As heat-wave temperatures shattered a five-decade-old record Friday, patios in Ottawa's ByWard Market filled up fast as the National Capital Commission announced an early opening to most of its pathways.

The temperature peaked at nearly 28 under a strong sun, eclipsing a 54-year-old record temperature for April 2 - only 16.7 C. Normally, temperatures are only around seven or eight degrees in early April.

It usually takes until May 1 to open locations like the lanes by the Rideau Canal, the Ottawa River and the larger urban parks of the Ottawa region.

A 150-metre stretch of the canal pathway, just west of the Bank Street Bridge, remains closed for rehabilitation work.

Parts of Gatineau Park are still under snow and water and will remain closed, although all the parking lots in that area are open except for P5, P9 and P15.

The pathways can still be wet or slippery, so the NCC advises caution while using them. If you see a trouble spot, contact the NCC at 613-239-5353 or

With files from