Rideau Canal Skateway open to visitors on last day of Winterlude

NCC says ice conditions 'are still variable' but crews are working to improve surface

The National Capital Commission (NCC) has opened the Rideau Canal Skateway for the last day of Winterlude.

Skaters can use a stretch of the canal between the Pretoria Bridge and Bank Street, according to the NCC website.

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In a social media post Monday morning, the NCC said crews "swept, graded and flooded the ice" overnight.

While ice conditions are variable, the NCC said crews are working to improve the surface and "the cold is going to help firm everything up."

A season of shaky openings

On Sunday the NCC briefly let visitors onto the skateway, but recommended walking the canal instead of skating due to "very poor" ice conditions at the time.

That opening only lasted six hours. The NCC closed the skateway at 6 p.m. on Sunday to do "intensive ice maintenance."

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Skaters got another chance on Jan. 21, when the NCC opened a short stretch between Bank Street and Pretoria Avenue. But that opening only lasted a few days until the weather forced the NCC to shut it down.

Rideau Canal/Felix Pilon/CBC

People skate and walk along the Rideau Canal Skateway on Feb. 18. On that day, the NCC recommended 'walking over skating' on the skateway because the ice was in poor condition. (Félix Pilon/CBC)

Ice on the canal needs to be at least 30 centimetres thick before the skateway can safely open, even thicker if the quality is poor.

Thumbnail courtesy of Jean Delisle/CBC.

The story was originally written by and published for CBC News.