Ottawa is sometimes called the coldest capital in the world and while we were there it certainly lived up to its reputation! However this coldness also brings one of the most fun winter activities. The beautiful Rideau Canal freezes over and becomes one of the worlds largest skate rinks, the canal stretches across down town Ottawa and you can skate an impressive 7km (4.35miles.) Tourists come from all around to try it and locals often use the canal to commute to work
If you don’t own a pair of skates you can easily rent them from stations at different points of the canal, at these stations you can also find food and beverage stands such as Beaver tails. And if you can’t skate or have small children you can rent adorable sleighs to pull around while you skate.
The Rideau Canal Skate way is maintained and operated by the National Capital Commission. It is open to skaters daily January through late February (weather permitting) and is free of charge – although donations supporting the Skate way’s maintenance can be made at boxes at various entry points. On cold nights, workers drill holes in the canal ice and pump water onto the surface to make it smooth again.
At first it was an intimidating experience as I have only skated on ice rinks with nice barriers to grab but overall it was easier than I thought, twice as fun and made me a more confident skater. If you do anything this winter I would recommend skating the Rideau Canal!!