New Year has arrived and gone. The holidays is almost over and many people have already returned back to their dreaded work and life in general. But in the city of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada, the fun is only about to start. A few days from now the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink will open in the scenic Rideau Canal that flows through the heart of the city.
Opened in 1832 as a precautionary military measure against a rumored U.S invasion, the canal is used today primarily for pleasure boating, with most of its original structures intact. During the winter months when the canal freezes, a 7.8 km section is marked off as a skating rink drawing an average of 20,000 visitors every day. This becomes a popular tourist attraction and recreational area, and is also the focus of the Winterlude festival in Ottawa. All along the way, food vendors sell hot soup, hot chocolate and other snacks and beverages in kiosks on the skateway, including the famous Ottawa invention, the BeaverTails pastry — a deep fried, cinnamon and sugar, beaver tail-shaped pastry.
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