The National Capital Commission is asking residents to stay close to home this winter if they want to use their outdoor amenities, including the Rideau Canal Skateway.
Last week, the NCC said it still planned to open the Rideau Canal Skateway despite a provincewide stay-at-home order from the Ontario government, but it would only be open for skating as exercise. There would be no snack stands, no skate rentals, nor gathering points like fire pits. Masks would also be mandatory on the ice.
Exercise is considered an essential activity under Ontario's stay-at-home order and, with 7.8 km of ice to use, the Skateway does provide many opportunities to get outdoors and get your heart rate up.
However, the NCC is also saying, in the spirit of the stay-at-home order, that fans of the popular attraction should only visit the Skateway if they live close by.
"The NCC asks that residents utilize those NCC assets closest to their homes," a spokesperson said Monday in an email to CTV News. "Getting outdoors to exercise is important for people’s physical and mental health. But again, we are asking residents to utilize only those NCC assets closest to their homes."
In other words, traveling from the suburbs to downtown Ottawa to skate on the canal is strongly discouraged.
The same goes for other NCC assets like hiking trails. The National Capital Commission wants you to stick to your neighbourhood this winter as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
"We are counting on the cooperation of users to comply with the newly issued provincial measures as well as those we have all practised for many months: frequent hand washing, maintaining a safe distance from others, and wearing a mask when physical distancing is not possible to maintain," the NCC said. "Due to the NCC’s limited enforcement capacity, we count on everyone’s compliance to ensure safe public access."
The Skateway still isn't ready for skaters yet, and crews continue to flood the ice while warning eager residents to stay away.