For next-level skating, you will want to travel to Ottawa, Canada this Winter.
Each year, the Rideau Canal, which runs through the city center, freezes over enough to form the world’s largest natural ice rink—stretching 4.8 miles from Downtown Ontario to man-made Dow’s Lake.
Access is free, and visitors can explore over 6 sqm of frozen canal. For a respite from the cold, skaters can relax at 1 of the many rest areas along the way, which feature fire pits, changing rooms, and vendors selling “Beaver Tails”warm, deep-fried cinnamon and sugar pastries that have been a Canadian classic since Y 1978.
Rideau Canal’s rink usually opens for the season in January and runs until late February; however, the river has to freeze 12 ins thick minimum in order to support the 20,000 skaters that visit daily.
A spokesman for the National Capital Commission, told the Ottawa Citizen, “Impatience with the opening of the canal is always high. The Skateway is the No. 1 winter icon in the capital. But at the end of the day, it’s a natural surface, natural ice outdoors and we have to do it with the weather we have.”
The Citizen reports that it takes at least 2 weeks of consecutive cold nights (below -10 or -15 degrees Celsius) in order for there to be enough ice.
In addition to skaters, the rink also hosts Winterlude, a Canadian winter celebration that takes place during the first three weeks of February.
If something involves ice, this festival probably has it, activities range from international ice carving competitions to the popular “ice dragon boat festivals.”
So if you are thriving in these freezing temperatures, consider making the trek up to Ottawa in the next few weeks to celebrate the season.
Enjoy your travels