Safety Advisory

Published on March 9, 2021

Reminder that it is dangerous to venture onto the surface of the Rideau Canal. The 51st season of the Rideau Canal Skateway ended February 22, 2021.

The ice layer on the surface of the canal is melting and may hide serious hazards. The water level beneath the ice varies from approximately one metre (three feet) to 4.3 metres (14 feet) deep along the length of the canal, from downtown Ottawa (Rideau) to Dows Lake.

The National Capital Commission (NCC) urges the public to keep personal safety in mind, and respect the red flags, barricades and signs installed at access points.

Rideau Canal spring operations to begin on March 15

Parks Canada will begin routine springtime operations on Monday, March 15, 2021, to prepare for the 2021 navigation season. These operations will likely result in changes to the ice surface. Parks Canada is also asking the public to stay safe by staying off the ice, and to always exercise caution in and around the canal and lockstation areas.


  • The 51st skating season on the world’s largest skating rink began on January 28, 2021, and lasted continuously for 26 excellent skating days.
  • The Skateway welcomed 508,299 visits in total for the season. This includes an average of 19,550 visits per day.

Media information:

Dominique Huras
NCC Media Relations
613-286-0886 (cellular)

Maryam El-Akhrass
NCC Media Relations
343-551-6149 (cellular)