After months of exceptionally cold winter temperatures and a record-breaking run of 59 uninterrupted skating days, the Rideau Canal Skateway’s 45th season will come to an end this evening, at 10pm. The National Capital Commission’s (NCC) ice safety committee determined that the warmer temperature has made the quality of the ice surface unsafe for the public and will not allow Skateway maintenance operations to proceed this evening and overnight.
“Every Rideau Canal Skateway season is a partnership with nature and winter,” said Dr. Mark Kristmanson, chief executive officer of the NCC. “Ideal weather conditions, combined with 45 years of ice maintenance expertise, allowed residents and visitors to enjoy an unprecedented 59 consecutive days of skating. NCC staff, the maintenance crews, skate patrol and concessionaires were proud to welcome the tens of thousands who visited and gave us all a season to remember.”
The Season: From opening day on January 10, through to today, the 45th season has been remarkable. It brought over one million visits to the Rideau Canal Skateway. In addition to being open for all three weekends of Winterlude, the Skateway remained consistently open for 59 days, surpassing the 2003–2004 record of 46 consecutive skating days. With over 5,100 Twitter (@NCC_Skateway) and 41,700 Facebook followers of the Rideau Canal Skateway, social media was a popular way for the public to share their experiences, pictures and feedback. Be sure to follow us for the 2015–2016 season updates.
Rideau Canal Skateway Sponsors — The NCC proudly thanks the following sponsors for their support of the Rideau Canal Skateway: the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG); Enbridge; Nordstrom; the Rideau Centre; GoodLife Fitness; Giant Tiger; Pizza Pizza; Pepsi and CEECAM Corporation; and media sponsors Ottawa Citizen, Le Droit, Country 101, KISS FM, NRJ and Rouge FM.
Managed by the NCC since the 1970–1971 season, the 7.8-kilometre Rideau Canal Skateway is recognized by Guinness World RecordsTM as being the “world’s largest naturally frozen ice rink.” The world-famous ice surface is equal to more than 90 Olympic-sized rinks, or 165,621 square metres, and is one of the official sites for the Capital’s winter celebration, Winterlude.
UNSAFE ICE CONDITIONS — This afternoon, higher temperatures and long hours of intense sunshine have deteriorated the ice surface and, in some places, ice thickness. Water on the ice surface may hide serious hazards. The NCC urges the public to keep personal safety in mind and remain off the Skateway, after it closes at 10pm. Respect the red flags, barricades and signs installed at Skateway access points. NCC staff and contractors will work over the next few days to dismantle the equipment and infrastructure used in Skateway operations.
For more information about the Rideau Canal Skateway, please contact the NCC at 613-239-5000, 613-239-5090 (TTY), 1-800-465-1867 (toll-free) or 1-866-661-3530 (toll-free TTY), visit the NCC’s website at ncc-ccn.gc.ca/skateway, or follow us on Twitter @NCC_Skateway or Facebook.