City implements 25-person limit at rinks, sliding hills

OTTAWA – The City of Ottawa will now restrict numbers on public outdoor rinks and at sliding hills.

“Ottawa’s medical officer of health, Dr. Vera Etches, has issued an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to restrict the number of people at skating rinks and sledding hills to 25 at one time – ensuring physical distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” city staff released in a statement today (Jan. 7).

For the city’s four outdoor refrigerated rinks, the city will implement an online reservation system to book free 45-minute skating times at Starting this Saturday, Jan. 9, reservations will be required to skate at the following peak times:

  • City Hall Rink of Dreams, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily
  • Jim Tubman Chevrolet Rink of Dreams, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays
  • Lansdowne Park Skating Court, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays (hours subject to change)
  • Ben Franklin Place Skating Rink, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays (hours subject to change)

“Those who have made a reservation must show a copy of their confirmation email upon entry, either on a mobile device or on a printed-out paper,” the city said. “Refrigerated rink openings are weather-dependent, so be sure to check before arriving for your reserved skating time. The 25-person limit remains in effect at all times.”

The reservation system will open on Friday, Jan. 8 at 6 p.m. for residents to book skating times for Saturday and Sunday. Moving forward, reservations can be made up to two days in advance with new spots opening at 6 p.m. daily. A maximum of four skaters can be booked on each reservation.

For community outdoor rinks and sledding hills, the 25-person capacity also applies.

“Think about others and limit your time during busy periods so everyone can get a chance to skate or sled,” staff said. “Residents are encouraged to come back at another time if the rink or hill is at capacity. On-site signage will be posted and rink ambassadors will help to make people aware of the 25-person limit. Additionally, a dedicated team from By-law and Regulatory Services will proactively monitor these areas.”

The order from Ottawa Public Health addresses reports of large crowds at skating rinks and sledding hills – impeding the ability to maintain proper physical distancing of two metres. In addition, Ottawa is currently under a 28-day provincial shutdown and it has seen a steady increase of cases over the past week – including four straight days where the counts exceeded 100 cases.

 In addition to the order, under provincial regulations no team sports are permitted and the city is directing that only skating take place on all rinks with no sticks, pucks, balls or other sports equipment permitted on the ice. People are reminded that masks must be worn in public accessibility areas that are within 15 metres (50 feet) distance of the edge of the ice surface. While masks are not mandatory when skating, OPH recommends wearing one for added protection.

For more information on city programs and services, visit or call 311 (TTY: 613-580-2401).