Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rideau Canal 2010: The second half

In the last post on the Rideau Canal Skateway, I shared photos from the first few days that the canal was open, and focused on what was new for 2010.

But last weekend, the canal was only open from the Mackenzie-King Bridge to the Bank Street bridge. Since then, it has opened past Bank Street the whole rest of the way. More importantly, the sky has opened up, giving us those cheerful bright days and majestic sunsets that keep me coming back onto the ice.

Up until today (Saturday), the canal was closed past Bank Street. Here at dusk, the BeaverTails chalet in the closed section at Bronson Avenue is all closed up. A crescent moon shines above.

At the Dow's Lake pavillion, the igloo-shaped change huts are ready for activation. The tire tracks in front evidence the preparation.

Between Bank and Bronson, the rose and lilac sunset shines through the silhouettes of pine trees alongside the canal, which was still closed to skaters when I took this photo.

Under the heading of 'what's new in 2010,' there's some work being done along the pathways to repair the crumbling walls of the canal. There's a stretch about halfway between Bank to Bronson on the Queen Elizabeth Drive side, and another stretch right where the leg to Hartwell's Locks meets Dow's Lake along Colonel By Drive. The respective pathways are closed and detours are in effect for pathway users.

I had already gone by here a few times this afternoon until I noticed the lamp resting on its side along the retaining wall.

I took another photo of kids playing on the banks of Pig Island, which was a great winter fun shot. But on another skate past, maintenance workers were reinstalling the tall flags. I couldn't help taking a photo of the partially-obscured flag as it read "le Pig".

Today, the parts of the canal past Bank Street, to Bronson, Dow's Lake and Hartwell's Locks, were all opened up, and the skateway was very popular--So much so that a layer of snow had accumulated from people's skate blades, which had to be cleared mid-day by the sweeper machines. Here they are making a pass across Dow's Lake.

Also in the maintenance arsenal this year, as mentioned in the previous post, is a zamboni an ice-resurfacing machine with a 60-foot-wide blade. Here it is seen in the maintenance machine pit, with the blade extensions folded alongside it.

What's really remarkable about this shot (click to enlarge, as always) is the horde of tiny skaters going along Dow's Lake. Yes, it's just a perspective thing, but the machine looks sixty feet tall, too!

This photo is actually from the opening day, taken at the BeaverTails at Fifth Avenue, but it got misplaced on one of my camera cards. When I went past, the girl was already standing like that; the photo pretty much took itself. There weren't too many people buying BeaverTails on a Thursday afternoon...

...but nine days later on a bright Saturday afternoon, the crowds were tremendous!

Here are some folks skating under the Bronson bridge, past what is apparently chalet number 1. Bronson bridge is no longer under construction as it was last year, which has good and bad effects. On the good side, we no longer have to worry about the terrible visibility and ice conditions under the scaffolding. However, one's attention, no longer focused on the ice, now is freed to take in the ugly view of the freeway overpass-type bridge (thankfully not in clear view in this photo).

Today we again got one of those spectacular, majestic sunsets, with rolling clouds painted in ethereal colours. I had to stop and just stare at it for a few minutes. The sunset does a wonderful job of framing the dome of the Lady Aberdeen Pavillion in Lansdowne Park. Click the photo to view it in full resolution and glory.

So that pretty much sums up the highlights from the couple hundred photos I took so far in this year's Canal season. While I'll still be skating as much as I have this last couple weeks, I hope to turn my blogging attention back toward roads and buildings.

If you're still hankering for Canal-related posts, click on the Canal label.

1 comment:

  1. Those are great pictures. I look forward to heading out there soon.