The Rideau Canal will open to skaters for the first time this season on Saturday morning.

The National Capital Commission issued a statement late Friday afternoon notifying skaters of the official opening.

A 2.4-kilometre section of the canal will open at 8 a.m. between the Bank Street Bridge and the Pretoria Bridge. An official opening will take place near the Canal Ritz at the corner of Queen Elizabeth Driveway and Fifth Avenue at 11:30 a.m.

Crews have been monitoring the thickness of the ice on the canal in recent weeks. Ice must be at least 30 centimetres thick before the canal can open to skaters.

This year marks the 41st skating season on the world's largest skating rink. Last year, the canal opened for skating on Jan. 15.

For more information about the Rideau Canal Skateway, skaters are asked to contact the NCC at 613-239-5000 or 1-800-465-1867.