Ottawa·Photos

Rideau Canal Skateway opens for winter

Today was the first day skaters could lace up and get out on Ottawa's world-famous Rideau Canal Skateway — if they were brave enough to face the bone-chilling weather.

Eager skaters were on the canal bright and early

Skaters bundled up to hit the Rideau Canal Skateway on the first day of the 2020 season. (Joseph Tunney/CBC)

Today was the first day skaters could lace up and get out on Ottawa's world-famous Rideau Canal Skateway — if they were brave enough to face the bone-chilling weather.

A 2.3-kilometre stretch of the skateway opened Saturday at 8 a.m., with an opening ceremony a few hours later.

 This is the 50th season of the skateway. 

According to Environment Canada, the high this morning was only –13 C, with the wind chill making it feel much colder. Still, those temperatures didn't stop people from enjoying the wintry weather.

Sarah Griesbach and her husband brought their two children out to embrace the cold. Her daughter Haven did her best to stay balanced and keep up next to her mother. 

Farther down the ice, five-year-old Emily Denham also seemed to be having fun skating around with her father. 

"Without the canal, skating on the canal, [Ottawa] would be a much lesser city in the winter," said John Dance.

"You have to celebrate winter — and being on this canal, skating on this canal, is the way to do it."

Ottawa Centre MP Catherine McKenna spoke at the opening ceremony.

"Get your friends all out here," she said into the microphone. "We are winter, here in Ottawa Centre."

Barbara and Brett Taylor were on a cross-country drive from Halifax when they found themselves stuck between two storms and decided to hunker down in the nation's capital.

Barbara said skating on the canal was on her bucket list.

"It's just a beautiful idea," she said, "skating in the middle of the city."

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