When Royal Engineer Lt.-Col. John By arrived in 1826 to start construction of the 202-kilometre canal, the difficulties of such an enormous task were complicated by inadequate funds and an unskilled and sickly labour force. Against these odds, the canal was completed in 1832. It is now the oldest continuously operated canal in North America and has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Canal Promenade runs for eight kilometres, from downtown along Colonel By Drive to the Hartwell Locks. Bike paths that line the canal attract joggers, cyclists, and inline skaters. The canal opens for skating in mid-winter, becoming the world’s largest skating rink, a major attraction during Ottawa’s Winterlude celebration in February.