If you are from Ottawa or have visited the city during the winter months you know that the historic Rideau Canal serves many purposes: date night, exercise, commuting, or just living your best Canadian life! If you are skating on the canal for the first time this year or you are a seasoned vet, read our tips for staying warm, comfortable, and fashionable.

Start with a base layer
Our number one tip for dressing for the elements is to start with a base layer. When the canal's ice conditions are at their best, it means it’s COLD. Keep yourself warm with a base layer of leggings, long johns, or sweats and a long-sleeve shirt. Composition is important here. You will want to avoid anything that’s 100% cotton as it is not sweat-wicking and can actually make you colder as you work up a sweat. A wool-polyester blend is perfect for a quick-drying and warm base layer.

Add style to your base layer with a sweater, cardigan, or another warm layering piece to transition from skating-attire to a post-skate beers outfit (COVID-19 restrictions permitting).

Choosing the perfect coat
If you’re skating for exercise, prioritize comfort and sweat-wicking fabrics. A short puffer is lightweight, breathable, and gives you the freedom of mobility.

For a leisurely skate, prioritize warmth. A long parka may limit the length of your stride so opting for something below the bum but above the knee will keep you warm while allowing you the movement necessary to keep moving along the canal.

We love Canadian coat brands like: Soia and Kyo, Mackage, and Rudsak for fashion-forward, well constructed, and warm winter coats. ARC’TERYX and Lululemon find the perfect balance between function and fashion.

Accessories are your friend!
Keep your head warm with a lined toque or warm headband - when your head is warm your body can focus on keeping the rest of you warm. A big scarf is great for keeping you cozy - choose a scarf made from thick but soft fabric so you can cover your face from the cold wind.

Bring a backpack for the essentials so your arms can swing in time with your strides without the distraction from a crossbody bag or tote.

While Ottawa’s winter weather begs practicality, we think there is always a way to add your personal style. Will you be sporting a Trove find on the canal this winter? Be sure to tag us!