The Rideau Canal, the largest skating rink in the world listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will not open this year, a first. The expanse of ice located in Ottawa, capital of Canada, is the victim of a winter that is too mild.
“Despite our best efforts, the weather got the better of us for the first time in our history,” the channel manager sadly confirmed on Twitter on Friday. “We are unable to open the rink for the season. »
The sad impact of climate change
For this channel to be passable to skaters, the mercury must remain between -10 and -20°C for almost two weeks. It was generally accessible from the end of December in the 1970s but gradually opened later and later, often in mid or even late January. In 2020, we had to wait until January 28 to skate there.
Lower temperatures recorded in Ottawa this weekend were not enough to reverse the trend this year. In mid-February, tourists and residents of Ottawa – who sometimes go to work by skating – had expressed their disappointment. “I wish I could skate on it, but the best I can do now is just watch it,” said one.
With abnormally high temperatures in December 2022 and January 2023, Ottawa is expected to record its third warmest winter this year. The effects of climate change on the canal have been studied for several years. 7.8 km long, the famous Rideau Canal which crosses the city attracts an average of 22,000 visitors a day.