February 25, 2024

Canada has the world's largest natural skiing rink

You don't have to share a small ice rink with hundreds of ice skating fans, but imagine being able to skate for miles straight and still enjoy the atmosphere of a big city.

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It's possible in Canada: here in Ottawa is the world's longest ice rink. At least when it's cold…

Hot weather does not allow ice skating

The nearly eight-kilometer-long glacier on the Rideau Canal was opened to the public a few days ago, but now it has had to be closed again. Last winter, for the first time in the city's history, local residents were hit hard when the ice rink was unable to open.

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Four days later, the canal is now unsafe again, they say National Capital Commission (NCC). The reason for the closure is that the snow is very rough and the snow can hide cracks, bumps and even holes. In addition, ice should be protected from hot temperatures and rain. “The skateway will reopen as soon as snow conditions are safe and weather permits,” officials wrote.

The canal is a World Heritage Site

The Rideau Canal Skateway runs through the heart of Ottawa and is also a World Heritage Site. The ice skating season here usually starts in January and ends in March, but the weather is a very important factor. If it's cold enough and the snow is safe, everyone can ski here for free 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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The first ice skating season in the canal's history took place in 1971. The idea came from Doug Fullerton, the then chairman of the NCC (National Capital Commission). A crew used shovels and brooms to remove snow from the area between the Mackenzie King and Laurier bridges. After a while, people were able to skate for five kilometers with lights and music.

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On average, a season here lasts 50 days, compared to 95 days in the winter of 1971/72. Between 1979 and 1985, horse racing also took place on the canal. In 2005, the rink reached another milestone and was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest natural ice rink. UNESCO World Heritage title in 2007.

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Travel Correspondent