The Rideau Canal runs from Canada’s Capital all the way to Kingston on Lake Ontario, 200 km away. During the winter a section of the canal in downtown Ottawa is turned into the Rideau Canal Skateway. This is no ordinary skating rink. It’s more than 7 km in length, which makes it the largest naturally frozen ice rink in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s also very well taken care of, with sections swept and flooded most nights. And perhaps best of all, it’s free and you’re able to skate 24 hours a day, weather permitting.
There are places where you can park your car, ramps down to the ice, which is particularly handy if you’re bringing a baby’s stroller or sled, places to rent skates, get your skates sharpened, and where you can leave your boots. There are 5 rest areas with heated change rooms, washrooms, fire pits, and where you can buy something to eat. Everyone seems to try a Beaver Tail at least once—a pastry made of fried dough and stretched to look like a beaver’s tail. The beaver is an official symbol of Canada. This map will help you find your way.
It is quite a feat to do the whole Skateway and then get back to your car, certainly too ambitious for little kids. It may look easy but if you’ve never skated before you’ll probably have a few tumbles (you can rent helmets and wrist guards too). So keep everyone’s boots handy in case you need to change back into them. And remember to dress warmly.
Consider visiting Ottawa during Winterlude, a three-week celebration of winter held every February. Kids love the snow slides and everyone enjoys the ice sculptures.
Check here for further information.
See the ever growing Bucket List for Kids in Canada
By Sylvia Fanjoy
© Riding the buses 2015