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Rideau Canal re-opens in time for Winterlude

Staff writers
February 4, 2013 — Despite the mild weather leading up to the start of Winterlude, the famous winter festival kicked off in Ottawa on Friday.

Rideau Canal draws in about one million people each year
Rideau Canal draws in about one million people each year

It was the first weekend of Winterlude in Ottawa, and The Weather Network's Kevin Yarde has been broadcasting LIVE from Canada's Capital Region. 

Popular winter activities are featured across Ottawa and Gatineau at this annual event, which draws in about 650,000 visitors over three weekends in February. 

A favourite family tradition is a skate on the Rideau Canal, the world's largest outdoor skating rink. 

The skateway suffered some setbacks after the mild and even record breaking temperatures early last week, but the entire canal had re-opened just in time for the start of Winterlude on Friday. 

"We're aiming for temperatures near -15," says Bruce Devine, Senior Manager with the National Capital Commission (NCC). "It keeps the ice very hard and easy to maintain." 

Devine adds that the crews work through the night to flood the whole ice rink so that in the morning it is ready for skaters.

Kevin Yarde enjoying a skate at Winterlude
Kevin Yarde enjoying a skate at Winterlude

Other fun features at Winterlude include ice carving, giant snow slides and of course the famous Beaver Tails. 

"The Beaver Tails are obviously my favourite, they're delicious," says one person we caught up with at Winterlude on Sunday. 

"There's tons of people, it's a good time, you can get Beaver Tails or whatever you like. It's lots of families having fun, you just have to remember to dress warm and have a good day," says another Winterlude visitor. 

The 35th edition of Winterlude runs until February 18th.

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