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UPDATED: Rideau Canal Skateway, other NCC assets to open during lockdown 'for exercise-use only'

The NCC confirmed the news to City News Ottawa Wednesday night, adding that masks must be warn at all times while out on the skate way during Ontario's State of Emergency.
Rideau Canal skate way in February 2021 -- Dani-Elle Dube/

During Ontario’s state of emergency and January lockdown, the National Capital Commission (NCC) says it will keep its outdoor assets in Ottawa open for exercise and local use only.

The NCC confirmed the news in a statement to City News Ottawa Wednesday evening, while also confirming that the NCC is proceeding with preparations for a safe opening of the Rideau Canal skateway.

“As its purpose will be it provide space for exercise only, food and beverage concession stands rentals and fire pits will be closed,” the statement reads. “On the skateway, the NCC will be adding sanitization stands and bi-directional staircases where possible.”

All users will also be required to wear a mask at all times on the skateway.

To help create an outdoor space for densely populated areas of the capital, NCC will be opening a section of the Queen Elizabeth Drive for active use only between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.

The NCC Bistro at Remic Rapids on the SJAM parkway will not be opening during the State of Emergency.

"Due to the NCC's limited capacity to enforce public health measures, we count on everyone's compliance to ensure safe public access," the NCC says. 

The government body is also asking people to stick close to home when utilizing the NCC's assets, like trails. 

"The NCC understands the importance for people to get outdoors to exercise during the pandemic," the statement continues. "We have greatly expanded out winter offering this year, and there are plenty of winter trails to explore in all parts of the National Capital Region."

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