Estimated time to read: 3 minutes

Skating season is on in the National Capital Region! So, bundle up, grab your skates and head down to the Rideau Canal Skateway! Explore all 7.8 kilometres, winding through Ottawa from downtown to Dows Lake — and on to Hartwells Locks.

Now, we’ll take you through this classic Canadian experience. Here’s what to expect, as you make your way along each kilometre of the world’s largest skating rink.

The Rideau Canal Skateway is a naturally frozen ice surface. Its opening and closure is entirely weather dependent. Please check open status and ice conditions before your visit.

The Rideau Rest Area
The Rideau Rest Area

KM 0 | Rideau Rest Area

The Rideau rest area marks kilometre 0 of the Rideau Canal Skateway. It is a great starting point for skating, right in the heart of downtown Ottawa.

Did you know that you can still glide down the Skateway without using skates? You can rent a tricycle for two at the Rideau rental kiosk, and experience the Skateway in a different way!

You can also rent one of the red sleighs, which are perfect for carrying your belongings, or for taking parents or children who can’t skate for a ride — or just to give your legs a rest. Don’t forget to bring a blanket to keep sleigh passengers warm.

Kilometre 0 is also a great place for taking selfies. Pose with the Parliament Buildings in the background and use the hashtags #WinterCapital and #RideauCanal.

KM 1 | The Classic Rideau Canal Skateway View

As you reach the 1 km mark, turn around and take in the “classic” Rideau Canal Skateway view, with the Fairmont Château Laurier in the background.

Another impressive viewpoint is from the Corktown Footbridge, located just before the 1 km mark. It provides a unique perspective of the Skateway!

The Rideau canal Skateway, seen from the Corktown Footbridge

KM 2.6 | Patterson Creek

Shortly after you’ve passed the 2 km marker, keep an eye out for the entrance to Patterson Creek. This hidden gem is tucked just out of sight, but if you skate under the footbridge, you’ll be rewarded with a little extra Skateway!

KM 3 | Fifth Avenue Rest Area

Stop in at the Fifth Avenue rest area — one of five rest areas along the Skateway — for a quick break. Here, you’ll find washrooms, food and beverage vendors, and picnic tables.

KM 4 | Bank Street Bridge

As you make your way past Lansdowne, be sure to slow down at the Bank Street Bridge. It's a beautiful spot to snap a photo, anytime of day!

Lit Bank Street Bridge at night.

KM 5 | The Narrows

This section is the narrowest along the Rideau Canal Skateway. It also happens to be one of the most difficult to freeze and maintain.

Our maintenance team works around the clock while the Skateway is open, to ensure the best possible conditions. Learn more about what goes into maintaining the ice of the world’s largest skating rink. 

The Rideau Canal Skateway at the KM 5 marker

KM 6 | Dows Lake

Here you’ll find a large, open skating area and the Dows Lake rest area — which is another popular starting point for an outing on the Rideau Canal Skateway.

KM 7 | Bronson Rest Area

The Bronson rest area is a popular spot to take a skate break and grab a BeaverTails® pastry, the classic Canadian pastry. Will you go for the classic Killaloe Sunrise, or branch out with a garlic/cheese or maple?

When you’ve finished, place your wrappers in one of the designated recycling and composting bins along the Skateway. All of the garbage, recycling and compost waste from the Skateway is sorted and then properly disposed of. Approximately 50 percent of the waste created on the Skateway is compostable.

Aerial view of the Bronson Rest Area

KM 7.8 | Hartwells Locks (Library)

You made it to the end of the world’s largest skating rink! The surface is larger than 140 NHL rinks. Take a photo at the 7.8 km marker, and make the choice: do you take your skates off, or do you turn around and head back to kilometre 0?

The 7,8 marker, located at the end of the Rideau Canal Skateway

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