Monday, February 11, 2019

Heart Of The Festival

The Rideau Canal skateway is very much the centrepiece of Winterlude. A route of 7.8 kilometres is cleared for skating from the Hartwell Locks to the Ottawa Locks through the downtown core, with a skating surface equal to 90 Olympic sized rinks, the largest outdoor skating surface in the world. I like to feature the skateway in posts during Winterlude, and will be featuring it again before the series is through, as yesterday I walked a portion of the Canal from Lansdowne Park to the Corktown Bridge.

These two shots, taken on two days in late January, show the skating surface looking east from the Bank Street Bridge.

One day on the first weekend of Winterlude, I was once again on this bridge and photographed to the east. There weren't many skaters at this point in the day, but traffic flow on the Canal can change in the space of an hour or so, particularly on the weekends.

A couple of hours later I photographed from the bridge looking west.

One evening on the first weekend, I passed over the Mackenzie King Bridge downtown and photographed the view first towards the Ottawa Locks, where the skateway commences. The National Arts Centre, Parliament Hill, Plaza Bridge, government Conference Centre, and Chateau Laurier are all over there.

Crossing to the other side of the bridge, I photographed the skateway going to the southeast. Confederation Park is on the right here. In previous years it was a focal point for Winterlude, but this year that has changed, and it is not one of the sites for events. The ice sculptures are elsewhere this year.

Here we had the same general perspective the following morning.

And a bit later on that morning, here we have Dow's Lake. This was designed as part of the Canal back in the day, a reservoir for its flow, and the skateway comes up this stretch and descends again on the way down to the start point at the Hartwell Locks. Winterlude events are also held here, including one that I photographed on Saturday.

These last three date back to Saturday. Crossing the Mackenzie King Bridge in the morning, I photographed this view north.

I went down to Dow's Lake for an event after the noon hour, and came back to Bank Street by the shuttle bus run by the city on weekends. I paused by the Canal to frame this shot looking westward. Every two hundred metres, signs marking the distance are posted.

Then I started to cross the ice, pausing to photograph the Bank Street Bridge itself from the surface of the skateway.


  1. ...skating on a sunny day sure looks great.

  2. Must be fun and enjoyable to able skate like all these people. Happy weekend!

  3. Wow! Great weather in the last shots!...This is how Finland could look like too on a winter day. Enjoy it!

  4. Yesterday the Netherlands has done the "water ballet" ... it was so much rain! King winter has left and we have received Spring's first sign! Do you know that the Netherlands also has a skating competition? If the winter is strict, the Elfstedentocht (eleven cities tour) is organized. If you want to read more then click here.

  5. Using the skateway looks like it would be such a tradition for some families.


  6. The skateway is really something, and it seems to be having a very good year.

  7. My daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren skate on the Rideau Canal every year, not as frequently now as when the kids were young, but at least once each winter they make a point of doing it.

  8. I saw this type of scene when I lived in The Netherlands so many years ago. Not a scene we are familiar with here in Texas.

  9. From your photos, it must be magical to skate there.

  10. Hello, the canal is an awesome skating rink. What a fun place. Enjoy your day, have a great new week!

  11. These beautiful winter images make me somewhat jealous again. Overhere only a few lucky daredevils have been able to skate for two days on flooded polder land. Spring in the air now, too bad for the winter lovers. I hope to be somewhat comforted by your photos in the coming period. :-)

  12. Every shot a pleasure to see! Was there a particular reason they changed the venue for the ice sculptures?

  13. @Tom: it would be good exercise.

    @Nancy: I don't know how to skate, but I do walk good stretches of the Canal.

    @Italiafinlandia: the last couple of days were cold, so ideal conditions for skaters.

    @Ella: that I have heard of.

    @Francisco: thank you.

    @Stefan: definitely!

    @Janis: it really is.

    @Anvilcloud: this year particularly. It opened early, and there was only a closure this past week because of a warm up, which fortunately ended before Saturday so skaters could get out on the ice.

    @David: I tend to walk good stretches of it, and did so yesterday.

    @Janey: certainly not!

    @Maywyn: it would be.

    @Eileen: thank you!

    @Jan: a lot of Dutch people come here to skate the Canal.

    @Grace: I did ask. In this case it was about the trees outgrowing the spots where they were placing things, and the trees come first.

  14. Sure is a huge area for skating. I wish I had ice skates, and if I lived there, I certainly would. Nowhere here to use them, though. :-)

  15. The skaters remind me of a painting I posted not long ago from the National Gallery only they were in the Netherlands! I'm not a skater but I love to see people skating!

