February 11, 2018: I’ve always wanted to skate on the Rideau Canal, the frozen canal in Ottawa. It’s something so Canadian and so unique when visiting Canada’s capital city in the winter time.
Thus, since we were here for the weekend for the second annual ice dragon boat festival, we returned back to Dow’s Pavilion on the day before we returned back to Toronto to skate on this infamous frozen canal.
We had already been walking on the frozen Rideau Canal when we were attending the ice dragon boat festival and had seen other skaters on it as they viewed the race too.
We arrived early on the Sunday morning to get our skates on. They have an on-site portable that houses skate rentals, skate sharpening, lockers, and helmets and laces and other skating essentials for a fee. There aren’t any public lockers or indoor seating areas for you to put on your skates (as far as I could see anyway). There were a couple of benches though. (Edit: They do have heated change huts and snack stations along the canal!)
There were a lot of people skating already and lots of families with young children too.
I hadn’t skated in several years and after I had my skates on, the feeling of my feet squeezed into the tight skates was so unfamiliar. After a while, it seemed like the weight of my body on my ankles was too much to handle and I had to stop.
Although it was a really short spell of skating, it felt really cool to be able to finally skate on the Rideau Canal. However, since it was a natural frozen canal, I wasn’t familiar with the surface of the ice (I’d only skated on skating rinks that had been smoothed out by zambonis before). Edit: There is an actual special Skateway zamboni used to smooth out the ice according to the Skateway website! It was quite rough and bumpy in some areas. It made me fearful of tripping over and falling. XD
I hope to someday return again to skate more of the Rideau Canal. After all, it is the “world’s largest skating rink” (being 7.8 km) and thus it would be so neat to be able to skate along more of the frozen canal.