Rideau Canal Skateway during Winterlude in Ottawa, Canada
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Gliding through winter. Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa, Canada
Today we're at the iconic Rideau Canal Skateway in Canada's capital city of Ottawa. Each winter a 4.8-mile section of the canal downtown is converted into the world's largest—and second-longest—outdoor skating rink. Rideau was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007, and most years this rink section becomes a featured attraction of Winterlude, a free annual festival that usually attracts visitors from across the country for the first three weekends of February.
The 2022 Winterlude festival runs February 4-21, and traditionally features a wide variety of cold-weather activities, including ice-sculpture and snowman-building competitions, a gigantic snowflake playground, a tug-of-war, winter sports lessons, and a wide array of public art installations. However, given the ongoing pandemic, many of the in-person activities will again be canceled this year. The national ice-carving contest will go ahead, as it did last year, when all Winterlude programming was virtual—spectators of the contest will be able to view and vote for the sculptures online.
Our fingers are crossed inside toasty mittens for Winterlude 2023, when locals and tourists will hopefully again indulge in Canada's cultural and artistic diversity, while transforming the city into a giant winter wonderland.