Winter in Ottawa can be cold, snowy, icy, slushy and just miserable after 3 months in with still more to go. But there is one amazing and fun bright spot in it all, the Rideau Canal Skateway. I’m not a fan of winter. The long nights and endless cold really take their toll on me. Sure snow can be pretty but I’d be happy only to see it at Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ottawa but we get pretty harsh winters here. Thankfully we also know how to have fun in winter when the 7.8km long Rideau Canal gets turned into the world’s longest skating rink every winter (for as long as the weather is cold enough to keep it frozen). I only learned to love skating a few years ago and I’m still not very strong so I’ve yet to skate the entire length of the canal but the section around Patterson Creek in the Glebe is so pretty that I don’t really feel like I need to. This winter I’ve managed to make it over to the canal a few times and here are some of my photos. Also find my tips for visiting the Rideau Canal Skateway at the bottom of this post!
Skating on the Rideau Canal is probably the best thing about winter in Ottawa. I mean where else can you skate on a historic UNESCO World Heritage Site canal through the centre of a city? Stretching 7.8km the Rideau Canal is the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink and my favourite thing about winter here in Ottawa.
One of my favourite fall activities is hiking in Gatineau Park. It’s really the best place for hiking around Ottawa and only a 15 minute drive from downtown. The best trail is the Wolf Trail (trail 62) since it’s one of the longest at 8.3 km and there is a decent amount of elevation with great views. In total it takes about 3 hours.
Maplelawn Gardens is a 19th century walled garden in the neighbourhood of Westboro in Ottawa. It’s one of the hidden gems of the city and a rare example of a European walled garden in Canada that some houses used to have.