Rideau canal skating

2011-01-31

in Canada, Ottawa, The outdoors

Somehow, over the course of my two years in Oxford, I never managed to go punting.

Lest my Ottawa experience be similarly impoverished, I got some skates today and gave the famous Rideau Canal a try. My high-school era rollerblading experience seems to have been surprisingly well maintained, given the comparative ease with which I took to skating. Over the course of the day, I went from Argyle (near the Elgin Street diner) to the pavilion at Dow’s Lake, then back to Argyle, then back to Dow’s Lake, then back to the Bank Street Canal Bridge, and back once more to Dow’s Lake.

The ice is certainly rougher than in an indoor arena, and you need to watch for fissures. That said, the experience is much more enjoyable than looping round and around a generic ice rink. You get some sunlight for vitamin D synthesis, and you feel like you are participating in a part of civic life. For certain friends, the canal is actually a pretty useful mode of transport for me. If you live somewhere along it and ever need to get to the southern end of Preston Street, it provides a nice alternative to the random timing of Ottawa’s non-transitway buses.

I am going to try and skate a couple of times a week, at least, between now and when the canal skating season ends. If people have skating plans, please let me know. I now live five minutes from the canal, and have skates at the ready.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

oleh January 31, 2011 at 11:12 am

Some Rideau Canal Facts:

1. In the 1970’s, the Ottawa City Government considered paving it over to create an automobile expressway – Boo

2. The 7.8 kilometer length makes it the world’s largest skating rink – the equivalent of 99 Olympic hockey rinks -Wow.

3. In 2007 it was declared a UNESCO Heritage Site- Yea.

. March 1, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Why we need to blow up the Rideau River Every winter Ottawa goes with the floes as city workers detonate sticks of dynamite to break up the Rideau River’s ice and prevent flooding. For residents, the annual explosions are a welcome reminder that spring is near

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