So I’m standing there, no skates, but with a Ralph Lauren beanie, gloves from somewhere in california, and some really nice Cole Haan – waterproof boots on. The rest of my clothes were Aussie [made in all sorts of countries]. Standing frozen to the spot on the icy flat Rideau canal in Ottawa. My colleague helpfully agreed to take me down to the canal that evening. Of course I assumed that – 20C conditions would be ok for him. But I’d been told get down to the canal and go skating and eat beaver tail by earnest other colleagues from Ottawa.
This canal, built around 200 years or so back by the Royal Engineers [a strategy for defense].. I can just imagine the royal command of empire, get some immigrants and go build a canal, just alongside the river – for around 200 kilometers – or so and you have 5 or 6 years to complete.
The canal starts in Ottawa and goes upstream and generally southward to Kingston Ontario. Canal’s have locks to allow boats to climb mountains, but after the first set of locks in Ottawa, the canal is flat for around 5 miles and becomes a skating rink in winter. The one lock I saw was frozen shut with just a trickle of water flowing through under the ice.
A beautiful set of beautiful arch bridges span the canal, and now i know that i can walk about that far and back before having the cold seep up so that my feet and legs were slightly uncomfortably numb. We called in for a photo [try handling a camera with gloves in -20 C] and a taste of the local ‘Beavertail’ – [secret recipe] but i can tell it’s a lot like a flattened doughnut [no hole] with some cinnamon and sugar.. you can have other things on it. Of course beaver tail should be eaten fast on skates so is not designed for hanging around and getting a photo, Which is why the people in the kiosk are smiling. Crazy Aussie braves sub zero conditions with no skates for a photo with Beaver-tail.