Dutch canals freeze for the first time in twelve years

Dutch canal skating
[CC licensed photo courtesy of Flickr user Ferdi]

Canal ice skating is part of the Dutch national identity, but according to the International Herald Tribune, climate change and pollution have turned Holland's annual canal-freeze into a rarity. Holland's canals have frozen for the first time in twelve years this month, thrilling the citizens of the land of Hans Brinker:
Hundreds of thousands of skaters, their cheeks as red as apples in the freezing temperatures, took to the ice, and hospital wards were filled with dozens of people with fractured arms, sprained ankles and broken legs.

Train engineers were ordered to go slowly to avoid hitting skaters who clambered across railway tracks to get from one frozen canal to another. Even the minister of defense, an avid skater, fell and broke his wrist. His ministry announced that the national defense remained in safe hands, even if one of them was in a cast.
Do we have any readers here who have found themselves out on the ice in this winter? I've heard that canal skating is popular in Ottawa, Ontario. Is anyone enjoying any other skating hot-spots?

[International Herald Tribune]

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I live in Guelph, Ontario, Canada and we are having a humdinger of a winter. I took up skating again two years ago after not skating since I was a kid. It's exhilarating!!! There is an adult skate at the local arena and it's a treat to see people of all ages but especially seniors, skating arm in arm, to an amazing soundtrack of '50's hits. The hockey players are so graceful on the ice...even the 70-year-olds. Ah. Iconic Canadiana.

I take lessons at my university and I never thought I'd be jumping after just one season of a serious attempt to learn to skate better. I learned a waltz jump last week. It's a trip!
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What a strange way to talk/write about skating on canals in Holland. Global warming was not the subject, but yes it's for the first time in 12 years that people here in Holland can skate on canals. The ice has now all gone so the hopes for an Elfstedentocht (11 cities tour) have also gone.
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Greenhouse gas effects are being stopped/masked by particulate pollution, or so sayeth NOVA. After 9/11 while the planes were grounded temperatures were significantly higher.
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It's been a good old Canadian winter this year. Like the ones I remember as a kid. So much snow that your house looks like a fortress from all the shoveling, and bitter cold for weeks at a time. I love it! I live in Edmonton and unfortunately the North Saskatchewan is not frozen. However, I have gone to some outdoor rinks built by the city, and lots of people have been out to local lakes and streams to skate. Outdoor skating is so much fun, no boards just open ice and snow!
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