Just 31 short days after opening, Ottawa’s Rideau Canal Skateway has closed for the season. On Wednesday, the National Capital Commission revealed that the unusually warm weather was causing the ice to melt rapidly, and the skateway’s maintenance team were struggling to keep conditions safe. For the same reasons, the full length of the skateway was never completely opened.

Unfortunately for Ottawa’s skaters, the 50th season of skating on the Rideau Canal has already come to an end.

Just over a month after it officially opened for the winter, the National Capital Commission (NCC) has confirmed that the canal will be closing for the season, due to unexpected mild weather conditions.

In a statement on Wednesday, the NCC explained, “The unusually warm weather earlier this week resulted in a significant degradation of the ice.”

“With a major snowfall in the forecast, followed by higher temperatures, our mighty maintenance team can no longer ensure safe ice conditions," the message concluded.

Beginning on January 18, and lasting just 31 days, this year has been one of the rink's shortest ever skating seasons.

Last year, the skateway endured for 71 days, remaining open until as late as March 11.

The warm weather has affected the world’s largest rink since the beginning of the season this year, as staff were not able to make the section between Rideau Street and Laurier Avenue safe for skating.

It also took longer than usual to open the skateway in January, inspiring staff to share a hilariously cringey social media video about trying to get the ice ready.

In a post on Twitter, the NCC explained, “Our maintenance teams works hard, but can’t out work Mother Nature.”

They added that Ottawa’s upcoming storm would have only made conditions on the ice even more dangerous.

While the season was cut shorter than usual, the skateway did still welcome 381,000 visitors to the ice.

While the fun has definitely been cut short for Ottawa's skaters, we can celebrate the fact that spring must be finally on its way!

Start the Conversation
Account Settings
Log Out