Friday, January 1, 2016

Past POI - Rideau Canal [Ottawa, Ontario, Canada]

Last winter we went to visit Ottawa during Winterlude and got to experience skating on the Rideau Canal and had a great time and thought that I could use a bit of a history lesson behind it.

Start of the Rideau Canal Skateway.
Construction of the canal started in 1826 and it took 6 years to complete with it ending at 1832. It was actually built as a defensive measure against the United States but was never used for that purpose and it spans 202 km from Ottawa all the way to Kingston. There are a total of 49 locks in the systems and the locks are used to lower boats to a lower water level or raise them to a higher one.

In 1925 it was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada. In 2000 it was designated as a Canadian Heritage Site. In 2005 it was named the Largest Naturally Frozen Ice Rink by Guinness World Records and in 2007 it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Me near the beginning.
During the winter time, starting in 1971, you can actually skate on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa and it is 7.8 km in length. This attractions brings over one million visits a year, pretty impressive for something that is only open for a month or two depending on the weather. It is maintained 24/7 during the winter time.

Rideau is actually French for curtain, which describes how it looks where the two rivers that make up the Rideau, the Ridea River and the Cataraqui River, meets at the Ottawa River.

Enjoy a beavertail while skating (one of the stalls you see on the Rideau).
If you are in the area during wintertime, you should definitely check it out. I believe they have skates to rent there and while it is really busy at the beginning of the skating rink, it empties out really quickly (I would say before 0.5 km in). On the rink there are actual stalls that are set up for people to take a break and they serve drinks and snacks. While visitors only use it for fun, locals actually use it as a way to get to and from places.

Example of how it empties later on.
Come back next Friday for another Past Point of Interest!