January 29, 2012 — The full stretch of the Rideau Canal Skateway has been opened to the public, ahead of the NHL All-Star weekend and February's Winterlude.
The full stretch of the Rideau Canal Skateway is now open to the public, just in time for the NHL All-Star weekend.
A 2.2 kilometre stretch from the Bank Street Bridge to the Pretoria Street Bridge first opened for skaters back on January 15. The Skateway usually opens at the beginning of January, but this year the ice was not thick enough to skate on. The NCC says the ice thickness must be at least 30 cm (12 inches) to safely support skaters. Recent rain and fluctuating temperatures were preventing the ice from solidifying.
Now, NCC officials say the weather is ideal and that people are enjoying the conditions.
The skateway was closed to the public on the All-Star weekend so that a number of scheduled events could take place, including the All-Star Junior Skills Competition on Saturday. Children from all across Canada competed on the frozen canal for the title of national hockey all-star.
Last year the Canal opened on January 8 and skating was allowed for 53 of the 58-day season. The mild winter of 2001-2002 marked the shortest season in the Canal's history with only 26 days available to hit the ice.
The famous stretch of ice draws an average of one million visits each year. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.