Guinness gives official nod to Winnipeg skating trail

It's official: Winnipeg is home to the world's longest naturally frozen skating trail, according to Guinness World Records.

Ottawa's rink knocked out of record book

It's official: Winnipeg is home to the world's longest naturally frozen skating trail, according to Guinness World Records.

The trail, which officially opened Jan. 28, snakes 8.54 kilometres along the Assiniboine and Red Rivers in central Winnipeg, from Voyageur Park in the east to Omand's Creek in the west.

Guinness will send a certificate about the record, which will be displayed at The Forks.

"It's kind of cool," said Paul Jordan, spokesman for The Forks, a national historic site involved in managing the trail.

"It's always interesting to be in the Guinness Book of Records, especially this one, which we didn't deliberately set out to do, but the chain of events took us this way," he said.

Last year, warm weather prevented the former record holder, Ottawa's Rideau Canal,  from reaching its full length, leaving Winnipeg with the longest trail by default. This year, Winnipeg organizers decided to extend the trail even longer than usual in an attempt to officially break the record.

About 50,000 people used the Winnipeg trail last weekend, Jordan said.

He mused about making the skating trail even longer next winter by extending it north and south along the Red River to Point Douglas and St. Vital.

Ottawa's skating trail along the Rideau Canal, at about 7½ kilometres, was previously registered as the world's largest naturally frozen ice surface by Guinness World Records.

Ottawa could still hold the claim to the "largest" rink; while Winnipeg's river rink is longer, the Rideau Canal path is wider and offers a much larger skating surface.

Winnipeg's skating trail played a role in another Guinness record attempt this winter: more than 1,400 people lined up single file on Winnipeg's Assiniboine River on Feb. 18 in an effort to set a Guinness World Record for the "longest human skating chain."

The current record is held by 102 people in Britain.