One of Canada’s grand hotels offers a winter respite and skating on the famous Rideau Canal
If there’s a single reason to travel to the Canadian capital of Ottawa in the middle of a cold winter, it can be summed up in two words: Rideau Canal. For several months each winter, the 7.8 kilometer serpentine canal that runs through the heart of the city freezes up and becomes the world’s largest skating rink.
Except it isn’t a rink. It’s a proper canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a thoroughfare where families and couples and solo adults of all ages lace up and get their daily exercise. In a country synonymous with hockey, men of all ages wear the requisite black Bauer hockey skates and make like Wayne Gretzky. There are giggling teens in white figure skates and determined moms with speed skates on, pushing strollers that are outfitted with skates instead of wheels.
“Have a good skate,” said a gentlemen of a certain age as I laced up. He had just finished his daily skate, a workout that is capable of keeping you in fighting trim.