Skate the Rideau Canal Skateway: The Canadian Thing to Do!

Rideau Canal Skateway
The National Capital Commission opens 4.4 kilometres of ice between the Laurier Avenue Bridge and the Bronson Avenue Bridge.

Canada’s Capital Region — The 47th season of the world’s largest skating rink starts today. This morning, The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Dr. Mark Kristmanson, Chief Executive Officer of the NCC, and Michel Liboiron, Senior Director, Government Relations and Public Policy at CIBC, hoisted the green flag near the Fifth Avenue entrance to the Skateway to officially launch the skating season.

The NCC’s Rideau Canal Skateway team and the NCC Ice Safety Committee conducted tests along the entire length of the Skateway to conclude that the 4.4 kilometres of ice between the Laurier Avenue Bridge and the Bronson Avenue Bridge have reached the required thickness.

The public is asked not to venture onto the closed sections of the Skateway.

Skaters can access the open section of the Skateway by using various access points between the Laurier Avenue Bridge and the Bronson Avenue Bridge.

The Rideau Canal Skateway team will continue working to open other sections of the world’s largest skating rink as soon as ice conditions are safe and weather permits.

Managed by the NCC since the 1970–1971 season, the 7.8-kilometre Rideau Canal Skateway receives, on average, close to one million visits every year, with an average of 20,000 visits each day that it is open.


  • One of the official sites for Winterlude, the Capital’s winter celebration, which runs from February 3 to 20, 2017.
  • Host of the Sir John A’s Great Canadian Kilt Skate on January 28, 2017.
  • Host of the first Ice Dragon Boating Event in North America on February 17 and 18, 2017.
  • Host of a shinny hockey event as part of “Hockey Day in Canada” on February 18, 2017.
  • The Rideau Canal, a National Historic Site of Canada and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is owned by Parks Canada. The Skateway portion, close to downtown Ottawa, has been managed by the NCC during the winter months since the 1970–1971 season.


“The Rideau Canal Skateway has become a true icon of winter in Canada. In 2017, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, I invite everyone to partake in this uniquely Canadian activity and come for a skate on the Rideau Canal. The Government of Canada is proud to join the NCC in launching the 47th skating season on the Rideau Canal Skateway—an official Winterlude site that will host many events from February 3 to 20.”

—The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“As we celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial year, I am pleased to welcome skaters from far and wide to enjoy the Rideau Canal Skateway, one of Canada’s quintessential winter traditions.”

—Dr. Mark Kristmanson, Chief Executive Officer of the National Capital Commission 

“As we celebrate Canada and CIBC’s 150th birthdays this year, we are very proud to help showcase our nation’s Capital to the world through our support of the iconic Rideau Canal Skateway. As one of Canada’s most popular attractions, CIBC welcomes the close to one million skaters who will embrace winter amidst this remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

              —Monique Giroux, Vice President, Sponsorship Marketing & Strategic Partnerships


The NCC proudly thanks Parks Canada, which maintains and operates the Rideau Canal.

The NCC proudly enjoys the support of the following sponsors for the Rideau Canal Skateway: CIBC, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), Nokia, Pepsi, BeaverTails® pastry, CEECAM, Access Storage Canada, and Cubeit.


Rideau Canal Skateway: The World’s Largest Skating Rink

Winterlude, the Capital’s winter celebration

National Capital Commission


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For more information about the Rideau Canal Skateway, please contact the NCC at 613-239-5000, 613-239-5090 (TTY), 1-800-465-1867 (toll-free) or 1-866-661-3530 (toll-free TTY).

Media Information

Cédric Pelletier

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Strategic Communications Advisor
613-239-5678 extension 5709 (office)
613-852-2804 (cellular)