OTTAWA -- The green flag is expected to fly early next week on the Rideau Canal Skateway.

With cold temperatures in the forecast this week, the National Capital Commission continues preparations on the Rideau Canal Skateway for the 51st season.

During the National Capital Commission's Board of Directors meeting, NCC CEO Tobi Nussbaum said the skateway will open soon, with the opening date finalized in the next 24 hours.

"We're moving ahead with the Rideau Canal Skateway's 51st season, albeit COVID-19 adjusted," Nussbaum said Thursday morning.

"We're on track to open the Skateway early next week. The opening date will be finalized, hopefully, in the next 24 hours."

The NCC plans to open the Rideau Canal Skateway during Ontario's stay at home order, which encourages people to stay close to home to help limit the spread of COVID-19.  The NCC has said there will be no snack stands, no skate rentals nor gathering points like fire pits along the canal.

Skaters will be asked to wear a mask while on the Rideau Canal Skateway.

Earlier this week, the NCC said it wants residents to stay close to home this winter if they want to use their outdoor amenities, including the skateway and cross-country ski trails.

"The NCC asks that residents utilize those NCC assets closest to their homes," an NCC spokesperson said Monday in an email to CTV News Ottawa. "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."

During Thursday's NCC board meeting, Nussbaum repeated that residents of Ottawa and Gatineau should only visit NCC areas near their homes.

"During the period of these emergency orders, we hope everyone continues to take advantage of those NCC assets closest to their homes to stay active and healthy throughout the winter, while of course following the advice of local health authorities with regards to masking, minimizing gatherings, physical distancing," said Nussbaum.


A previous version of the story said masks are mandatory on the Rideau Canal Skateway. The NCC says asking all users to wear masks while on the skateway,