The signs that spring IS coming (believe it or not)

Despite the snow this past weekend and the cold last week, there are ongoing signs that spring is, indeed, on the way.

Sledding hills were officially closed March 20th

The City of Ottawa has closed its 56 approved sledding hills for the season due to milder temperatures, which have resulted in unsafe conditions for sledding. The public is urged to keep personal safety in mind and remain off the sledding hills.

Notification of the re-opening of the hills in the winter of 2014-15 will be available on the City’s website at

Even with the fresh pile of snow that we received on the weekend, it's best to forego the sledding hills and look to other fun outdoor activities.

Seasonal load restrictions are now in effect

Last Monday (March 24), seasonal load restrictions began. Commercial vehicles or trailers with a gross vehicle weight in excess of five tonnes or 11,000 lbs. per axle are prohibited on roads where restriction signage is posted, and on all truck routes identified as restricted on the Truck Route Maps (Urban Truck Routes and Rural Truck Routes).

These restrictions also apply to all non-truck routes. Heavy vehicles that exceed weight limits on restricted load roadways during the spring thaw period will be subject to fines.

During the spring thaw period, some roads cannot withstand heavy vehicle loads. Every year, the City monitors thaw progression by utilizing the forecast temperature data to calculate the Thaw Index. When the Thaw Index reaches its threshold value, the load restrictions are imposed. Once the pavement strength has been restored, the load restrictions are removed.

For further information, please visit

Ice breaking, blasting and thawing

It's always important this time of year to be cautious of ice on local bodies of water. It may look solid, but that can be deceiving. Avoid going out on the ice to be on the safe side.

And since we're on the subject of ice, the City of Ottawa has been doing flood prevention on the Rideau River for over 100 years. The workers get to use some pretty fun looking equipment to prevent ice damming that can create local flooding. Watch this video to see how they blast the ice to prevent flooding of the river each year!

Now let's hope the weather starts to warm up!

Registration is open! City of Ottawa Spring and Summer Recreation Programs

It’s time to check out the thousands of classes the City of Ottawa has to offer in the 2013 Spring-Summer Recreation eGuides. Both the Recreation eGuide and Mon cyberguide francophone des loisirs are now online at

  • Registration for swimming and aquafitness classes begins online and by touchtone phone (613-580-2588) Monday, March 4 at 10 p.m. and in person at City recreation facilities Tuesday, March 5 during regular business hours.
  • Registration for all other classes including summer camps begins online and by touchtone phone Wednesday, March 6 at 10 p.m. and in person at City recreation facilities Thursday, March 7during regular business hours.

High volumes of online registrants are expected throughout the first week of registration, particularly the first evening, which could result in a longer registration experience than usual.

Ottawa residents are encouraged to review the list of classes and summer camps and registration procedures now to ensure they are ready to enrol in their favourite classes in a timely manner. Anyone registering will need a client barcode and a family PIN (Personal Identification Number).