Monday, January 29, 2018

Skating Along The Canal

The Rideau Canal opened for the skating season early in the month, starting initially with one section of it before opening up the full length of the skateway, 7.8 kilometres winding through the downtown core. It holds the Guinness World Record for world's largest outdoor naturally frozen rink- the equivalent of 90 Olympic skating rinks in surface area. There are webcams from select spots along the Canal if you check the skateway home page and scroll down. 

These two shots are from a snowy day early on. Standing on the Bank Street Bridge, I photographed to the east, then crossed the street to take in a western view. 

This was the view some days later, again, first to the east, then the west. The volume of skaters varies- it's busier on weekends, and at particular times of the day, with things picking up during Winterlude, which gets underway on Friday.

This is the view looking south from Plaza Bridge one morning. The National Arts Centre is at right, while the Government Conference Centre and Ottawa Convention Centre are at left. The Canal's start point is at the fence line, with a kilometre marker bearing the numbers 0.0. These can be found every two hundred metres.

A few minutes later, after running errands, this was the view looking north towards Plaza Bridge from the Mackenzie King Bridge.

I then crossed the street to look south. National Defence occupies the building on the left hand side of the Canal here. The Cartier Square drill hall can be seen at the right, on the far side of the Laurier Avenue Bridge.

I finish where I started, on the Bank Street Bridge, with a view looking east at skaters on the ice at night.


  1. I love to watch people skate. Must be very cold over there!

  2. ...great way to spend a winter day.

  3. What a fabulous fun place to skate. So exciting.
    Great photos.

    cheers, parsnip and mandibles

  4. This is amazing to me! In the first place, I’ve never even lived anywhere cold enough for outdoor ice skating. And it is especially wonderful to think of a major city providing this opportunity. I’m going to check out that web cam.

  5. What a fantastic place to be able to take off and not worry about turning a corner immediately or bumping into a cadre of little newbies. But I wouldn't want to be out there at night unless there was a lot of light.

  6. It is so strange for that much space to be safely frozen. Looks like a lot of fun.


  7. Hello, what a neat place to ice skate. It does look like fun! Happy Monday, enjoy your day and new week!

  8. I’ve never seen the frozen canal. One day...

  9. Great to see the skaters on the canal again.
    I doubt if we will see skaters overhere this winter, temperatures are way too high.

  10. @Nancy: it's colder again this morning. We were around the freezing mark on the weekend.

    @Tom: it certainly is.

    @Parsnip: thank you!

    @Sallie: I believe what it does is uploads photographs every few minutes, and then that stays live until the skateway is closed for the season. I've actually photographed one of the cameras last year for a theme day.

    @Lowell: I've been on it in the night. For most of its length, it's lit up enough, because there are street lights on the parkways that parallel its path.

    @Janis: there's this whole system of how they do it by flooding the ice surface regularly, which freezes. There is about a metre of water beneath the ice, and that ice has to be thick enough to sustain things like snow plows along its surface.

    @Marianne: thank you!

    @Francisco: thanks!

    @Eileen: a lot of people take part in skating.

    @Marie: I'm quite used to it, though I don't skate.

    @Jan: this does tend to draw Dutch visitors, specifically to come and have a go at the ice.

  11. The very famous canal! One day I will see it again.

  12. My goodness, it looks so cold. I'm not sure I could be out there for very long.

  13. Someday I would like to skate the Rideau. My daughter took her skates one time but the canal was't open that year.

  14. I get cold just looking at these photos, William!

  15. What fun ~ skating along the canal ~ neat photos too!

    Happy Week to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  16. @Catarina: it is wonderful in all seasons.

    @Sharon: it depends on the day. Today's below freezing, but not unbearably so. Some days are so cold that you don't dare take off your gloves.

    @Red: and it depends on the year. Some years the season is quite short. The Canal opened very early this year- there were people wondering if it might open before the new year. It's been closed for the odd couple of days since its opening because of slight thaws, but reopened fairly quickly. If the weather stays consistent, they may keep it open into March, and this'll be a good year for it.

    @Norma: that's the idea!

    @Carol: a lot of people come out for it. Some locals even commute this way.

  17. I always enjoy seeing your photos of the skaters on the canal!

  18. It's iconic! I've skated the length several times. In my youth I took courses at night at U Ottawa to upgrade. AFterwards, I'd do a skate!

  19. Perfect winter activity! Lovely shots.

  20. love seeing the sun peeking through shots ... nice!! ( ;
    serene even.

  21. I remember when our local, but much narrower canal, used to freeze over during my childhood but that doesn't happen here anymore - do the authorities check out the thickness and safety of the ice before people are allowed to skate on it?

  22. I wasn't sure if it had reopened because I had heard it closed when we had the recent warm weather.

  23. Now that is great fun! Year round fun in Ottawa!

  24. @Lois: I enjoy showing them.

    @Jennifer: over the course of a skating season, I will have walked along most of its length.

    @Lady Fi: many people enjoy skating here.

    @Karl: we get a lot of overseas skaters.

    @Beth: we have another one of those days today- the sun just peeking through briefly.

    @Revrunner: it most definitely is.

    @Rosemary: crews keep it in shape. They need a certain thickness- I think 30 cms. They flood the top every few days, usually at night, to bring the ice surface back into shape.

    @RedPat: it's been closed off a couple of times because of warm ups where the temperatures have gone above the freezing mark. It's not the thickness of the ice that's problematic during warm ups, it's the surface of the ice that needs attention, particularly if rain has been involved in the warm up. So when the temperatures drop again, they're able to flood the surface again. That freezes up, and the ice is ready again for skaters.

    @Christine: many people take part in the fun!

  25. Fun on skates is back for another season on the canal. Great winter scenes, William.

  26. Thanks again for the reminder that I am so fortunate to live in the desert.

  27. That's a pretty amazing sight and pretty wonderful for city skaters.

  28. I did once skate a big part of the canal. A unique experience!

  29. Love to see these views of the canal iced overcome winter William.. skating looks like so much fun!

  30. I've been waiting for these pictures for a few weeks, William. I couldn't wait for images of frozen canal. I was really impressed last year, when I saw that place long for more then 7 km to skate on.
    Good shots. I'm waiting for more.

  31. @Bill: thank you!

    @Mari: you're welcome.

    @Kay: it is indeed.

    @FG: that it is.

    @Grace: I would think so, though I don't skate.

    @Klara: this year the Canal has been open for skating since before New Year's.