About the Rideau Canal Skateway

Each winter, the historic Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, becomes the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest skating rink.

Information #

The Skateway winds its way through the heart of Ottawa, over a total length of 7.8 kilometres, stretching from downtown to Dows Lake.

Since the 1970s, our ice experts and other ice experts have worked together to create this popular attraction, striving continually to improve the ice quality. Typically, the skating season runs from early January until early March. In February, many activities take place on the Skateway during Winterlude.

Services are available in the open sections of the Skateway until 10 pm or 11 pm, depending on the day. Hours of operation may change without notice. The public can access open sections of the Skateway 24 hours a day, but should note that caution is advised, as Skateway maintenance crews operate mainly overnight. Launch the interactive map for detailed information and location

Rentals #

Visit the Capital Skates website for more information, or call 819-921-6039.

Monday through Sunday, 10 am to 10 pm 
No equipment rented after 8 pm.

Rates

All rentals require a $50 deposit per item.
Payment by cash and credit only, no debit.

  Two hours Additional hour
Skates & Equipment*$22$11
Sleigh$32$16
Skate sharpening$10/pairN/A
Boot/bag check$5 (one-time charge)N/A

* Helmet, wrist protector, support bar

Visit the Capital Skates website for more information, or call 819-923-7039.

Closed Monday through Thursday. Friday, 2 pm to 10 pm
No equipment rented after 8 pm. 
Saturday and Sunday, 10 am to 10 pm, when the rental location at Rideau is closed (due to closure of that segment of the Skateway), the Fifth rest area will be open (daily, 10 am to 10 pm).

Rates

All rentals require a $50 deposit per item.
Payment by cash and credit only, no debit.

  Two hours Additional hour
Skates & Equipment*$22$11
Sleigh$32$16
Skate sharpening$10/pairN/A
Boot/bag check$5 (one-time charge)N/A

* Helmet, wrist protector, support bar

Visit the Dows Lake Pavilion website for more information, or call 613-232-1001.
Monday through Sunday, 9 am to 10 pm
No equipment rented after 9 pm.

Rates

All rentals require a $20 deposit and a valid photo ID (i.e. driver’s licence; health cards cannot be accepted).

  One hour Additional hour
Skates (adult)$15$8
Skates (child)$12$8
Snow shoes$12
$8
Sleighs$25
$10
Osla kicksled$9
$5
Boot/bag check$5 (one-time charge)
N/A
Skate sharpening$8/pair
N/A
Skate blade restoration$12
N/A
Helmets$5
N/A

All prices include tax.

Rest areas #

There are five rest areas along the Skateway. They offer various services and amenities, including change rooms, washrooms, fire pits, food and beverage vendors, and picnic tables. They are located on the ice at the following:

  • Rideau Street
  • NOKIA Rest Area at Concord
  • Fifth
  • Bronson Avenue
  • Dows Lake

All four change rooms are heated and universally accessible. They are located on the ice at the following rest areas:

  • Rideau
  • NOKIA Rest Area at Concord
  • Fifth
  • Bronson

They are open at the following times:

  • Sunday to Thursday, 8 am to 10 pm
  • Friday and Saturday, 8 am to 11 pm

A fifth change room is located on land at Patterson Creek. It is not universally accessible from the Skateway.

Vendors are located on the ice at the rest areas, and are open at the following times:

  • Monday through Thursday, noon to 8 pm or later
  • Friday, noon to 11 pm
  • Saturday, 10 am to 11 pm
  • Sunday, 10 am to 10 pm

Below are the various rest areas and a list of what they offer.

  • Rideau
    Coffee and hot beverages, fast food, BeaverTails® pastries, and candies
  • NOKIA Rest Area at Concord
    Coffee and hot beverages*, sausages*, BeaverTails® pastries, and maple taffy*
  • Fifth
    Coffee and hot beverages*, fast food, BeaverTails® pastries, maple taffy*, and lollipops*
  • Bronson
    Maple taffy* and BeaverTails® pastries
  • Dows
    Other types of foods are available in the Dows Lake Pavilion. 

* Available during Winterlude only (February 2 to 19, 2018).

The lost and found is located in the change rooms at the Rest Area at Fifth.  
Any valuable objects found will be given to the Ottawa Police Service (613-236-1222).  

