While everyone knows it’s your own responsibility to check how thick the ice is before skating on the lake in front of your cottage, you have to put your trust in others when skating on a public outdoor rink. But a recent incident on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal serves as a great warning that it’s always best to stick to cleared off areas.
The National Capital Commission (NCC) is now investigating after two Toronto women fell through a snow-covered patch of ice while skating on the canal near Dow’s Lake this past Sunday.
One woman fell up to her waist and managed to get her left leg stuck. Fortunately rescue workers arrived quickly enough to pull her out of the water before she sustained any serious injuries. According to paramedics, she did not need to be transported to a hospital.
“It is always advisable to stay on the ice surface where the ice is clear.… Snow always acts as a thermal blanket on the ice, so it may affect not just the surface but the thickness of the ice,” NCC spokesman Jean Wolff told the CBC late Sunday.
That being said, Wolff admits that there was no signage marking the area as out-of-bounds.
“The NCC will have to review all the facts of the incident with everybody concerned in order to ascertain if there are other measures or things that can be done to avoid any repeat of this type of incident,” Wolff added.
The skateway will remain open in the meantime.