Blowing up the Rideau River

Today’s Globe and Mail had an interesting article on a century-old practice in Ottawa that we here at LTOttawa hadn’t heard of before: Blowing up the Rideau River.

The dynamite-laden task essentially serves as a way to protect surrounding buildings from water damage by breaking the ice into chunks that can be dumped into the larger Ottawa River. A seemingly boring subject made interesting by explosions!

Although we’ve included a video to last year’s blasting, the Globe does a great job of describing it nonetheless:

“Pre-empting the annual thaw, city workers armed with sticks of dynamite set off explosions where the frigid waters tumble over the Rideau Falls and into the Ottawa River . . . Dressed in bright orange flotation jackets and hip waders in -11 C weather, the workers are ready for two or three days of steady detonation. With a mechanical saw, they have sliced up the ice into long rectangles that wait to be carried by the current through controlled openings in the dam. With powerful augers, they have drilled hundreds of foot-deep holes, ready to receive their charges.”

Read the rest of the article — and be sure to check out the accompanying photos and graphic — here.

Do you know of a little-known Ottawa practice that we should share with the city? Tell us about it!