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Coronavirus: Rideau Canal Skateway will still open under Ontario’s state of emergency

Skaters makes their way along the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa on the opening day of its 50th season, on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

The iconic Rideau Canal Skateway will open in Ottawa even under Ontario’s second state of emergency amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The National Capital Commission, which runs the skateway and other federal government amenities in Ottawa, said Wednesday it will open the 7.8-kilometre ice rink for exercise only this year.

That means no Beavertails or other food stands, rentals or fire pits will be on the canal this year. The NCC also said it will ask users to wear masks while using the skateway.

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Ontario government reveals Stay-at-Home order’s legal regulations

The Ontario government’s stay-home order went into effect on Thursday morning. While residents are asked to limit their movements outside the home to “essential” trips only, exercise is considered an exception.

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The NCC added that residents should only make use of its assets “closest to their homes.”

The Crown corporation also said it would be reopening sections of the Queen Elizabeth Driveway, which runs parallel to the canal in sections, for pedestrians and cyclists. The QED was closed off to motor vehicles as part of a pilot project this summer to give residents extra space to stretch their legs amid the pandemic.

The NCC will announce which sections will be opened for active transportation shortly, according to a release.

The exact timing for the opening of the Rideau Canal remains up in the air, as Ottawa has been in a stretch of rainy weather for much of the past week.

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‘Ice Dragon boat’ race held on Ottawa’s frozen Rideau Canal – Feb 20, 2017