Top 10 – Skating Rinks in Canada

Low temperatures are no excuse for boredom.

by Maya Gasparoto
translated by Loretta Murphy

On the contrary, the cold Canadian winter can be lots of fun. Ice skating is a favourite activity this time of year and appeals to the whole family. This issue’s Top 10 features a list of the best skating rinks from east to west. So, grab your skates and have fun! Don’t have skates? Don’t worry! You can rent them at most of these rinks:

1) Rideau Canal Skateway – Ottawa, Ontario

O Rideau Canal Skateway é considerada pelo Guinness a maior pista natural de patinação do mundo. Créditos: Maya Gasparoto.

The Rideau Canal Skateway is considered by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest natural skating rink in the world. Crédit: Maya Gasparoto.

The Rideau Canal freezes during the winter and becomes the Rideau Canal Skateway – the largest natural skating rink in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Cafeterias and fast food restaurants, including the famous Beaver Tails, are located on the banks of the 7.8 km track. There are always people skating by day and night. Many Ottawa residents use it is a means of transportation. It is common to see people in their school uniforms and work clothes on skates. Admission is free.

The Rideau Canal is about 200 kilometers long and connects Ottawa to Kingston. Built in the 19th Century, it was meant to protect Canada from a possible US attack. In 2007, the Rideau Canal was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2) Nathan Philips Square – Toronto, Ontario

The Nathan Philips Square skating rink is one of the most popular in Toronto. Credit: Maya Gasparoto

The Nathan Philips Square skating rink is one of the most popular in Toronto. Credit: Maya Gasparoto

Located in Toronto, at the intersection of Bay and Queen, Nathan Philips Square is one of the most visited sites. The square is surrounded by the old town hall (which today operates as a court), the current city hall and the Eaton Centre. The skating rink is always full and it is not the most suitable for those learning to skate. Admission is free and skates can be rented on site.

3) Beaver Lake – Montreal, Quebec

Credit: mtlblog.com

Credit: mtlblog.com

The Beaver Lake skating rink is located in the Mont Royal Park in stylish Montreal. Admission is free and you can rent skates on site. The rink is usually open from December to March, but the weather determines opening dates. Different musical styles are played daily.

4) Chateau Lake Louise – Lake Louise, Alberta

Credit: hikebiketravel.com

Credit: hikebiketravel.com

The small town of Lake Louise is located 180 km from Calgary and is part of Banff National Park, a UNESCO heritage site. The snow-capped mountains, the lake with emerald water and the Chateau Lake Louise luxury hotel form the perfect setting for skating. It’s no wonder that this place was named one of the most beautiful spots in a survey by CNN.

5) Grouse Mountain – Vancouver, British Columbia

Credit: vancouverlookout.wordpress.com

Credit: vancouverlookout.wordpress.com

Vancouver residents have the option of skating at the top of Grouse Mountain. The mountain is a main tourist attraction and has a trendy skating rink. The site receives about 1.2 million visitors annually. The rink is accessed by means of gondolas, the price of which is included in the entrance fee. The cost is $43.95 for adults, $39.95 for seniors, $24.95 for children aged between 13 and 18 years and $14.85 for children between 5 and 12 years.

6) The Loop – St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

Credit: somethingsaturdays.com

Credit: somethingsaturdays.com

The Loop skating rink is located in one of the oldest parks in Newfoundland and Labrador, Bannerman Park. The site is a favourite of St. John’s residents and is ideal for those learning to skate. Admission is free.

7) Emera Oval – Halifax, Nova Scotia

Credit: novascotia.com

Credit: novascotia.com

The Emera Oval was built for the 2011 Winter Games. Halifax residents liked the spot and the city decided to maintain it. Beginners can participate in skating lessons on the rink. Skates and helmets are available for free.

8) Harbourfront Centre Natrel Rink – Toronto, Ontario

Credit: Harbourfront Centre

Credit: Harbourfront Centre

Better known as “Harbourfront Skating Rink,” the Harbourfront Natrel Rink is located on the shores of Lake Ontario, close to the CN Tower, the most famous landmark of Toronto. On Saturdays between 8pm and 11pm, DJs transform the skating rink into a party. Beginners can take classes on site. Admission is free and you can rent skates.

9) Cameco Neewasin Skating Rink – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Credit: saskatoonsearchandrescue.org/

Credit: saskatoonsearchandrescue.org/

Located at Kiwanis Park in downtown Saskatoon, Cameco Neewasin skating rink is well known by the city residents. The site overlooks the historic Delta Bessborough hotel. Admission is free. In 2006 Reader’s Digest chose this as the best open air skating rink in Canada.

10) The Forks River Trail – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Credit: stardustandbuttercup.com

Credit: stardustandbuttercup.com

Winnipeg is a full plate for lovers of ice skating. The area known as “The Forks”, where the Assiniboine and Red Rivers meet, is one of the most famous in the region and is in the city center. Admission is free. The opening of the rink, which depends on the amount of ice formed on the river, usually occurs in late January. Skates can be rented on site.

Other rinks that are worth visiting are: Greenwood Park (Toronto, Ontario); Beaver Lake and Olympic Park (Montreal, Quebec); The Assini Boine (Winnipeg, Manitoba); Robson Square (Vancouver, British Columbia) and Hawrelak Park (Edmonton, Alberta).

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