By City of Ottawa Sports Commissioner Mathieu Fleury
Ottawa is a fantastic City for live, work and play – and during a time when we have to stay home, keep our distance and remain healthy, it is more evident that we have ample opportunities to get outside and stay active.
And there is a perfect option right downtown.
The Rideau Winter Trail offers a 9-kilometres route from Rideau Sports Centre (1 Donald St.) south to Highway 417, towards Hurdman Station. Skiers can connect to the trail at three different spots, Donald Street, at the Highway 417 and the Hurdman LRT Bridge, or South of Hurdman Station by the Hospital Link. The trail includes a groomed area for cross country skiing, a “Bike path” for fat biking, snowshoe, and those who are walking.
Additionally, the trail includes a 2.5-kilometre meandering loop in the grassy area near the Sports Centre, set for classic and skate skiers.
Volunteer Chairman of the Rideau Winter Trail board of directors, Peter Nor, said there is no better feeling than being able to step out your front door and hop on a trail.
“It just is fabulous,” he said, adding that he sees this trail, with its possibilities for several outdoor winter activities, as win-win-win.
“Where else can you ski right downtown?” Nor said, boasting that you can take the LRT to Hurdman station and ski away.
Motivated by similar trails across the City, Nor said the volunteer group is pleased with the current conditions, but the group has its sights set on ambitious goals to continue to expand the length of the trail.
“We want to triple the length of the trail,” he said, explaining they’d ultimately like to have it reach Mooney’s Bay.
The project began three years ago and is led by myself with support from fellow Councillors Shawn Menard and Rawlson King’s offices, along with the Rideau Sports Centre, the Overbrook Community Association and Action Sandy Hill. The organizing team has launched a fundraiser to help maintain the trail this year and then to expand it later.
Grooming will occur once a week for 10 weeks, typically on a Thursday or Friday (weather dependent) – so that trail is in peak condition for weekend users.
If you want to donate to support its grooming and operation, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/Rideau-Winter-Trail-of-Ottawa