Rideau Canal re-opens in time for Hockey Day in Canada

Thanks to a cold snap that hit Ottawa on Friday, the National Capital Commission will be re-opening the Rideau Canal Skateway this weekend.

The NCC announced Friday afternoon it would partially re-open the canal at 8 a.m. Saturday. A 3.3-kilometre stretch of ice between Bank Street Bridge and the Concord Rest — near the intersections of Waverley Street and Queen Elizabeth Driveway, and Concord Street and Colonel By Drive — has been deemed safe for skaters.

Rain and poor ice conditions forced the NCC to temporarily close the Rideau Canal Skateway Jan. 24.

There was no word on when the full 7.8 kilometres will open. The NCC requires the ice to be at least 30 centimetres thick, which is the safety standard.

“The NCC is working to open the remaining sections of the world’s largest skating rink as soon as ice conditions are safe and weather permits,” the commission said.

People are asked to respect the barricades and stay off the closed sections of the canal.

Meanwhile, the canal will be re-opening in time to celebrate Canada’s national sport as part of the Hockey Day in Canada activities being held across the country this Saturday.

The activities, presented by the NCC and the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club, include a three-on-three shinny game between the Ottawa Senators alumni and former NHL players on the Rideau Canal Skateway at 12:30 p.m.

The Senators alumni scheduled to participate include Laurie Boschman, Jim Kyte, Jason Smith, Jason York and Shaun Van Allen. The NHL alumni squad will feature Ted Bulley of the Chicago Blackhawks, John Chabot of the Montreal Canadiens, Larry Skinner of the Colorado Rockies, Doug Smith of the Los Angeles Kings and Rick Smith of the Boston Bruins.

Free skating lessons will also be offered to new Canadians on the canal.

The events will take place at Patterson Creek inlet, off Queen Elizabeth Driveway, between Linden Terrace and First Avenue.