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             ICE SKATING

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Rideau Canal Ottawa Canada
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Winterlude Festiva

For the last 20 years, this unique winter celebration has been held every February for the last nineteen years on Confederation Boulevard and the Rideau Canal. Winterlude is more than a festival -- it's a celebration of Canada's distinctive northern identity. 

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN SKATING ON THE RIDEAU CANAL

WHAT KIND OF WEATHER CONDITIONS CAN BE EXPECTED ON THE ICE? Cold; maybe sunny and maybe windy. Once you start moving, you will warm up. However, if it is windy, you will need to protect yourself with coverage for your face and head. The ice can be bright on a sunny day and you may wish to have sunglasses and even sunscreen may be required.

SKATING CONDITIONS? The ice is usually best in the morning. You will need to watch for the occasional crack that is usually found lengthwise along the canal. If you have a choice, hockey skates are best for the rougher outdoor ice because they do not have the tips. However, figure skates are perfectly fine. It is recommended that you take care of skate sharpening prior to your arrival in Ottawa.

DO I HAVE TO PUT MY SKATES ON OUTDOORS? Huts are available for this purpose free of charge. Sometimes, they can be very busy. It is not recommended that you leave your boots there. It is best to bring a plastic bag for your boots and then carry them in a knapsack while skating. Packs with waist adjustments are most comfortable for this purpose. Some areas only permit access with skate guards. For a couple of bucks, a skate tightener helps you get your skates on faster and more uniformly tight.

BATHROOMS? Yes. However, there may be a few kilometers between stops. Definitely go before you leave the hotel.

FOOD? Some snacks are available for purchase along the canal but it is always good to carry something. It will be possible to purchase hot food and drinks at either end of the Canal. Please keep in mind that some areas are only accessible if you are wearing skate guards. It is a good idea to bring a thermos. A pot for boiling water will be available in your hotel rooms. You may wish to bring your own tea bags, hot chocolate packs etc and prepare something for your thermas prior to leaving the hotel room.

HOW DO I STAY WARM? As a general rule, wear layers. The main thing is to protect from getting a chill. This happens when you perspire, which helps to keep you warm while moving, but equally responsible for making you cold when you stop. Imagine wearing a cotton tee-shirt wet with perspiration and standing still in temperatures between minus 15 and minus 5. Even with a warm coat, this can cause a chill. To avoid this, always wear synthetic or quick dry fabrics closest to your skin. Polypropylene is a good bet and can be found in most sporting good stores. This type of fabric wicks away perspiration and dries quickly even when you are wearing it. Fleece has similar properties and is good to wear as one of your other layers. Socks are also available for purchase in these fabrics. Always make sure that socks are not bulky so that they will be comfortable in your skates. Tip: it is told that sprinkling hot red pepper powder on your bare feet helps to keep your feet "hot".