Everything You Need To Know About Ottawa's Rideau Canal 7.8 KM Long Skating Rink
Alright, guys, you've got to admit that Montreal's got some pretty solid ice skating rinks (was that even a pun? I don't know. It was terrible. I'm sorry.)
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There's the Old Port skating rink; the Beaver Lake skating rink; the Olympic Stadium skating rink; and many, many more.
And although our skating rinks are literal works of art, there's one rink a couple of hours away from Montreal that every ice skate lover absolutely needs to check out.
It's the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa, and it just so happens to be the biggest natural ice skating rink in the whole world.
If you've ever been there, then you know exactly how overwhelmingly gorgeous this skating spot truly is.
Even if you haven't, trust: skating on the Rideau Canal is something you absolutely need to do once in your life. And if you decide you need to go, here are some things you should know first:
The skateway only opens when the ice gets thick enough.
So it doesn't have a fixed opening date, although the canal does try to open up during the first week of January. This year, it still hasn't opened up; but you can check out right here when the rink will reach the 12 inches needed.
Yes, you can rent skates.
Skates cost $18 to rent per 2 hours. You can also rent a sleigh and equipment for various prices, too.
And you can have yourself a skateway picnic, too.
The Rideau Canal Skateway has 5 rest areas, which have picnic tables, fire pits, food vendors, and more. Rest, recharge... and then keep skating!
When they say it's the biggest skating rink in the world, they're not joking.
At 7.8 kilometers, this is one seriously huge skating rink. And it needs to be - according to its website, the skateway sees about a million people per year.
It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site, too.
In 2007, UNESCO named the Rideau Canal a World Heritage Site. Two years earlier, the Guiness Book of World Records named it the largest naturally frozen ice rink in the world.
You can go pretty much whenever.
Technically, parts of the canal that are open for skating are accessible 24/7... but be super careful, as maintenance crews usually work during the night.
They've got a super easy safety system in place.
If you see red flags on the ice, that means you need to totally avoid that spot. Green flags means everything's cool. For more information on how to keep safe on the skateway, check out this page right here.
And it's actually super accessible.
There's parking pretty much everywhere; universally accessible areas; washrooms and places to eat; and pretty much whatever you need to make sure your Rideau Canal skateway adventure is top notch.