Ottawa — The City of Ottawa, the National Capital Commission (NCC) and State Farm®, sponsor of the Skate Safe program, have teamed up once again to make an Ottawa winter tradition more fun for everyone through the Skate Safe program. The Skate Safe tent officially opened on Saturday morning on the Rideau Canal Skateway at the State Farm Zone at Concord. Visitors to the Skate Safe tent will get assistance with helmet fittings, tips on helmet use and a free 15-minute “tips and tricks” skating session from staff and volunteers from Ottawa Public Health (OPH), Ottawa’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department and ThinkFirst. The tent will be open Saturdays and Sundays during Winterlude, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., until February 20.“Skating on the canal can be even more enjoyable if you possess basic skating skills and are wearing a proper helmet,” said Councillor Mathieu Fleury, member of the Board of Health. ”I’m proud that Ottawa Public Health and Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services have joined forces to offer this innovative Skate Safe program to residents and tourists enjoying skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway, a UNESCO world heritage site, located here in our Nation’s Capital.”The Skate Safe program is a partnership between the City of Ottawa, the NCC, State Farm, the Ottawa chapter of ThinkFirst, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the Brian Injury Association of Canada. The initiative began in 2004 when the NCC approached Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and asked for assistance in addressing the growing number of skating injuries on the Rideau Canal Skateway. “The NCC wants residents and visitors to have a safe and positive experience on the world’s largest skating rink,” said Marc Corriveau, Director of Urban Lands and Transportation at the NCC. “Our partnership with the City of Ottawa and State Farm is building awareness of and encouraging the use of helmets on the Rideau Canal Skateway.”“State Farm is always proud to have the opportunity to sponsor world renowned events, and being part of the Rideau Canal Skateway 2012 is a great way to show support for Canadian families. This event highlights the opportunity for family and friends to be able to interact and enjoy time together in a safe and friendly environment,” said Caroline Quinn, State Farm Canada Marketing Manager. “Our relationship with the NCC, City of Ottawa, and CHEO to support the Skate Safe program is a great way to enhance this family experience. We’re excited to be an official sponsor of this celebration which continues to be a memorable event, year after year.”This year, OPH will be hosting a contest to encourage Ottawa youth to wear a helmet while skating on the Skateway and at other City indoor and outdoor skating facilities. ”Get Caught Wearing Your Helmet is just one more way that OPH is reaching out to youth,” said Dr. Isra Levy, Medical Officer of Health. ”Making it fun by providing youth incentives to wear a helmet while skating will help us promote the important message that wearing a proper helmet is the right thing to do.”For more information on Skate Safe, please visit ottawa.ca/health, or call the OPH information line at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656). read more..