rideau canal ontario

The world's largest naturally frozen skating rink opens in Ontario next month

The nation's capital is embracing its Canadian identity by offering the largest skating rink in the world to the public, for free, because, Canada.

Entering its 53rd year, the world's largest naturally frozen skating rink, the Rideau Canal Skateway, winds its way through the heart of Ottawa over a total length of 7.8 kilometres, stretching from downtown to Dow's Lake.

The longest Skateway on Earth is divided into 13 sections, all of which are open 24 hours a day.

So when does the Rideau Canal Skateway open for the winter?

According to the Skateway's website, the skating season typically runs from "early January to the beginning of March" but it's all weather-dependent (obviously).

The massive skating path only opens to the public once the surface is at least 30 centimetres thick with “good quality ice.” For that to happen, the skateway’s experts say the ice needs 10 to 14 days of consecutive cold weather (-10°C to -20°C).

Once open, the Skateway’s website will have up-to-the-minute condition updates and a live webcam so skaters can monitor the ice’s conditions before lacing up.

Heated sheds are available to lace up from 8 am to 10 pm on Sundays to Thursdays and from 8 am to 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Plus, the Skateway has mini concession areas where vendors sell coffee, tea, pastries, water, and of course, Beaver Tails.

Last year, the Skateway opened to the public on January 14 and closed on March 5, offering 41 days of free skating.

Getting FOMO yet? You can enjoy plenty of photos from years past on Instagram until that Ottawa road trip. 

You can get there by car from downtown Toronto in just over four hours.

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