A Perfect Winter Adventure: Skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway

There is no denying it: Ottawa is known is one of the coldest capitals in the world (only as far as temperatures are concerned though). But does that mean you stay at home during the winter and mope? Absolutely not! Ottawa has turned a potential liability into a key asset and really shows us how to celebrate winter.

First there is Winterlude, Ottawa’s winter festival, which is being held this year from February 3 to 19, 2006. Winterlude is apparently attended by more than 650,000 winter revellers and encompasses a myriad of events: concerts, special events, culinary demonstrations, restaurant festivals and the list goes on. Skating on the Rideau Skateway, at almost 8 km the world’s largest icerink., was our main reason for coming to Ottawa. Indeed we had travelled to Ottawa about 3 years ago and due to warm weather Winterlude was a total washout for us that year (I guess the appropriate term for that event would be “Waterlude”).

But our earlier experience didn’t deter us, so this year Theresa and I decided to come back and pray for better weather so we would indeed be able to check out this phenomenal skating and entertainment venue for ourselves.

Incidentally, the Rideau Canal Skateway has been recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records as the world’s largest naturally frozen ice rink. The skateway is 7.8 kilometers long and takes you from the Rideau Bridge all the way to Dow’s Lake.

What about a horse and carriage ride on Dow’s Lake?

We got going early just around 10 am on an absolutely perfect winter day, but even at that time, the skateway was packed, and the walkthrough over the frozen ice from Confederation Park to the skateway entrance on the other side of the river was chock full with people in a long lineup.

Food for the hungry skaters…

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