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'See you next winter': Rideau Canal Skateway closed for the season

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The red flag is flying on the Rideau Canal Skateway for the rest of the winter, following the shortest skating season in the 54-year history of the skateway.

With record-breaking warm temperatures in the forecast this week, the National Capital Commission closed the world's largest skating rink on Sunday evening.

"Thank you to everyone who came out to enjoy the Skateway, and a shout out to our concessions and hard-working crews who made the most of challenging weather conditions," the NCC said on social media.

"See you next winter!"

The Rideau Canal Skateway was open for a total of 10 days this winter, making it the shortest skating season on record – excluding last year when the skateway didn't open at all.

"It honestly sucks," Laura Prieto said Sunday afternoon. "I moved to Ottawa and had skated on the canal before and I was looking forward to that every year and I haven't been able to until now."

"It's kind of sad to be honest. This season is becoming shorter but I hope next year it's going to be longer," Ethan Sung said.

Guylaine Nantel has been a vendor at one of the Rideau Canal Skateway concession stands for 24 years.

"The days we were open, it's been very good. (NCC) has done their max to have this open, they really worked hard at it," Nantel said.

In 2016, the Skateway opened for just 16 days. In 2022, the entire 7.8-kilometre length of the skating rink was open for 41 days.

The NCC opened the skateway on Jan. 21, and closed it again on Jan. 24 due to mild temperatures and freezing rain. Cold temperatures allowed the NCC to reopen the Rideau Canal Skateway on Feb. 18 and 19 for the final days of Winterlude.

With the mild temperatures through the winter, the NCC was only able to open stretches of the Rideau Canal Skateway, mainly between the Pretoria Bridge and Bank Street. The section of the skateway between Waverley Avenue and Pretoria Bridge opened for a few days last week.

With files from CTV News Ottawa's Kimberley Fowler, Toula Mazloum and Ted Raymond

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