The Rideau Canal may still be off limits to skaters for now, but the skating rink at Rideau Hall was busy Saturday morning as it officially opened for the season.

“We live nearby and we just couldn't wait,” said Julie Wayand.

“The ice is very good, very nice,” said 72-year-old Carol Hart, who is a former competitive skater and was the first person to hit the ice.

“It’s a lovely day and I love this rink and I think it’s the nicest rink in Ottawa.”

The rink on the grounds of the governor general’s residence is just one of a few outdoor rinks open for skating in Ottawa.

The Rink of Dreams at City Hall has been open since the end of November.

The Brewer Park Oval was also packed Saturday morning.

The world’s largest skating rink, the Rideau Canal, is not open just yet.

The National Capital Commission (NCC) said there is light equipment on the canal to get it ready for skaters and said it is a sign the skateway will soon be open when you start to see larger equipment.

NCC officials said ice on the Rideau Canal needs to reach 30 centimetres in thickness before it is safe for skaters. That requires about 10 to 14 days of cold weather overnight.

With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Katie Griffin