Safety Tips for the Ottawa Canal

Skating on the Ottawa Canal

Safety is the key to an enjoyable skate on Ottawa’s Ottawa Canal. But remember that safety starts with you. These tips can help you have a safe and exciting outdoor adventure. As in any sport, accidents can happen. The Skateway is patrolled by experienced first aid attendants who can provide help, if need be.

Safety on the Ice

  • Learn the flag system: A green flag means that the Skateway is open; a red flag means that it is closed.
  • Watch for cracks in the ice.
  • Consider your safety and that of others. The following are not permitted on the ice:
    • dogs and other pets (with the exception of service dogs)
    • bikes
    • hockey sticks and pucks.
    • Alcoholic beverages
  • Warm up if you feel chilled. There are five heated change rooms located at various points along the Skateway, and one on land at Patterson Creek.


  • Avoid wearing figure skates. The picks tend to catch on bumps and cracks in the ice surface.
  • Dress warmly.
  • Wear a certified, properly fitting ski or hockey helmet to prevent head injuries.
  • Wrist guards, as well as elbow and knee protection, will help reduce your chance of injury.
  • You can rent helmets and wrist guards from Capital Skates locations on the Rideau Canal Skateway (at Rideau and Fifth rest areas). A deposit ($) is required.

First Aid

A first aid trailer is located on the ice at Fifth rest area.

Skate patrollers who can administer first aid and CPR are on the Skateway daily at the following times:

  • Monday through Thursday, noon to 10 pm
  • Friday, noon to 11 pm
  • Saturday, 10 am to 11 pm
  • Sunday, 10 am to 10 pm

For immediate assistance, call 613-565-1899. In case of serious injury, call 9-1-1.

Source: NCC