Top Outdoor Ice Rinks in Canada

Nov 25, 2015
When temperatures in Canada dip below freezing, Canadians make the most of the icy weather and head outdoors for a skate.  From record-breaking frozen rivers to championship blue lines, there are skating rinks all over the country for leisurely gliders and speed-skating Olympians. Here are the best outdoor skating rinks from coast to coast:

The Loop, St.John’s

Winding its way through Bannerman Park, one of the oldest parks in Newfoundland, The Loop is open as long as the weather is cold enough. Skaters enjoy free admission to the pretty circuit, looping through one of St. John’s most-loved outdoor spaces.

Emera Oval, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Initially built for the 2011 Canada Games, the Oval was so loved by Haligonians that the city has kept the ice smooth every winter since. Skate around the regulation-size speed-skating rink, or take lessons from the pros. Skates and helmets are available in all sizes for free throughout the winter, and in the summer there are inline skates, rollers skates and scooters.

Plaster Rock, New Brunswick

Every winter, this small New Brunswick town hosts World Pond Hockey Championships. Last year over 120 teams competed in the event, held on 20 outdoor rinks construction on frozen Roulston Lake. For those who don’t want to play a game of puck, the rinks can be enjoyed for a leisurely lap all winter long.


Photo from Flickr by New Brunswick Tourism

Bonsecours Basin, Montreal, Quebec

With views of the St. Lawrence River and the Old Port, this well-known rink is located in Old Montreal next to the Pavilion du Basin Bonsecours. Skate to a beat with the themed musical evenings, including retro Fridays and ballroom matinees on weekdays. Rentals are available for a fee.

Photo from Flickr by Ahmed Ibn-Lahoucine

The Rideau Canal Skateway, Ottawa, Ontario

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal meanders its way through Ottawa, stretching 7.8km. There are multiple places along the way to rent skates and sleighs, and some Ottawans even commute to work skating along the canal. Glide through the capital city past the Parliament Buildings and don’t forget to stop for a Beaver Tail.

Photo from Flickr by Matt Boman

Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, Ontario

Situated in front of Toronto City Hall, this iconic square is a must-do in Toronto during the winter months. Skate underneath the tall buildings of downtown Toronto with rentals available on-site.

Photo from Flickr by The City of Toronto

Red River Mutual Trail, Winnipeg, Manitoba

At The Forks — where the Assiniboine and Red Rivers meet — the icy fun begins. Part of the Artic Glacier Winter Park, the trail broke the 2008 Guinness World Record for longest frozen skating trail at 8.54 kilometres. Winter activities abound, from skating to curling. Every year there is an architecture contest for the warming huts that people enjoy along the way. Rentals are available for a nominal fee.

Photo from Flickr by Dan McKay

Cameco Meewasin Skating Rink, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

This skating rink sits in Kiwanis Park, on the South Saskatchewan River in the heart of this prairie city. Skate along the river with views of the historic Delta Bessborough Hotel and warm up in the Skaters’ Lodge. Free rentals are available.

Lake Louise, Alberta

Skating around this lake is like gliding through a postcard; with epic views of the Rockies and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in the background, this experience is one not to be missed. With an ice castle and fire pits, the great outdoors don’t seem so bad.

Photo from Flickr by Wilson Hul

Lake Windermere Whiteway, Invermere British Columbia

With almost 30 kilometres of skating, this Columbia Valley lake offers Rocky Mountain views. Pick a loop and sail through a variety of skating trails or throw some rocks on the curling rink. In addition to skating, the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club has developed a lengthy cross-country trail.

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