What is the longest ice rink in the world?

the longest ice canal

Many people wonder what is the longest ice rink in the world. Located in Ottawa, Canada, the famous “Rideau Canal Skateway” is not just a simple water canal, but the longest ice rink in the world. During the winter season it undergoes a notable metamorphosis, transforming into a wide ice corridor.

In this article we are going to tell you which is the longest ice rink in the world, its characteristics and its continuous threats due to climate change.

What is the longest ice view in the world?

Rideau Canal Skateway

With almost 8 uninterrupted kilometers, it proudly holds the title of the longest skating rink in the world. From January to March, diligent local authorities diligently prepare and modify this public area, ensuring its accessibility through the installation of convenient access ramps and street furniture.

To ensure the functionality and safety of this pristine ice rink, it is imperative that the ice thickness measures approximately 30cm. This requirement requires a period of almost 15 consecutive days during which temperatures range between -10 ºC and -20 ºC.

Within this icy canal is a collection of designated spots to enjoy sweet treats or warm up with a cup of hot chocolate. Additionally, there is a local establishment known as “Dunrobin Distilleries” that caters to people of legal age by offering alcoholic beverages. Even those who don't practice ice skating can enjoy the experience of this place. They can take excursions or quiet walks around the periphery of the skating rink or along the trails that border the Rideau Canal, a site recognized and protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Local reports indicate that the Rideau Canal, a beloved destination for tourists, will remain closed for the entire winter season. This is the first time in recent history that visitors will not be able to enjoy this natural wonder. Unusually warm and humid weather has prevailed this winter, causing temperatures to rise above average and precipitation to increase. Consequently, these meteorological conditions have caused a significant decrease in the thickness and porosity of the ice, thus compromising the safety of the canal.

Closed for warm winter

natural ice rink

Due to an exceptionally warm and wet winter, the Rideau Canal will not open this season. The ice covering the canal is considerably thinner and more permeable compared to previous years. Extensive testing by administrators have revealed dangerous ice sheets that cannot be used by the public. This can be attributed to the recent winter, which has been one of the warmest in Ottawa in recent decades, as spring officially begins on March 1. Furthermore, the significant amount of snow that has fallen (exceeding 2 meters) has made it difficult to form the thick and flexible ice necessary for optimal conditions.

Contrary to popular belief, Heavy snowfall does not benefit the stability of the ice rink. According to experts, the weight of the snow causes deflections of the ice and increases the infiltration of water upward through cracks, which ultimately decreases the resilience of the ice surface.

The presence of significant snowfalls has a negative impact on the stability of the ice, causing an increase in water infiltrations and diversions. Every year the “Winterlude” festival is held in the capital, but this time it has faced a different situation. Due to the previously mentioned circumstances, the festival could not be held on the Canal. In a message shared on Twitter, the Canal manager expresses her disappointment at not being able to open it this winter, despite making significant efforts.

Preparation and adaptation to climate change

longest ice rink in the world

The NCC, in collaboration with Carleton University, is actively assessing and preparing for the impacts and influences of climate change on ice. Specifically, they are focusing on Skateway and its vulnerability to the effects of global warming. In addition to this, experts and researchers have identified several urban pressures that the skating rink faces, such as surface water runoff, salt intrusion, and heat emanating from underground pipes.

There are several potential remedies emerging from this study: mud cannons, ice probes, thermosyphons, or improved ice management techniques. Representing an innovative form of passive heat exchange employed in Arctic regions, thermosyphons work by allowing frozen air to infiltrate beneath the foundation of a structure and redistribute heat to the upper atmosphere. Implementing this technology at Skateway would facilitate ice expansion by cooling the water beneath the frozen surface.

A thickness of 30 centimeters

Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the massive natural ice rink stretches for an impressive length of 7,8 km and covers a meticulously maintained area of ​​165.621 km2, which is equivalent to a staggering 90 Olympic-sized skating rinks measuring 400 m each. Its remarkable size earned it a place in the Guinness Book of Records in 2005 as the largest natural ice rink on the planet.

For the ice to be accessible to the general public, it must reach a thickness of 30 centimeters. This condition is met when temperatures constantly fluctuate between -10 and -20°C for two weeks. Unfortunately, the current weather forecasts are not promising, as temperatures have not even dropped below -9°C in recent days.

In a statement to The Guardian, Clara Harman-Denhoed, a student, expressed disappointment in both companies and individuals, emphasizing the looming presence of climate change. Echoing this sentiment, Canada's Environment Minister, Steven Guilbeault, He commented that this incident serves as another illustration of climate change in the country.

To preserve the charm of this place, the National Capital Commission is taking proactive measures by initiating a series of climate adaptation studies, with the aim of extending the duration and availability of the track.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about which is the longest ice rink in the world.

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