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Honouring Rideau Canal Ice Races

Published: February 5, 2018 12:00 pm ET

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There may not be live harness racing on the frozen Ottawa Canal for Winterlude 2018, but that has not stopped Standardbreds from having a presence – albeit it a frosty one.

Standardbreds pictured racing on the frozen Rideau Canal during Winterlude 1979 (Image courtesy Canadian Heritage)

Former Trot Magazine Executive Editor Bill Galvin has made the trek to our nation’s capital and has helped co-ordinate the presence of an ice sculpture depicting driver and Standardbred at Confederation Park, which acts as host to the crystalline ice sculptures.

Confederation Park hosts the 31st International Ice-Carving Competition, where 26 world-renowned professional ice carvers from Russia, Japan, Canada, Poland, Indonesia, Iraq, and the Philippines will demonstrate their skills, creativity, and endurance.

For the complete background of the project to bring the driver and Standardbred carving to Winterlude, click here.

Bill Galvin, pictured in front of the ice sculpture (Image courtesy Susan Burgess)

Galvin took the time to reminisce about the canal races with the CBC, which has run an article which sheds light on the dashes that took place annually from 1979 to 1985.

"The atmosphere was electric,” said Galvin. “The people, they lined the banks of the canal for a mile, three and four and five deep. It was exciting."

For a more in-depth look into Rideau’s ice races, click here. For a deeper look into Standardbreds racing on ice, generally, click here.

For more from Galvin about the ice races, please listen to a CBC audio interview which can be accessed below.

(With files from the CBC)

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