Monday, January 18, 2010

What's new on the Rideau Canal Skateway in 2010

The Rideau Canal, allegedly* the world's largest skating rink, and verifiably an UNESCO World Heritage Site, opened its skateway for the 41st season on Thursday.

If you're planning on going out, be sure to check out this page, which says whether the canal is open, how much of it, and what the conditions are (currently listed as poor).

Here's a tour of what's happening this year so far:

First of all, the Canal is only open from the NAC to Bank Street, just over 4 kilometres. See? Fence at Bank. At least this year they kept the stairways on the inside of the fence--it was a long walk last year to the next set of stairs when the ones at Bank were closed!

Not much happening until Fifth Avenue. Here they're loading the souvenir hut onto the ice.

A minor detail, but an important one: they added stairs to the near side of the washroom trailer at Fifth Avenue. The heavy traffic on the stairs on the other side, combined with the heavy traffic on the stairs up to the roadway, made it dangerous to go to the loo last year.

Ever seen a sixty-foot-wide zamboni ice-resurfacing machine? Now you have. (I haven't seen it in action yet)

Edit January 2011: Article on the machine in the Citizen: click here

Fans of the proposed Midtown Footbridge will be keen to see the footprints crossing the canal between Second Avenue in the Glebe and Herridge Street in Old Ottawa East.

And after many years, they finally moved the stairs at Patterson Creek so they are right in front of the doors of the heritage chalet. They've also upgraded these and many more of the stairways to the sturdier new metal design.

Pretoria Bridge is no longer under construction. Really I just like the bridges along the canal.

The canal also has a new pet this year. This muskrat has been hanging around the ramp at Concorde, diving underwater for weeds, then bringing them back up to snack on. This photo may not be the best, but I wanted to give the little guy some space.

The skate rental place is, of course, still there. You can rent those red sleds, too. I'm pretty sure they've modified the front steps from last year. Definitely different from two years ago. The skate rental/sharpening place at Fifth Avenue is only open on weekends. The one at the NAC is open all week, as will be the one at Dow's lake once the canal is open that far.

And red flag means the end. The north end is not yet open, but it's most of the way there. Since all the salty stormwater flows out through this, the narrowest part of the Canal, it's often the last bit to open. The snowbowl is not happening this year, but the skateway is not likely to go all the way under the bridge due to the aforementioned diffculty to attain sufficient ice thickness.

What are you waiting for? Go out there and enjoy it!

^ Ironically, despite being founded to settle arguments about superlatives, the GWR website bears no reference to such a record

1 comment:

  1. maybe wait until they've flooded it a few more times. I went on Sunday and it was bumpier than I've ever seen it before.