Ice skating is one of the best ways to break out of winter hibernation. Whether you’re racing, passing around a hockey puck or just up for a casual skate with friends, lacing up and hitting up a rink is one of the best ways to spend a winter afternoon.
While there are many local skating hotspots to choose from, we’ve put together a list of iconic places to skate in Canada, in case you’re looking to try something new. Grab your skates - and don’t forget to pack a travel mug filled with your favourite teapigs tea to keep you warm on the rink!
1. Montreal - Bonsecours Basin
One of the highlights of Old Montreal, the Bonsecours Basin offers an old fashioned skating experience. The basin sprouts out from the Promenade into the St Lawrence River, giving a skyline view from the rink itself. Special events, music, and themed nights are all something to look out for.
2. Vancouver - Robson Square
The Robson Square rink is hidden away in plain site. It acts as a tunnel underneath Robson Street, connecting the parliament building courtyard with the Vancouver art gallery. The rink is open ended, offering a view of both city landmarks.
3. Toronto - Bentway Skate Trail
This ice loop runs through the heart of downtown Toronto under the Gardiner Expressway, wrapping around the giant concrete pillars known as bents - hence its name. The commissioned street art along the trail lets you know that it doesn’t shy away from its setting. Plus, in case it didn’t feel urban enough, the rink includes the occasional DJ performance
4. Calgary - Carburn Park
Carburn Park houses three man-made ponds - which are the biggest ponds in Calgary - along the lush Bow River. This rare gem is a true nature sanctuary that will make you forget that downtown Calgary is just a hop away.
5. Regina - Victoria Park
Victoria Park’s rink isn’t a frozen pond or water feature - the city actually covers the grass of the park with skateable ice, making for a beautiful skate through trees and monuments. A miniature library has also been set up by the warming hut - in case you need to take a cozy break!
6. Winnipeg - Assiniboine Park
You can loop through Winnipeg's gorgeous Assiniboine Park on a skating trail that takes you past winding railways, tiny duck ponds and, if it’s too chilly, warming shelters. If you reach the finish line of the kilometre long trail, you can still skate around on the Riley Family Duck Pond.
7. Halifax - Emera Oval
This long outdoor rink was built for the Canada Games, but Halifax kept it because it’s such a treat to skate on. A speed skating rink may seem intimidating for beginners, but with so much open space it’s a fit for everyone.
8. Quebec City - place D'Youville
Place D’Youville splits the old and the new. The rink separates Old Quebec and Parliament Hill. On one side, you can skate by hotels and office buildings and on the other side, you can take in the views of a castle and historic theatre house.
9. Moncton - Centennial Park
This park is a haven for outdoor activities, but the skating oval is the main winter attraction. Although the lake is gorgeous any time of day, by night it’s lit in spectacular colours, making it a must for anyone who wants to hit the ice after sunset.