Winterlude 2012 – Skating on the Rideau Canal
The Rideau Canal is billed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and maintains bragging rights as the World’s largest skating rink. In a good year, the frozen canal surface provides an enjoyable skating experience from the Rideau Locks by the Ottawa Convention Center all the way to Dow’s Lake. How long the skating surface is, or how large the skating surface is at any given point in time during the winter, is highly weather dependent (Ice conditions). The main negative issue tends to be pressure cracks which require attention on the part of the skater so that the blade of the skate does not enter the crack and spill the skater. Keeping one’s eyes open and a little less than normal weight on the tip of the skate blade works wonders when conditions are listed as poor and the surface is a bit rougher.
This is the first year that new, specially designed, shelters have been in use. These controversial (because of the cost) new shelters are situated at convenient locations along the length of the skating area and are quite nice. The one by the convention center was very busy when we arrived to put on our skates. One further along the canal was less congested.
On this particular day I was out on the canal with my wife and some of her CFUW friends.
It was the first weekend of the Winterlude festival and there were definitely lots of people out for a stroll or skate on the canal’s frozen surface. The surface of the ice is swept and flooded most nights but, by the end of the day, there is usually a layer of ice shavings on the surface. This is especially true on weekends when usage is heaviest.
As we made our way along the canal, there were numerous people stopping to take a photo or two. At this particular location, the subjects in the middle of the canal were members of the Delta, B.C Ringette team. They were later spotted at a different location trying to get their share of the Beavertails.
Beavertails are a local pastry product known for their excellent flavour and somewhat inflated calorie content, but who’s counting calories while out skating on a frozen canal :-).
As I’m skating along the canal, I like to stop to take a few random shots of the people along the way. Today was no different and I had the pleasure of photographing two young ladies out for a stroll on the ice, as well as the D.I.F.D. robot which was being photographed and hugged by almost everyone. (D.I.F.D = Do It For Daron, a local youth mental health initiative)
Although I stumbled a few times while skating along with my camera at my eye, I didn’t fall down or do any serious damage to myself so, although I was happy to see the folks of the canal safety patrol and paramedic team out in numbers, I was equally happy that I didn’t need to call on their services.
I could have skated further, but knew that, by the time that we got back to the shelter by the peace tower and got out of our skates and back into our walking shoes, it would be getting a bit dark.
It was indeed dark by the time that we made our way back through Confederation Park, and I couldn’t help but stop to take a couple of pictures of the illuminated ice sculptures that were there.