First day of the Rideau Canal skating season (2015). Photo by James Peltzer via the OttawaStart Flickr pool.
The National Capital Commission (NCC) is pleased to announce the official opening of the 52nd season of the Rideau Canal Skateway at 8 am, Friday, January 14, 2022. For the first time in over 20 years, skaters will be able to enjoy the full 7.8 kilometres of this iconic experience in Canada’s #WinterCapital on opening day, stretching from downtown all the way to Hartwells Locks.
This season, users will see the return of skate rentals and food and beverage concession stands, as well as picnic tables at 50 percent capacity. Due to current public health measures, changing facilities and fire pits will remain closed. Sanitization stations are installed inside washroom facilities, and bidirectional staircases have been made available, where possible. Signage also requests yielding to oncoming traffic at single staircases. It is recommended that everyone wear a mask or face covering while on the Skateway. Use of masks is required inside washrooms and in lines at the concession stands.
Adapting Skateway operations to the impacts of climate change
As winters get shorter and our climate changes, the NCC is working to find solutions to ensure the long-term viability of the Rideau Canal Skateway. This season, the NCC is partnering with Carleton University to identify strategies to adapt Skateway operations to the impacts of climate change.
Over a four-year period, data will be collected, and a variety of pilot projects will be explored. The aim is to test potential approaches, such as early ice flooding and the use of slush cannons, that could help ensure a longer Skateway season. This season, probes will be deployed along the canal, and placed under the ice to help identify areas that are more difficult to maintain. By monitoring weather, as well as the water temperature and composition, and debris, these unique data points and findings will allow the NCC to be an industry leader in potential adaptation strategies.
The best tool to find your way around the Rideau Canal Skateway is the interactive map, presented by LiUNA! Locate ice conditions per section, washrooms, as well as access points with stairs and universal access ramps.
- A request for proposals was issued in 2020 to identify various strategies to adapt Skateway operations to climate change.
- In July 2021, a risk analysis identified that projected changes to the beginning of the season have greater impact on the length of the season than those implemented at the end of the season. For this reason, most of the recommendations aim at increasing early ice formation. A number of pilot projects will be implemented to test these recommendations over the coming seasons.
- Managed by the NCC since the 1970–1971 season, the 7.8-kilometre Rideau Canal Skateway receives an average of nearly one million visits per year, with an average of 21,000 visits per day.
- The total ice surface is equivalent to more than 140 National Hockey League rinks, or more than 122 Olympic-sized hockey rinks (223,400 square metres).
- The Rideau Canal, National Historic Site of Canada and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site since 2007, is managed and operated by Parks Canada.
“The NCC is particularly pleased to mark the official opening of the 52nd season of the iconic Rideau Canal Skateway this year, knowing the important role that safe outdoor activity plays in supporting mental and physical well-being in the nation’s capital during the pandemic. We are also looking forward to working with Carleton University researchers to explore approaches that would help us prolong future Skateway seasons as we adapt to a changing climate.”
—Tobi Nussbaum, CEO, National Capital Commission
PARTNERS AND SPONSORS
The NCC thanks Parks Canada, which maintains and operates the Rideau Canal.
The NCC is grateful for the support of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), presenting sponsor of the Rideau Canal Skateway.
It would also like to thank the following sponsors for their support: Rogers; LiUNA!, presenting sponsor of the Rideau Canal Skateway interactive map; Access Storage—Cubeit, the official provider of the Rideau Canal Skateway storage; CEECAM; and the Friends of the Rideau Canal Skateway (Nissan, Claridge, Chartwell, Telus, Scotiabank, WSP, Moneris, GGFL, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada/ServicePlus and Canal Ritz restaurant).