  16. A fantastic place for skaters !

  17. looks like fun. i enjoy seeing it at different moments (times)
    ( ;

  18. People are out there skating no matter the weather or time of day.

  19. It's always been in the back of my mind to skate on the Rideau canal. Maybe someday! For now your photos will have to do.

  20. So much fun! I don't skate but I like to watch. And that place is a beautiful place!!! You are lucky to live there.
    : )

  21. I Really Appreciate The Perspective Photos. Excellent Post!!


  22. @DJan: here a lot of people take advantage of the ice.

    @Jeanie: I imagine a lot of the Dutch masters painted scenes of skaters.

    @Karl: it certainly is.

    @Beth: so do I. Yesterday we had different skies- clear and blue to the north and east, a slight haze that removed the blue to the south. So the effect as I went along the Canal was quite different.

    @Sharon: the Canal gets well used this time of year.

    @Red: I have certainly walked its surface many times.

    @Catarina: I don't skate either, but it is relatively easy to walk on this.

    @Padre: thank you.

  23. Beautiful photos ~ especially your night shots! Wonderful winter activities in a marvelous area ~

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

  24. I always enjoy your photos of the skateway. Living in Florida, this is just so fascinating to me!

  25. How beautiful the canal skateway is especially with the lights in the evening photo:)

  26. Those cloudy winter daytime shots look like twilight here too.

  27. It looks like it would be so much fun to skate the length of it!

  28. I like the ones with the sun shining. They don't make me feel so cold!

  29. What a beautiful winter scene. Everyone out there skating and having fun.

  30. One day I’d love to go skating there :-)

  31. @Carol: thank you!

    @Lois: I love showing Winterlude each year.

    @Rosie: I like it in all sorts of conditions.

    @Marie: one gets that in winter on overcast days- either a grey or a blue tint to shots.

    @RedPat: I have walked the full length of it from time to time, but not this year. I do get in walking on portions of it through the skating season. I imagine, especially on the weekends, that some people skate the length of it regularly.

    @Catalyst: but the sunny days are the ones when it's coldest!

    @Bill: they certainly are.

    @Tamago: you'd enjoy it.

  32. I grew up ice skating while in North Dakota. I loved it and this looks so wonderful to me.

  33. One day we all will have one system, maybe. Glad you use km, not miles, no calculating needed.
    I was too little (OK on asking I was just born), but the pictures remind me of the oil-crisis in Germany when you could walk on the Autobahn. No cars allowed on Sundays.

  34. It looks like people come out in droves and that your winter weather really varies from one day to another. Grey skies, blue skies.

  35. William - what a wonderful set-up - I am thrilled to see multitudes getting out in the winter for some physical activity. You have so many reasons to be proud of Ottawa!

  36. That's a great place for the skaters. I grew up in middle-of-nowhere Illinois. No ice rinks and we didn't have skates. But, we had lots of fun 'shoe' skating on our pond. Always wished I had learned how to ice skate, but now I would probably break something.

  37. Your Winterlude photos and stories are so great, they make me want to experience a “real” Winter. (I can’t even say “again” like most snowbirds here would, because the Pacific Northwest, at least our part of it, never gets Winter like you do. .although Seattle apparently is getting a brief taste of it this mo th).

  38. I like the term Winterlude. I actually like winter as my second favorite season--autumn being my first. I enjoy the snow and coziness of winter and ice skating.

  39. Doesn't that skateway look fantastic.

    All the best Jan

  40. The size of 90 ice rinks? That's mind-blowing. What fun to skate with so much expanse all around!

  41. You should strap a Go-Pro on and go for a skate!

  42. I especially like the nighttime photos.

  43. My favourite place in Ottawa!
    I even wanted to ask you when we'd see frozen channel, now I have what I wanted:-)

  44. @Revrunner: cold is a good thing.

    @Michelle: lots of people get out on the ice.

    @Iris: that would have been quite a sight.

    @Jennifer: That it is.

    @Kay: we can get different weather in a matter of hours. It was clear skies last night and cloudy this morning.

    @Angie: thank you!

    @Betty: I never learned.

    @Sallie: we get a good winter.

    @Pat: people make the most of it here.

    @Jan: thank you!

    @Sharon: that's a lot of ice.

    @Jenn: I can't skate!

    @Norma: thank you!

    @Klara: it was time.