Being born and raised in Ottawa I often get asked by visiting family and friends: what is there to do in Ottawa? Often my answer starts with Winterlude and skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway. Winterlude is a fun-filled tradition that draws crowds from far and wide! This is the last weekend of the Winterlude season and we can expect thousands of people on the canal.
When I skate, I often see many kids wearing helmets, however parents are not doing the same. I am very comfortable on the ice and I am sure many Canadians parents are too. In Ottawa, about 470 people go to the hospital yearly for skating related injuries. I feel this could be explained by many elements that are out of our control while skating on the canal. For example, last year, over 800,000 people skated on the canal. Of these 800,000 skaters many vary in skill and lack attention while skating. Some skaters are beginner and tend to fall often. Others are the “Peewee” hockey players who are weaving in and out of the crowd playing a game of “tag.” Some may even be eating a delicious pastry on one hand and texting with the other, regardless of skill level, collisions are bound to happen. After witnessing many tumbles through the years, I can no longer justify not wearing a helmet on the canal.
Winterlude often marks quality time with family and friends. Be a role model for your children and consider adding a helmet to your outing checklist this year.
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By: Vinh Nguyen, Project Officer at Ottawa Public Health3 notes