Posted by: Josey | January 20, 2009

Winter Vacation Ideas: Ice Skating the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Canada (Yes, Really)

When I told people I was traveling to Canada… in February… they all reacted similarly: “WHAT? WHY?”

But Jeff, a talented hockey player, has always dreamed of ice skating the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, the world’s largest ice skating rink (“la plus grande du monde!”). So, for a combined birthday-Valentine’s Day gift for him last year, I booked a trip.


Every February, Ottawa becomes a winter wonderland of activities: ice-sculpture contests, light shows, concerts. They call the three-weekend-long festival Winterlude, and—despite the freezing-cold temperatures—ice skating along the frozen Rideau Canal is certainly the highlight. As you skate along, there are rest areas reminiscent of Mystery, Alaska where you can warm up with hot chocolate and Canadian treats such as maple-flavored Beavertails pastries, maple taffy on snow… even poutine. (That’s French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy to you and me. “Fried stuff with cheese” to Joey on Friends.)

Ice skating may burn nearly 500 calories per hour, but elastic waistbands don’t hurt either!





Look at that fancy footwork:



  1. Looks like it was magic

  2. […] See more here: Winter Vacation Ideas: Ice Skating the Rideau Canal in Ottawa … […]

  3. used to be a picture on a postcard, now it comes alive with people I know enjoying it

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