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Rideau Canal Skateway having one of the best seasons in a decade

It's one of the best skating seasons in a decade for the Rideau Canal Skateway thanks to the consistantly cold weather.

It is helping maintenance staff do their work flooding and sweeping the ice and the excellent conditions have drawn 30-thousand more visitors to the ice so far this season than during the entire season last year.

The NCC is able to track through its newly launched Twitter feed much of the positive reaction to the great ice this year.

"I mean, social media, just the nature of it, you know one person mentions it and seven, eight, nine, 10 other people retweet it and it just catches like wildfire," said Emily Keogh, communications officer for the NCC.

She said she doens't have the exact numbers but it appears more local people are using the Skateway both for recreation and exercise and for commuting.

"With the consistency of it being open, it's something open, it's something people can rely on more and more," she said, adding she's seen numbers growing when she has been out walking her dog in the mornings.

"I think it must be a trend because I do see it on social media too," she said.

If the canal stays open until Saturday the 2013/14 season will surpass the length of five of the last eight skating seasons.

Dick Brown with the Ottawa Gatineau Hotels Association says visitors are filling up hotels downtown, in Kanata and in Ottawa South and that has a huge impact.

"Not just on the hotel community but more broadly on our economy where visitors come and they spend money in our restaurants and retail, they are using our cabs," said Brown.

He said without the canal or Winterlude Ottawa would not see much in the way of tourism at this time of year.

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