Skating season is on in Canada’s Capital Region! So, bundle up, grab your skates and head down to the Rideau Canal Skateway to celebrate its 50th season!
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 here before your visit.
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. At this rest area, you’ll find
- universally accessible change rooms and washrooms
- skates, sleigh and ice tricycle rentals
- skate-sharpening services
Keep an eye out for our new 50th anniversary social media photo frames! There are two on the Skateway this year: one at the 0 km marker (Rideau rest area), and a second at the Fifth Ave rest area. Capture and share your Rideau Canal Skateway memories on social media using #RideauCanal!
Please note that the downtown section has not opened for the 2019-2020 season yet. Watch video below to understand why.
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!
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 four rest areas along the Skateway — for a quick break. Here, you’ll find various services and amenities, including heated change rooms, washrooms, fire pits, 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 to check out our 50th anniversary photo gallery. See historical photos, and discover some of the milestones in the rich history of the Rideau Canal Skateway.
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: https://ncc-ccn.gc.ca/blog/rideau-canal-behind-the-ice
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.
NEW | This year for our 50th season, the new winter sports ice rink is located in front of the Dows Lake Pavilion. Book ice time on the winter sports ice rink to practise a winter sport or enjoy a game of shinny hockey the old-fashioned way.
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.
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?