at 2 p.m., but rentals are not yet available.

The NCC is warning visitors to be mindful of the ice under the Pretoria Bridge and Highway 417.

Now, a total of 3.3 kilometres of ice are open to skaters, according to the NCC website. The skateway runs a total length of 7.8 kilometres.

On Monday, the NCC opened up a shorter section of the skateway between the Pretoria Bridge and Bank Street, just in time for the final day of Winterlude.

A season of shaky openings

On Sunday the NCC briefly let visitors onto the skateway, but recommended walking the canal instead of skating due to "very poor" ice conditions at the time.

That opening only lasted six hours. The NCC closed the skateway at 6 p.m. on Sunday to do "intensive ice maintenance."

Skaters got another chance on Jan. 21, when the NCC opened a short stretch between Bank Street and Pretoria Avenue. But that opening only lasted a few days until the weather forced the NCC to shut it down.

Ice on the canal needs to be at least 30 centimetres thick before the skateway can safely open, even thicker if the quality is poor.

People skate and walk on the Rideau Canal Skateway. The ice is covered in snow and its a cloudy day.
People skate and walk along the Rideau Canal Skateway on Feb. 18. On that day, the NCC recommended 'walking over skating' on the skateway because the ice was in poor condition. (Félix Pilon/CBC)

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