Guinness World Records has confirmed it! Ottawa offers the Largest Skating Rink in the World


Ottawa, Ontario - Every winter there are more than one a million visits to the world's largest skating rink - the Rideau Canal Skateway. Equal to 90 Olympic-size skating rinks, the 7.8 km Rideau Canal Skateway winds its way through the heart of the Canadian Capital from Dow Lake to the National Arts Centre. It's open for free, and lined with snack stands, souvenir shops and skate rental booths. In August, 2005, Guinness World Records designated this the world's largest naturally frozen ice rink. It usually opens at the end of December and closes in early March, and it's one of the main attractions for Winterlude, Ottawa's family-friendly, February festival. in 2013 it will be held on weekends between February 1 and 18. In June 2007 the 202 km (125-mile) Rideau Canal, the waterway which connect Ottawa to Kingston, Ontario, was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It dates back to 1832 and is the oldest continuousley operated canal system in North America. Photo by Lucy Izon.

Quick Tips: At the fesival it's a tradition to snack on Beaver Tails. This popular local delicacy is fried dough shapped like a beaver tail, and served with a variety of toppings from cinnamon to chocolate. *In this city it's not unusual for local residents forgo their cars and skate to work. It’s common for most households to have their own skates.

Where: The skateway normally stretches from the locks between the Chateau Laurier and the Parliment buildings to the locks at Carlton University.

In The News: The Skatway is opened when the ice is at least 30 cm (12 inches) thick - which takes several days of very cold weather. CTV news reports the first 2.2 km (that's between Pretoria Bridge ad Bank St. Bridge) is open on January 18, in 2013. Check the Rideau Canal Skateway for the status of skating on the canal. It can be temporarily closed if the weather is too warm for several days.

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Lucy Izon

Canada Cool is produced by award-winning Canadian travel writer & speaker Lucy Izon. Her travel stories & reports have appeared in numerous leading North American publications including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, and Chicken Soup for the Traveler's Soul. Bio page

Canada’s Coolest:

Welcome to a new feature on Canada Cool. I'll be presenting different 'Coolest' lists with my favorites and I encourage you to nominate suggestions from your own experiences. You can Twitter @CanadaCool or email Let me know what makes your suggestion exceptionally cool. Remember, by contributing your comments you are giving Canada Cool permission to quote you. Only a selection of submissions will be included, but all comments and submissions are greatly appreciated!

The first feature is: Canada's Coolest Single Day Scenic Drives

Here are some of my favorites...

Icefields Parkway - the world's most accessible glacier

The Icefields Parkway, Jasper National Park, Alberta - This 229 km (142 mi) Rocky Mountain route from Banff/Lake Louise to Jasper passes 100 frozen rivers and nudges the base of the Athabasca Glacier - the most accessible glacier in the world. You can stop and explore it. It spills down from the Columbia Icefield, an area of ice so massive that you could fit the entire population of North America on it with each person getting at least a square metre of space.

Algonquin Moose Viewing

The Corridor, Algonquin Park, Ontario – this 56-km stretch of Hwy 60 cuts through the southwest section of Algonquin Park. Less than three hours north of Toronto the park is a nature-lover's paradise with 7,725 km of lakes, rivers, forest, trails, camping, comfortable lodges and 2000 km of canoe routes. Offers hiking trails to stop and enjoy, but what makes it really cool is that it’s one of the best places in North America to spot moose (especially in May and June). And, on Thursday nights in August up to 600 cars will gather to listen to wolves howl.

Cape Breton Cabot Trail drive

The Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia – Driving this 303 km (187 mile) route is like riding a roller-coaster: the road snakes around hairpin turns, rises to heights over 365 metres (1200 ft), weaves around headlands revealing spectacular coastal scenery, and plunges down to sea level taking you into the heart of small fishing communities. The most dramatic scenery is between the Cape Breton Highlands National Park entrance near Cheticamp and Pleasant Bay, so go slow. And, plan some flexibility into your schedule, so you can drive it on a clear day.

And here are some of your nominations for 'Canada's Coolest Single Day Scenic Drives'...


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'Canada's Coolest' topics we'll be publishing in the future:

  • Golf Course Features
  • Haunted Hotels
  • Hotel Special Services

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