Canada: Explore Ottawa on Ice Skates

Ottawa City Tour: Skaters on the Rideau Canal. Recently the channel was not freed – the ice was too thin.
Image: Image Alliance

Ottawa is great for ice skating in the winter. But because of climate change, the ice on the Rideau Canal is now so thin that Canadians have to find something.

EBlue skies, albeit shrouded in a wispy whiteout, have thousands packing their skates and stepping out on a typical February Monday in Ottawa. To the Rideau Canal in the center of town, which freezes over with a thick layer of ice every winter.

The waterway, built in the early 19th century, is not just an engineering masterpiece that connects two major arteries in northeastern Canada – Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River – over a distance of more than 200 kilometers and with the help of nearly 50 locks, including the Canadian capital. The canal is a real attraction as it meanders through Ottawa in a long arc. Since the 1970s, a stretch of almost eight kilometers has been carefully prepared for skating during the freezing season with the help of taxpayers’ money. Lined with stalls selling hot drinks and a coveted Canadian specialty: a yeast-fried bun called Beaver Tail.

Marmaduke Carline

Infuriatingly humble pop culture aficionado. Proud beer fanatic. Web lover. Social media fanatic.

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