Students look forward to skating on the Rideau Canal – soon?

As cold temperatures over the next week mean that the Rideau Canal Skateway may finally open for the season, some of Algonquin College’s international students from China are especially eager to lace up their skates. “The whole family was looking forward to this event, having seen the canal skateway video online when I wasn’t in […]
Photo: Huijun Li
"This year, I’ve been practicing with friends at the rink near the school in preparation for the skateway’s opening,” said Kaiwen Wu, (left) a web development and internet applications student. As for Weilu Wang, (right) a spring 2023 graduate the interior design program, she has skated on the canal once before. "I have fond memories of the experience, and I consider it fun and unique," she said.

As cold temperatures over the next week mean that the Rideau Canal Skateway may finally open for the season, some of Algonquin College’s international students from China are especially eager to lace up their skates.

“The whole family was looking forward to this event, having seen the canal skateway video online when I wasn’t in Ottawa and longed for it,” said Ling Ling, a first-year early childhood education student. “When I was a kid living in China, there was a small lake near my house that would occasionally freeze in the winter if it was cold enough, and I would go skate on it wearing regular shoes. I had never had the chance to skate on naturally formed ice before I came to Canada.”

Cold temperatures over the next week suggest that the opening of the Rideau Canal Skateway may be close at hand.

Ice skating on the 7.8-kilometres long Rideau Canal is a popular winter activity in Ottawa. However, due to weather conditions, the canal has yet to open this year. In 2022 and 2021, the opening dates were Jan. 14 and Jan. 28, respectively.

“Our snow and ice specialists need approximately 10 to 14 consecutive days of temperatures between -10 C and -20 C to prepare the canal for skating,” according to the NCC’s website.

Weilu Wang, a graduate of the interior design this coming spring, has visited the canal once before.

“I’ve only skated on the canal once when I borrowed skates from a friend because renting shoes there was too expensive, and the rental location was difficult to find,” said Wang. “But I have fond memories of the experience, and I consider it fun and unique.”

Wang’s friend, Kaiwen Wu, didn’t feel confident in her skating abilities when they visited the canal for the first time last year.

“I remember feeling intimidated by the professional skaters and the fast pace on the canal,” said Wu, a web development and internet applications student who is doing her co-op. “So, this year, I’ve been practicing with friends at the rink near the school in preparation for the skateway’s opening.”

That rink, in Centrepointe at Ben Franklin Place, is a refrigerated surface and has been open for skating all winter

International students mentioned that they would appreciate it if the school organized events to address the challenges of renting equipment or transportation.

“It would be wonderful if the school could organize a group outing for all interested parties,” said Wang. Wu nodded and agreed.

“I would eagerly anticipate this event, and I’ve never experienced anything like it in China,” said Qing Xu from the computer engineering technology-computing science program. “I hope that the school can organize a similar outing, and it would be convenient if it could be scheduled on a weekend so that I can manage my study schedule.”

Amanda Logan, the events programmer at the Students’ Association, says that due to unpredictable weather, students’ association will not be planning any canal trip as the opening times of the canal have yet to be confirmed.

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