Ice skating on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal is an iconic Canadian winter experience and also attracts tourists from around the world.
The Canadian capital city is also billed as one of the top ten coldest national capitals in the world.
That title however seems increasingly to be in doubt and also not to be much help when it comes to conditions suitable for skating on the frozen canal in the heart of the city, a section of the canal over seven kilometres long.
The 50th season for ice skating on the canal has closed.
Almost 400,000 people enjoyed the skate this season, the second lowest number since attendance records began in 1992-93. The season lasted only from Jan 18 to Feb 23 which is the fifth shortest season on record.
However for the first time in its 50 year history, the whole length of the canal/rink was not opened. A main 400 metre section downtown near the National Arts Centre in fact never opened at all due to poor conditions. Officials say the fluctuating weather which was inconsistently cold and the fact that the section is shielded from cooling winds prevented the ice from reaching the required 30 cm thickness.
The shortest skating season was in 2015-16 when there was skating only for 18 days. Officials are studying how to make this renowned winter tradition more resilient to a changing climate and the increasingly unpredictable winter.