The Rideau Canal connects the Canadian cities of Ottawa and Kingston, Ontario. Rideau is French for “curtain” and the canal was named for its curtain like appearance where the Rideau River’s twin waterfalls join the Ottawa River.
The Canal passes through the Ottawa city center and every winter it is turned into a giant public ice skating rink – many of the skaters are daily commuters who use the canal was a way to travel to work. Preparations include partially draining the canal and facilities such as shelters chalets and access ramps for maintenance vehicles are created.
Twice-daily updates are provided by Ottawa so skaters can safely make their commute or merely enjoy the popular winter time activity: http://www.ncc-ccn.gc.ca/rideau-canal-skateway/#home
The canal was originally built in case of war in 1832, but has become a symbol of peace and prosperity over the years as its use is primarily used for pleasure boating and of course skating. The Rideau Canal is the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America and has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.