Rideau Canal will open amid state of emergency, NCC announces

The National Capital Commission said all of its outdoor amenities — which include the canal and winter trails — will be available for locals to use for exercising only.

Concessions closed and skaters asked to wear masks while on skateway

A skater on a section of the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa in 2020. The NCC has announced that the canal will remain open despite the province's stay-at-home order announced Tuesday. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The Rideau Canal will still open as planned, the National Capital Commission (NCC) announced after the province introduced new public health restrictions this week.

Ontario's stay-at-home order announced Tuesday means people need to limit non-essential trips outside their homes starting Thursday. 

In a news release Wednesday, the commission said all of its outdoor amenities — which include the canal and winter trails — will be available for locals to use for exercising only. 

The commission asks, however, that people use those amenities close to their homes. 

The food and beverage concession stands on the Rideau Canal Skateway and fire pits won't open, it said. NCC will add sanitizing stands and where space allows, it will create staircases that go both directions.

It's asking everyone to wear masks while skating on the canal.

"We are also counting on the co-operation of users to comply with the newly issued provincial measures," reads the statement. 

Part of Queen Elizabeth Driveway closed to traffic

The NCC says it will close a section Queen Elizabeth Driveway to traffic and open it up for locals to use from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., all week. When and where this will happen will be announced later, it said. 

The NCC says due to public health restrictions, NCC Bistro at Remic Rapids Park won't open during the state of emergency.

The 7.8-kilometre Rideau Canal Skateway is free and accessible 24/7 typically from January to March. The skateway is currently closed and the NCC is asking people to stay off thin ice until it's deemed safe and it officially opens.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.