Travel Blog


Rideau Canal Skating in Ottawa

One of the great things to do in Ottawa during the winter time is to go skating on the Rideau Canal Skating in OttawaRideau Canal. It begins downtown by the Arts Center , which is just beyond the bridge shown in the picture and if conditions are good you can skate for over two miles all the way to Dows lake!  Rideau Canal Skating in Ottawa. The Canal is part of the Ottawa scene and also occupies a part of history for Canada. It was originally constructed as a transportation channel as a means of defending Canada from the Americans. Later it became a shipping channel and today pleasure boats can travel all of the way from the Ottawa river to  the St Lawrence River near Kingston Ontario in the summer time.

Skating on the Rideau Canal Skating in Ottawa

In the winter time, when temperatures are cold enough the canal will freeze sufficiently to support large crowds of skaters. The National capital commission and the City of Ottawa participate in maintaining the canal. It is flooded nightly, when conditions permit to maintain a smooth skating surface. The canal has become one of the many tourist draws for people coming to Ottawa as well as residents enjoying the canal during winter and summer months. The canal is usually ready around the end of December and skating is to the end of Feb most years. It all depends on the winter temperatures.

The picture above and the picture below were taken around 4:30 in the evening during Feb. The sky is beginning to get dark. Skaters can enjoy skating on the canal all day long and also into the evening up to around 11pm at night. After that skaters are asked to remain off the canal so that it can be flooded and the water allowed to freeze properly before it is skated on. Locals know that pristine ice surfaces are available for skating in the early morning hours on a cold day. Just make sure you are bundled up and have a hot chocolate prior to heading out on the canal.

Changing Rooms

There are change rooms or ice huts as they are called for people to go into and change. These huts are quite large and they are heated as well so if you do get cold, they are a good place to get warm. We recommend that you carry a bag with you to carry your shoes and boots. It is not recommended to leave your boots etc in the huts. There are also benches along the canal were you can stop to rest or to adjust your skates. The city is trying to think of all of the things you might need to ensure that you enjoy Rideau Canal Skating in Ottawa.

In addition to the huts on the canal for changing, there are also venders selling hot chocolate and beaver tails along various locations of the canal. They are open during busier hours. You might want to check for their hours of operation before you go skating on the Rideau Canal. By the way a beaver tail is a flour pastry in the shape of a beaver tail. Usually coated with brown sugar and jam. They are excellent especially when served hot! This is Rideau Canal Skating in Ottawa.

Skate to Work

Some local residents will even use the canal to get to work. They may put on their skates somewhere along the canal. Then  skate to the arts center or to Bank st were they change from their skates into their boots. Then they head to work a block or two away. There are many people who do this on a regular basis when the canal is open for skating. Were else can you live and skate to work ?

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