The 43rd Season on the Rideau Canal Skateway is launched: NCC opens 2.2 kilometres between the Bank Street Bridge and the Pretoria Bridge

The Skateway is open! This morning, Jean-François Trépanier, chief executive officer of the National Capital Commission (NCC) and Mama and Papa Ice Hog, Winterlude’s mascots, hoisted the green flag near Fifth Avenue officially launching the 43rd skating season. Since 7 am today, the 2.2 kilometre stretch of the Skateway, between the Bank Street Bridge and the Pretoria Bridge has been welcoming skaters.

“Skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway is truly a unique Canadian experience,” said Jean-François Trépanier. “The NCC is very proud to manage this national icon, located on a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.”

The NCC Ice Safety Committee deemed that the 2.2 kilometres of ice between the Bank Street Bridge and the Pretoria Bridge reached the required thickness and is safe for skating.

The NCC’s Rideau Canal Skateway team plans to open other sections of the world’s largest skating rink as soon as ice conditions are safe and weather permits. The public is asked not to venture onto the closed sections of the Skateway.

The Rideau Canal, a National Historic Site of Canada and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is owned by Parks Canada. The Skateway portion has been managed by the NCC during winter months since the 1970-1971 season.

The 7.8-kilometre Rideau Canal Skateway welcomes, on average, 18,000 thousand visits every day it is open. The world-famous ice surface becomes one of the official sites for Winterlude, the Capital’s winter celebration, which will be held from February 1 to 18, 2013. This year, Winterlude activities expected on the Skateway include:

  • Skating by the Jinju City (Korea) lanterns: 6 giant lanterns, hung under the Laurier Street Bridge along the Rideau Canal Skateway, all donated by the Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival of Korea.
  • The 33rd Annual Accora Village Bed Race, which features fifty teams racing modified beds in heats down a 50-metre course to help determine the fastest bed.
  • The Imjin Classic: A hockey match that honours Canadians who fought in the Korean War — and played Canada’s winter sport, hockey, on the frozen Imjin River during the war.
  • Alumni Shinny Showdown on the Canal and Parade of Jerseys: Ottawa Senators Alumni and the Team Canada Women’s Alumni will take to the ice on the Rideau Canal Skateway for the Alumni Shinny Showdown! The showdown is part of Ottawa’s Hockey Day in Canada celebrations.

The NCC is proud of its partnership with American Express, official partner of the Rideau Canal Skateway.

The NCC also thanks the following sponsors for their support with the Rideau Canal Skateway: the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), Giant Tiger, Pepsi, KISS FM, Y101, NRJ, Rouge FM, Ottawa Citizen, and Le Droit.

Download the iPhone Rideau Canal Skateway application, which provides ice conditions, a Skateway map, services available and more. Stay tuned for the updated version of the app which will give you the ability to track your skating speed and distance and also you’ll be able to bring with you photo-memories of your skating with the “MittCam”.

For more information about the Rideau Canal Skateway, please contact the NCC at 613-239-5000, 613-239-5090 (TTY), 1-800-465-1867 (toll-free) or 1-866-661-3530 (toll-free TTY), or visit the NCC’s website at Throughout the season, recorded information about skating conditions can be obtained by calling 613-239-5234.