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Rideau Canal Skateway temporarily closed amid warm weather in Ottawa

A person follows directions for one-way traffic on a staircase as they leave the Rideau Canal Skateway on its opening day in Ottawa, on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rideau Canal closed for the season as of Monday, Feb. 22 at 10 p.m. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect new guidance from the National Capital Commission on the use of the skateway.

The Rideau Canal Skateway is closed temporarily this week as temperatures are set to rise above 0 C.

The canal closed to skaters at 10 p.m. on Monday, the National Capital Commission said.

The NCC, which operates the iconic skating rink, said in an update on its website that “adverse weather conditions” are set to make the ice unsuitable for use.

“The milder weather in the forecast and the snowfall contribute to the formation of cracks on the ice surface, in addition to dangerous holes which can be hidden under the snow,” the Crown corporation said.

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The canal will reopen as soon as weather permits, the NCC added, with no timeline given.

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Environment Canada forecasts highs of 2 C and 1 C on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Temperatures are set to drop back below 0 C to close out the week but will rise again to 2 C by Sunday, according to the weather agency’s current estimations.

The Rideau Canal Skateway opened for its 51st season on Jan. 28, with the full 7.8 kilometres open for skating as of Feb. 2.

This year’s skating season is markedly different due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, with concessions banned and mask-use mandated.

Though originally use of the skateway was intended for nearby residents only, the NCC has recently updated its guidance since Ottawa moved to the orange-restrict level of Ontario’s COVID-19 framework. It now only asks that residents follow public health guidances on both sides of the Ottawa River and use the asset responsibly.

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