Best time to visit Ontario

Rideau Canal Skating Season in Ontario

Let yourself skate along the largest naturally frozen ice rink in the world

Best time: January–February

Rideau Canal Skating Season
Rideau Canal Skating Season
Rideau Canal Skating Season
Rideau Canal Skating Season

The famous Rideau Canal Skateway attracts around a million skaters annually with its skating season running from January to late February. Being the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink, The Rideau Canal Skating rink winds for about 5 mi (8 km) through Ottawa. In 2007, it was even designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, after making it to the Guinness Book of World Records. So if you’re coming to Ottawa over the winter, don’t miss your chance to glide along!

The access to the Skateway is free. You can rent a pair of skates at the Skateway’s downtown or bring your own. Just take them on and see how far you can go, as the actual skating surface is around 41 acres (17 ha), and this is bigger than 90 Olympic-sized hockey rinks.

You will find various stands with hot chocolate, soup, and some other items to keep you warm all along the way. And don't forget to get a BeaverTails pastry while you're on a Skateway as this traditional cinnamon and sugar, beaver tail-shaped treat was invented in Ottawa in 1978.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa?

The season for the Rideau Canal Skating in Ottawa starts from January and continues till late February. Skating enthusiasts usually prefer this period to visit the Skateway which is open to its fullest extent then. The weather forecast should be checked during this time as it may affect the ice quality, hours of operation and rental availability of skate. Show more

Where is the Rideau Canal Skating Rink located in Ontario?

The renowned Rideau Canal Skating Rink is located at Ottawa, the capital city of Ontario, Canada. Situated on the Rideau Canal, the Skating Rink stretches from Dows Lake Pavilion to Downtown Ottawa. Moreover, several entry points such as near National Arts Centre on the Rideau Canal or near Fifth Avenue docks, make it easily accessible while being surrounded by multiple restaurants and shops. Show more

What is the length of the Rideau Canal Skating Rink in Ottawa?

The natural ice rink at the Rideau Canal Skating Rink in Ottawa stretches around 5 miles (8 km) long, making it the largest one in the world. Parks Canada team ensures that the ice surface's condition is correctly controlled and monitored for maintaining its level and flatness. The 41-acre stretch of ice allows visitors to skate longer and explore further along the canal surface. Show more

What is the significance of 2007 for Rideau Canal Skating Rink in Ottawa?

Rideau Canal Skating Rink was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007, recognizing it for its cultural and historical significance. Alongside its clean preservation, the rink's incorporation into the urban region of Ottawa ever since the 1970s showcases and preserves the community's diverse history and heritage. It is now one of Ottawa's popular spots and a renowned destination for winter sports enthusiasts globally. Show more

What unique local snack can you try while skating on Rideau Canal Skating Rink in Ottawa?

If you're skating on the Rideau Canal Skating Rink, you must try the well-known snack named BeaverTail pastry. Ottawa introduced the fried dough pastry in 1978, which looks like beaver's tail due to its preparation. You can find stands alongside the Skateway that sell BeaverTails; their unique taste is enhanced by adding your choice of toppings such as maple syrup and chocolate hazelnut which makes for a perfect break from skating. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin