At last, the Canal reopens

It didn’t open last year, but Sunday the Rideau Canal opened to skaters at last.

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Good morning!

I, for one, never doubted the Ottawa Senators could play good hockey. Not once. Ever. Certainly not in a recent newsletter. Is this team actually good? Has it actually turned a corner? Maybe! They’ve won their last two, coming back yesterday to win 5-3, and face Montreal again tomorrow night. 

And the vibes? The vibes are good.

Never in doubt!

Let’s get to it.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

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Monday: -2 🌡️ -10 | ❄️

Tuesday: -2 🌡️ -7 | ☁️

Wednesday: -1 🌡️ -5 | ❄️


It’s open!

What happened: We didn’t really believe it would or could happen, but boy are we pleased to be wrong: part of the Rideau Canal opened to skaters yesterday. 

Slight delay: The opening of the skateway was delayed until the afternoon because crews wanted the surface to freeze after it was flooded overnight. But skaters were out in droves between Fifth Avenue and Bank Street, a section shorter than initially hoped. Some even hit the ice before the green flags were raised. As Randy Boswell wrote in the Ottawa Citizen

  • “No one who ventured to the canal early Sunday morning seriously contemplated waiting until after lunch to go skating. People clambered over the locked gates with little hesitation.”

Crisis averted: Last year, for the first time in its history as a skateway, the Rideau Canal did not open to skaters due to poor weather conditions. The warm winter, with only one deep cold snap, kept the ice getting to its required 30 cm thickness.

Wait, crisis averted? Climate change has put the Canal’s long-term future at risk. A 2005 report for the NCC predicted the skating season will continue to shrink as global temperatures rise, CBC reported last year. While 2022-23 might have been an anomaly for not opening at all, the number of days has dramatically shrunk, in line with that report from nearly 20 years ago.

  • In 2005, the average season was about 61 days of skating per year. That was predicted to drop to between 43 and 52 by 2020. A recent study by the NCC showed the average opening days by 2021 were 46 days. By the 2050s, we could be looking at a season of only 20-49 days.

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⚖️ 300-400: The number of short-term rental properties in the city that are likely not in compliance with the city’s bylaws and aren’t registered with the city. There are about 1,000 short-term rentals with permits in town. [CBC

🎰 21%: The average amount of time viewers are exposed to gambling ads during a sports broadcast. Ontario legalized gambling in 2022, and regulates gambling advertising during broadcasts. [CBC]

💻 20%: StatsCan said only about this percentage of people were still working from home in November last year. That’s down from a height of 40 percent in spring 2020. [CTV]

💰 $1 million: The value of two prizes eastern Ontario locals won on $100 scratch cards. [CTV]


Ottawa grocers to pilot reusable containers

What happened: A group of three major grocery retailers will be piloting reusable plastic containers, the CBC reported. The major retailers, Walmart, Sobeys and Metro, are expected to share the containers and organize cleaning, transportation and logistics.

  • Ottawa residents will be the first in Canada to test the reusable containers. And while specific retail locations haven’t been chosen, a portion of Bank Street has been identified as a good fit by council. It will be up to individual stores to decide what foods they offer in the reusable containers.

The program is being spearheaded by the Circular Innovation Council. Jo-Ann St. Godard, the council’s executive director, told the CBC that Ottawa made an ideal test city for the program.  

  • It's big enough to demonstrate that this kind of application can happen anywhere in the country, but they're also small enough where maybe we can be a bit more flexible,” she told the broadcaster, St. Godard said.

Changing ways: One of the goals of the project is to demonstrate that reusable plastic containers can be cheaper for both consumers and retailers, while also eliminating plastic waste. They’ll be using containers and technology from the company, whose website shows partnerships with a number of restaurants in Vancouver and Seattle.

Elsewhere in groceries

Backing down: Loblaws announced it would reinstate the 50 percent discount on foods nearing their expiry date, CTV reported. The company faced public backlash for announcing last week it would be changing the discounts to only 30 percent.


Check out the new open positions in Ottawa.

  1. Governance advisor at the House of Commons

  2. Kanata delivery route for Starship Logistics

  3. Project planner at Thales

  4. Access to information senior analyst at the National Capital Commission

  5. Projects and deployments advisor at Canadian Air Transport Security Authority

Local jobs are selected by the Lookout team and are not paid ads, unless specifically noted.


🍽️ The restaurant scene in Ottawa appears to have come back to life after a brutal few years. The total number of food licences is now above pre-pandemic levels. Last year there were 3,443 licences in the city, up from a low of 2,740 in 2020 and 3,158 in 2019. [CBC]

🏢 A new emergency overnight shelter moved to a disused federal office building in Westboro. The Graham Spry Building is on the feds’ disposal list, and offers showers and 45 beds for those who need to come out of the cold. It’s also close to the Transitway. [CBC]

🎣 The annual Citivan Club ice fishing derby in Cobden had to be cancelled for the second year running because of poor ice conditions. The club will still sell tickets for prize draws to help support local organizations. [CTV]

🛜 Next year, a new project to get free wifi to the common areas of two Vanier public housing buildings will launch. The program is thanks to funding from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority and connectivity by Hiboo networks. Eventually, the plan is to expand it to other buildings in Overbrook and Sandy Hill. [National Capital FreeNet]

🧦 The Soxbox campaign run by Langar for Hunger was able to donate more than 10,000 socks to those in need throughout the city. [CTV]

🪨 The township of Low, Que. is hoping to push the Quebec government to exclude public and private lands within the municipality as off limits to mineral exploration. There’s been a recent surge in mining claims across the province. [CBC]


What to do this week

🎻 Young String Performers in Concert, Saturday 7:30 pm: A night of music from talented young string musicians from across the region. At First Unitarian Church of Ottawa, 30 Cleary Ave. Tickets start at $7.

☘️ Road to The Isles, Sunday 3 pm: Hosted by Atlantic Voices, enjoy this concert with music from and about Newfoundland, Cape Breton, and PEI, with stops in Ireland, the Scottish Hebrides, and Maui. At Centretown United Church, 507 Bank St. Tickets $25 until Friday, $30 at the door.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Music and Poetry in Honour of Robert Burns, Sunday 2 pm: Enjoy an afternoon celebrating the life and work of Burns, with performances by Tripoly and the Grenville Troubadours. At St. John's United Church, 400 Prescott St. Kemptville. Tickets $22.

🥂  Roaring Twenties Revelry - Sip, Savour and Swing, Saturday 5 pm: Taste the flavours of the Roaring Twenties with Champagne, cocktails and finger foods. At C.A. Paradis, 1314 Bank St. Tickets $96.

🔪 Knife Sharpening Workshop, Thursday 6:30 pm: Learn how to sharpen a knife by hand on a whetstone. Bring one of your knives to go home with a finely honed blade. At the Ottawa Tool Library, 877a Boyd Ave. Tickets $68.

👰‍♀️ Opportunity Bridal Wedding Dress Sale, Saturday 9 am: A pop-up show and sale of wedding dresses. At the HOliday Inn and Suites Kanata, 101 Kanata Ave. Free general admission.

🎤 Sugar Sammy You’re Gonna Rire 2, multiple dates: The Quebec comedian returns to Gatineau for another run of bilingual shows. At the Canadian Museum of History. Tickets start at $60.

  • Brooke Henderson finished third in the opening tournament of the LPGA season at the Tournament of Champions. [LPGA]

  • People are very happy about the return of skating on the Canal. [Reddit]

  • Crime doesn’t pay, especially petty vandalism. [CTV]

  • Watch your speed. A bunch of new speed cameras, including the one on Riverside near Mooney’s Bay, are now active. [Reddit]

  • Want to have your announcement featured? Learn how here.


Congrats to everyone who got Friday’s Ottawa Wordle, the answer was SCORE, something the Sens did in abundance in their last two games.

For this week’s quiz we want to know how many years has the Rideau Canal been open for skating?

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