10 Must Skate Canadian Rinks
From the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink to illuminated icy forest trails
Skating rink on the l'Assomption River (Joliette, QC) From late January to early March, the Assomption River in Joliette, QC is transformed into the longest outdoor skating rink in Quebec. Skaters can glide their way down two 4.5 km frozen river corridors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and enjoy onsite amenies such as coffee, locker rentals and skate sharpening. From Febraury 3 to 12, 2017, the Assomption River hosts the Festi-Glace, which offers a variety of winter activities for the whole family.
Rideau Canal Skateway (Ottawa, ON)
The scenic Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa, which stretches from Ottawa’s downtown core to Dows Lake, is the largest naturally frozen skating rink in the world. Bring your own skates or rent a pair at the Skateway’s downtown and Fifth Avenue entrances and glide your way down the 7.8 kilometres of ice, stopping for hot soup, hot chocolate and BeaverTails at shop stands along the way.
Check out the Winterlude Triathlon for a unique ski/skate/run along the canal.
Old Port Rink (Montreal, Quebec)
Enjoy the charm of old Montreal at the Natrel rink located at the Old Port. Nights of the week feature different musical themes, including rock, classical or jazz. This is a full service operation with rentals, skate sharpening and lockers for rent. $6 per skate.
The Red River Mutual Trail (Winnipeg, MB)
Skate, walk, run or sled your way along the Red River Mutual Trail in Winnipeg, the longest naturally frozen skating trail in the world that starts in the heart of the city and follows the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. Starting in February, there are several family-friendly events happening on the Red River Mutual Trail, including an Iron Man Curling Bonspiel, an all-terrain bicycle race and the Festival du Voyageur.
The Robson Square Ice Rink (Vancouver, BC)
It's free to skate and rentals are available at the low, low price of $4. There is also a learn to skate program for kids in grades 4-7, with free lessons and helmet rentals.
Ice Trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park (Muskoka, ON)
For a true winter wonderland experience, visit Arrowhead Provincial Park in Muskoka, ON from January to March and enjoy a scenic skate through the forest on the Arrowhead Ice Skating Trail. If you head to the trail in the early evening in January and February, you can experience Fire & Ice nights, where hundreds of tiki torches illuminate the trail as you carve through Muskoka's beautiful evergreens. Don’t have your own skates? No problem – skate rentals and sharpening is available onsite. Skating Enthusiasts Are Loving Arrowhead
Grouse Mountain Ice Skating Pond (Vancouver, BC)
Skate with a stunning view of the city on Grouse Mountain’s Ice Skating Pond, open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the winter months atop Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, BC (weather permitting). Access to the skating pond is free with your Grouse Mountain lift ticket, and skate rentals are available onsite. If a friendly game of hockey is more your thing, the 8,000 square-foot Ice Skating Pond is available for private rentals, which include an hour of private ice time, access for up to 15 players and nachos in Altitudes Bistro.
Ice Skating on Lake Louise (Lake Louise, AB)
From mid-December to mid-April, skaters can glide through an ice castle and take in the towering Rocky Mountains on beautiful Lake Louise in Alberta. The ice rink is maintained daily by Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and is free to use, with skate rentals available at Chateau Mountain Sports, located off the by Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel lobby. An additional rink is available for playing hockey, and floodlights illuminate the ice so you can skate under the stars until 11 p.m.
Whistler Olympic Plaza (Whistler, BC)
From December to April, enjoy a hot chocolate and views of the mountains while you skate in the heart of the Village in Whistler Olympic Plaza. Admission is free, and skate rentals are available for only $5. Push bars are also available for those just learning to skate.
Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh & Muskoka Lakes Winery Ice Trail (Muskoka, ON)
The Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh Ice Trail is a 1.2 kilometre loop through 12 acres of cranberries with stunning Boreal forests on one side and cranberry beds on the other. Warm up by the waterfalls fire or post-skate hit the winery for hot mulled cider or wine. Skate rentals and skate sharpening are available on-site. $5 per person.