When you’re looking at booking your accommodation, one thing to keep in mind is that not all parts of the Rideau Canal are always open to skate. This may mean even though your hotel is within walking distance, you may need to travel a bit further to a section that is open.
We weren’t able to walk from our hotel but since the Winterlude Festival is in full swing, we hopped on the complimentary festival shuttle—the Sno-Bus—that took us to Fifth which is one of the main rest areas on the canal. It turned out to be the perfect starting point for our Rideau Canal skating adventure. With skate rentals, washrooms, food options,—including Canada’s favourite cinnamon-sugar treat: BeaverTails—changerooms and fire pits to help keep you warm along with first aid attendants skating around and other staff members skating with big question mark signs, we felt welcomed, safe and like we had everything we could need.
I highly recommend starting off your time on the Rideau Canal at Fifth. But no matter where you go on the canal, always check the ice conditions first.