Ottawa River Freeze Up
The Ottawa River freezes in mid to late December. It is sometimes open at Christmas time, but very rarely at New Year's. The date of freeze up seems to be more variable than that of ice out, but human intervention — through the regulation of power dams — probably plays a larger role in determining the date of ice out than of freeze up.
While for most people, freeze up is not anticipated with the same eagerness as ice out, freeze up wins hands down from a photographic drama point of view.
2005 December 17
The Ottawa River is a big river. Its average flow is greater than all of the rivers of England and Wales put together. Consequently, it is slow to warm in the spring and slow to cool in the fall. Sometimes, in late fall, the water temperature can exceed the air temperature by 20 degrees C or more. On those mornings when the air is still, great banks of fog and mist envelop the river.
But the most drama occurs when the temperature drops below minus 20C, while the river is still open.