Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Iris Sinilong
There is something comforting and nostalgic about preparing a hot chocolate, bundling up, and heading to an outdoor skating rink during the winter season, especially during Christmastime when they are festive in décor and in spirit. Whether you’re searching for romance or family fun, you can visit during the day or night and enjoy the winter scenery- and it’s almost always free if you bring your own skates. Here are some of the best places to skate in Canada. So lace up and join in this Canadian tradition- it’s the perfect time of year.
Rideau Canal Skateway Ottawa, Ontario
This UNESCO World Heritage Site begins near the Parliament Buildings and makes its way to Dows Lake. It is the world’s largest skating rink at 7.8 kilometers long. Warm fires, rest areas, and snacks greet you along the way. Visit during Winterlude, the festival running from January 31 to February 17.
Banff National Park is filled with scenic natural and man-made ice rinks. From the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise dubbed one of the most beautiful in the world by CNN to The Fairmont Banff Springs with a heated shelter and burning fire to the 500-meter loop on Bow River, each have their own distinguishing features.
The Forks Winnipeg, Manitoba
Enjoy skating your way along the Red River Mutual Trail, warming up in the unique, architectural warming huts. The trail holds the Guinness World Record for the longest naturally frozen skating trail in the world. Arctic Glacier Winter Park boasts 1.2 kilometers of skating trails, an Olympic-sized skating rink, toboggan areas, a snowboard facility, and a snowman display.
Nathan Phillips Square & Harbourfront Centre Toronto, Ontario
At the intersection of Queen St. and Bay St. in downtown Toronto is Nathan Phillips Square, forming the area in front of Toronto City Hall. The popular summer water fountain turns into ice rink for all to enjoy. Skate alongside the famous 60-foot Christmas tree and enjoy the snack bar and occasional performances. The Natrel Rink at Harbourfront Centre is set alongside Lake Ontario. It has a heated change room and a restaurant.
Grouse Mountain & Robson Square Vancouver, British Columbia
Grouse Mountain features an 8000 square-foot skating pond on its mountaintop. Robson Square in downtown Vancouver is the public plaza connecting the Provincial Law Plaza, Vancouver Art Gallery, and government buildings. Join in the tradition and enjoy a public skate and a snack from the concession stand.
Olympic Plaza Calgary, Alberta
Built for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, this famous attraction in downtown Calgary is used for training, competition, and recreation by athletes and the general public. As the only refrigerated ice surface in Calgary, Olympic Plaza’s outdoor rinks open earlier and close later than others, making it the perfect place for families and friends to enjoy.
Beaver Lake & La Fontaine Park Montréal, Québec
Skate atop of Mont Royal at Beaver Lake, or Lac des Castors. This popular skating destination in Mont Royal Park is a local-favourite. At Parc La Fontaine, skate on the romantic winding paths or opt for the two oblong pond rinks ideal for hockey games.
What do you consider the best places to skate in Canada? Tell us below!