Rideau Canal Skateway will not open for start of Winterlude, NCC says

The Rideau Canal Skateway will not be open for the first weekend of Winterlude, the National Capital Commission says.

Mild January temperatures and heavy snow has kept the world’s largest skateway closed for skating this winter.

While crews have resumed operations in an attempt to open the Rideau Canal Skateway for its 53rd season, an NCC spokesperson tells CTV News Ottawa the canal will not open in time for the first weekend of Winterlude on Friday.

“The colder temperatures expected this week and over the weekend are good news for the Rideau Canal Skateway,” the NCC said in a statement.

“While the Skateway will not be open for the first weekend of February, our teams are working relentlessly to safely open a section of the Skateway, flooding the ice surface every evening.“

The Rideau Canal Skateway is a popular draw for Winterlude and winter tourist activities in Ottawa.

If the Rideau Canal Skateway does open this winter, it would be the latest opening date in the history of the skateway. The latest opening date is Feb. 2, 2002.

The NCC is reminding people to stay off the Rideau Canal Skateway until it’s open for skating.

“The ice is still unstable on many sections of the canal, so it’s important to remind the public not to not venture on it,” the NCC said.

The opening date for the Rideau Canal Skateway has been getting later over the years.

In the canal’s first 26 seasons, the median opening date was Dec. 27. In the 26 years since the 1995-96 season, the median opening date has been Jan. 10. Across all 52 skating seasons, the median opening date is Jan. 1. 

With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Ted Raymond

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