Facilities

Paid Parking

  • Rideau Centre
  • National Arts Centre  (50 metres from the NAC access ramp)  
  • Ottawa City Hall (from Elgin Street)
  • World Exchange Plaza (weekdays)  
  • University of Ottawa campus, parking lot K
  • Parking lot at the intersection of Cooper and Cartier streets
  • Parking lot at the intersection of O’Connor Street and Pretoria Avenue
  • Lansdowne Park 
  • Carleton University campus, P5, P6 A-B, P7
  • Bronson Avenue parking lot (60 metres from the Bronson Avenue access ramp)  
  • Dows Lake

Washrooms

Washrooms are located on the ice at the following rest areas:  

  • Rideau  
  • NOKIA Rest Area at Concord 
  • Fifth 
  • Bronson  
  • Dows  

Washrooms are open at the following times:  

  • Sunday through Thursday, 8 am to 10 pm  
  • Friday and Saturday, 8 am to 11 pm  

Washrooms located on land can be found at  

  • Patterson Creek (not universally accessible from the ice)  
  • Dows Lake Pavilion  

Free Parking

  • World Exchange Plaza (weekends)  

Universal access

The following universally accessible services are available:  

  • ramps to access the Skateway  
  • heated change rooms  
  • washrooms  

There are no change rooms at street level.  
Universally accessible ramps to the Skateway are located near the following:  

  • Mackenzie King Bridge  
  • Fifth Avenue (Queen Elizabeth Driveway side)  
  • Bronson Avenue (at Colonel By Drive)  
  • Dows Lake Pavilion  

Universally accessible, heated change rooms and washrooms are located on the ice at the following rest areas:  

  • Rideau  
  • NOKIA Rest Area at Concord 
  • Fifth 
  • Bronson  

Safety Tips #

Safety is the key to an enjoyable skate on the Rideau Canal. And it’s important to remember that safety starts with you. As with any sport, accidents can happen. These tips can help you have a safe and exciting outdoor adventure. The Skateway is patrolled by experienced first aid attendants who can provide help, if needed.

  • Know the flag system: A green flag means that the Skateway is open; a red flag means that it’s closed.
  • Watch for cracks in the ice.
  • Consider your safety and that of others. The following are not permitted on the ice:
    • dogs and other pets (with the exception of service dogs)
    • bikes
    • hockey sticks and pucks
    • alcoholic beverages
  • Warm up if you feel chilled. There are four heated change rooms located at various points along the Skateway, and one on land at Patterson Creek.
  • Avoid wearing figure skates. The picks tend to catch on bumps and cracks in the ice surface.
  • Dress warmly.
  • Wear a certified, properly fitting hockey or ski helmet to prevent head injuries.
  • Wrist guards, as well as elbow and knee protection, will help reduce your chance of injury.
  • You can rent helmets and wrist guards from Capital Skates locations on the Rideau Canal Skateway (at Rideau and the Rest Area at Fifth) or at the Dows Lake Pavilion. A deposit ($) is required.

For more information about helmet safety, on and off the ice, visit the City of Ottawa website.

The following are not permitted on the ice:  

  • dogs and other pets (with the exception of service dogs)  
  • hockey sticks and pucks  
  • alcoholic drinks  
  • bicycles  

First aid trailer is located on the ice at the Rest Area at Fifth.

Skate patrollers who can administer first aid and CPR are on the Skateway daily at the following times:

  • Monday through Thursday, noon to 10 pm
  • Friday, noon to 11 pm
  • Saturday, 10 am to 11 pm
  • Sunday, 10 am to 10 pm

For immediate assistance, call the skate patrol at 613-565-1899. In case of serious injury, call 9-1-1. 

Greet and comfort the lost child. The child should never be left alone. Contact the skate patroller on duty.

Provide the skate patrollers with a description of the parent/guardian. Use the walkie-talkie to communicate this information.

Only water can be offered to the child (no food or beverage of any other type may be offered because of possible allergy problems).

When the parent/guardian is found, they must report to the first aid trailer at Fifth Avenue to sign the report. When the parent/guardian arrives to pick up the child, they must present proof of identity in order for the address and telephone number to be verified.

If, after one hour, no one has arrived to pick up the child, notify the Ottawa Police Service, who will take charge of the child.

This same procedure applies in cases where a parent/guardian is looking for a lost child.

Ottawa Police Service: 613-236-1222 
Skate patrol: 613-565-1899