“The world's largest skating rink”
The Rideau Canal, also known as the Rideau Waterway, connects the city of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on the Ottawa River to the city of Kingston, Ontario, on Lake Ontario. The name Rideau, French for "curtain," is derived from the curtain-like appearance of the Rideau River's twin waterfalls where they join the Ottawa River. The canal system uses sections of major rivers, including the Rideau and the Cataraqui, as well as some lakes. The canal was opened in 1832 as a precaution in case of war with the United States. It remains in use today primarily for pleasure boating, with most of its original structures intact, operated by Parks Canada. The locks on the system open for navigation in mid-May and close in mid-October. It is the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America, and in 2007 it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A highlight of winter in Ottawa is the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest skating rink. Skate through the heart of downtown Ottawa on the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The Skateway is 7.8 kilometres long, and begins just steps from Canada’s Parliament Buildings. The scenic skating rink extends to Dows Lake. In between, warm up at rest areas, where there are toasty fires, hot drinks and tasty snacks. When the temperature drops this winter, it’s time to celebrate! A cold snap is exactly what’s needed to create the Rideau Canal Skateway. Typically, the Skateway opens in January and, in February, many activities take place on the frozen canal during winterlude.
You can't take a trip to Ottawa and not go for a skate on the Rideau Canal. There's always a big group of people skating the frozen river, and it's pretty much right out of a painting. The views are so pretty they'll make you forget about how cold Ottawa winters can get... almost. Make sure to bring a big thermos of hot chocolate with you when you visit!
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