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Ottawa Rideau Canal Skating

ottawa rideau canal skatingThe Ottawa Rideau Canal skating rink is the longest skating rink in the world at 7.8 km in length. Every year once the weather is cold enough to adequately freeze the water and create ice, workers begin creating the longest rink in the world. The ice thickness needs to be approximately 15 to 17 inches thick to support the crowds of people who come to skate on the canal each weekend. If it is not thick enough, several things can occur. The ice can crack and it can also begin sinking causing water to flow onto the ice. With 6 to 15 feet of water underneath it would not be pleasant for the ice to sink under the weight of 1000’s of people skating.

Click on this link to a Youtube video I made. Click here This is s short 37 second video I made of the canal showing the rest areas, the fast food shacks with hot chocolate and beaver tales etc.

The other end of the canal branches to two different end points. One end is at the Dows lake ottawa rideau canal skatingpavilion just off Carling ave at the experimental farm. There is a restaurant there, a small area to park and the outside fast food shacks that provide coffee, hot chocolate, beaver tails and more. The picture on the left also shows the map of the entire canal skate way. This location is at the bottom right of the picture with the small area that juts towards the bottom of the picture. You can also skate all the way to Carleton University, which is the far right on the picture. There is no changing area or services at this point. There are benches to sit on while you change your skates and stairs to reach the university property.

Our next picture shows the end point that we just discussed. It is 7.8 km’s from the ottawa rideau canal skatingdowntown Ottawa beginning of the canal.  The ice on this particular day was excellent. This area of the canal is not used as much as some of the other areas and usually is in better shape. Ottawa contractors flood the ice each night after clearing any snow that may have accumulated. They have giant rotating brushes mounted on tractors that go all night to clear the ice before it is flooded. As long as the temperatures stay cold the ice can be flooded and kept in excellent condition. I spoke to one of the canal maintenance persons about the ice conditions. He told me that the contractor they use has experience building ice roads in the far north to support tractor trailers. This guy obviously knows what he is doing and does a great job. Towards the end of the season there is not much you can do when temperatures start to warm up. The ice becomes soft and the skates leave ridges and soft spots. Regardless of when you skate always watch for cracks in the ice and areas that could trip you. No one needs a fall that could cause an bruises or worse.

Ottawa has people patrolling in trucks as well as on skates to help anyone who needs it. With ottawa rideau canal skatingsuch a long canal, the use of small trucks to get to someone can reduce the time  a great deal. Although the picture does not really show a good ice surface, it is actually quite good on the day I went skating. This location is across from the University of Ottawa near the down town areas. Many people actually skate to work or skate to their university classes. There are also student trips to Ottawa every day as well. The students get to skate on the canal, have a hot chocolate and a beaver tail. These are especially good with your favorite topping. Chocolate, jam, syrup, cinnamon sugar are some of the favorites. You can purchase these items on the canal at four different locations. They have picnic tables set up on the ice as well while you enjoy your treat! A trip to the canal to skate on the worlds longest skating rink is well worth the effort and the time.

Click on this link to a Youtube video I made. Click here This is s short 37 second video I made of the canal showing the rest areas, the fast food shacks with hot chocolate and beaver tales etc.

For many more posts about things to do in Canada’s capital city, click here.

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