Follow public health directives and wear a mask while on the Skateway.

Safety is the key to an enjoyable skate on the Rideau Canal. And it’s important to remember that safety begins with you. As with any sport, accidents can happen.

Here are a few tips to help you have a pleasant and safe outdoor experience. 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.
  • Warm up if you feel chilled.
  • The public can access open sections of the Skateway 24 hours a day, but should note that caution is advised in the evenings and at night, as Skateway maintenance crews operate primarily during those times.

Recommended equipment

  • Face mask.
  • 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.

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)
  • bicycles
  • hockey sticks and pucks
  • alcoholic beverages

First aid

The first aid trailer is located on the ice at the Fifth Avenue rest area.

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

  • Monday to Thursday, 10 am to 9 pm
  • Friday to Sunday, 9 am to 10 pm

For immediate assistance, call the skate patrol at 613-565-1899.

In case of serious injury, call 9-1-1.

Defibrillators are also available in the change rooms at Skateway rest areas.

Lost children: What to do

If you encounter a lost child:

  1. Greet and comfort the lost child. The child should never be left alone.
  2. Immediately contact the skate patroller on duty.
  3. Only water may be offered to the child. No food or beverage of any other type may be offered because of possible allergy problems.
  4. The skate patroller will take charge of the child. He or she will use the walkie-talkie to inform the skate patrol team about the lost child, who will then be taken to the first aid trailer at Fifth Avenue.
  5. If the child’s parent or guardian cannot be located after one hour, the skate patrol will contact the Ottawa Police Service.

If you have lost your child:

  1. Immediately contact the skate patrol. Provide the skate patrollers with a description of the child.
  2. The skate patrol will take charge of looking for your child.
  3. When your child is found, you must go to the first aid trailer at Fifth Avenue to sign a report. You must present proof of identity in order for your address and telephone number to be verified.
  4. If the child is not found after one hour, the skate patrol team will contact the Ottawa Police Service.

Tip: Write your name and contact information on a card and place it in your child’s pocket. This allows skate patrollers to quickly contact you, should your child become lost.

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