Canal reopens just in time for All Star Weekend

Skaters can now glide along the entire length of the Rideau Canal, just in time for the NHL All-Star Game weekend.

The National Capital Commission (NCC) opened the full 7.8 kilometres of the Rideau Canal Skateway Thursday at 7 a.m., said Jasmine Leduc, an NCC media relations officer.

“The NCC was waiting for the temperatures to drop in order to resume ice operations,” she said. “When the temperature dropped in the evening, the NCC was able to flood the skateway.”

This comes after the skateway had been shut down for three days because of mild weather and freezing rain, with skaters speculating whether it would be open again in time for the All-Star Game weekend.

But after the NCC announcement, the weekend’s festivities kicked off today at 2:30 p.m., with an NHL trophy parade along the canal from Waverley Street to the Ottawa Convention Centre. The parade included all NHL trophies, including the Stanley Cup, Hart Memorial Trophy and Vezina Trophy.

Other All-Star events planned for the canal include a public skate Friday evening and a skills competition Jan. 28.

Some areas of the canal are in better shape than others. The area between the Bronson Bridge and Dow’s Lake is in “poor condition,” while other areas are “fair,” according to the NCC website.

Environment Canada is also calling for rain and a high of 3 C on Friday, which may be troublesome for the events.

The NCC said it will make the final decision of whether to close the canal during the weekend.

“The Rideau Canal skating conditions are weather dependent. Factors such as temperatures above zero, rain and snow definitely have a negative impact on the ice,” Leduc said. “So we’re hoping for a lot of cold weather, very little snow and no rain. But at this point, it’s too early to speculate for an opening or closure on Friday.”