Saturday, January 31, 2009

Rideau Canal: The Limit

Since I've been averaging about two hours a day on the canal since it opened on January first, I haven't had much time to post. And frankly, I'd much rather be skating on the canal than blogging about it! But while I've been skating, I've taken lots of photos! (In fact, I have few photos of anything else!)

So, as long as the canal is open this year, Images of Centretown will effectively be Images of the Rideau Canal. Going through hundreds of canal photos so far this year, I've decided to go by theme.

And I can't resist starting with my sky shots. This canal is really photogenic, you know. Especially at dusk.

Here's a shot from the pathway coming down towards Fifth avenue, with the sun behind and lots of skaters having fun on the fourth:

A few days later, looking in roughly the opposite direction, a nice blue sky with fluffy clouds came out:

The moon came out to enjoy the canal as well. Here it is over Pig Island:

I was surprised that the moon followed me down to Immaculata High School the same night:

A few days later, it was really cold, but the rest of the canal had opened up. It was still pretty bumpy at Dow's Lake, especially along the south edge. Here it is, with the sun reflecting off the ice:

As dusk fell, the sky seemed to burn:

Night fell, and the moon hid behind some thin, stringy clouds around Clegg:

The following week, there was more cloud than open sky, but the moon managed to peek through again heading toward Hartwell's Lock:

And another week later (January 25), the sun burned white through the clouds over Centretown.

Extraneous shot for Woodsy: I've seen a few Pook Toques on the ice, including this one I photographed for you at Pretoria Bridge on January 8:

Other Canal themes I hope to post include night shots, snow, and bridges (Boy do the bridges over the canal take great photos!) We'll see if I can find time to post them!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Rideau Canal Now Open! Timeline to 2009

The Rideau Canal has opened for the season, and what has become a bit of a personal tradition, I've gone out to enjoy the first day. While the parts abutting Centretown are not yet open, it's certainly something to go out and enjoy!

[Note: The Canal is only open from Pretoria Bridge to Bank Street, excluding the bridges and Patterson Creek. If you're coming on the South side from Bank, keep walking NE on Echo Drive until you get to the stairs down to Colonel By Drive at Pig Island (and similarly on the North side), as the stairs at Bank Street are on the closed side of the bridge.]

Before we get to today's shots, allow me to share some photos from the last couple of months that document preparations.

In October, the Canal was drained of water, exposing the ugly green algae coating much of the rock. Here's a shot of the algae with Lansdowne Park's Aberdeen Pavillion in the background:

This is when the chalets are installed.

Here are a bunch of them at Fifth Avenue.

In late November, they put gravel down at the stairways so that they would have a good fitting at the correct height.

This was when the canal started to ice over. Here's progress on Nature taking its course between the Corktown Footbridge and Laurier:

The ice was thick enough at this point to trap the debris beneath it, but thin enough to see that debris. The vines in this shot seem to be trying to push out. It was also neat to see leaves blowing across the surface of the ice (not pictured).

Fast forward to December 30th. The ice had been flooded and plowed, and just needed a couple more days of cold to compensate for a brief warm spell. Here a City plow clears the pathway alongside the canal, distributing salt from its trailer hopper:

And today the canal finally opened! In the afternoon, it got pretty crowded on the short stretch of ice that was open. Here's the crowd of people getting on at Pretoria Bridge (note the long line of boots along the wall!)

They were all getting on there because the Canal was only open from Pretoria to Bank (excluding the bridges and Patterson Creek):

The washrooms, however, were open. The washroom trailer at Fifth Avenue has a new ramp to be wheelchair accessible. The stairs next to it were also new and wider than the old ones (some of which are still in use at other entrances).

The skate sharpening/rental hut was also open. Don't let this pre-noon shot fool you--there were three or four lines over ten people deep to get in there in the afternoon!

And the yellowjackets were out in full force. The NCC officers, paramedics, and Skate Patrol were all out. Word is that more of the canal will open on the weekend, though I don't recall which stretch. I grabbed a photo of a pair of Patrollers heading into the sun (this photo has been altered slightly):

Altogether it was a fun day. I enjoyed getting out and getting some exercise. I'd have gotten a Beavertail, too, had the lineup not been halfway across the canal!

Next time...