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Canada’s top outdoor ice skating rinks

outdoor skating rink, Canadian Rockies, Alberta

Canada’s top outdoor ice skating rinks

Ice skating is synonymous with winter in this part of the world. Whether you’re a skating newbie or the next Olympic hopeful, pull on some mittens, lace up your ice skates and glide onto the frozen playgrounds across the country. Ice skating in wide-open outdoor rinks and trails is the perfect family adventure or romantic holiday date. 


Take a break from that iced-over cul-de-sac in the ‘burbs and experience the fun of Canada’s top outdoor ice rinks.

Great Slave Lake - Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Hearty locals from the Northwest Territories can't wait til it's that time of year again to skate across massive Great Slave LakeExternal Link Title, North America's deepest. They also delight in skating the "ice roadsExternal Link Title." Or for something more conventional, join lively folks at Yellowknife's 198-metre-long Olympic Oval at Tommy Forrest ParkExternal Link Title.

Rideau Canal Skateway - Ottawa, Ontario

Canada's most beloved outdoor rink happens to be the world's largest: Ottawa, Ontario's picture-perfect Rideau CanalExternal Link Title. You can skate nearly five miles along the naturally frozen canal, a UNESCO World Heritage SiteExternal Link Title, usually open January to March. Views of the city are fabulous -- and, it's free, just bring your own skates or rent them from a hut along the banks.

Shipyards Park - Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

A historic steamboat industrial zone, today the reclaimed Shipyards ParkExternal Link Title in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory is a hub for year-round recreation and special events, including a skating loop, tobogganing, and for the daring, ice tower climbingExternal Link Title. If you can, visit during February's raucous 10-day winter festival, the Yukon Sourdough RendezvousExternal Link Title, an institution since 1945.

Lake Louise - Lake Louise, Alberta

You've probably seen the turquoise Lake Louise, framed by Alberta's Rockies in the summer. But what about winter? When temperatures drop, it becomes the perfect setting for a fairy tale, giant ice castle included. Named as one of the "10 most beautiful ice skating rinks in the worldExternal Link Title," the frozen lake is cleared and maintained daily by the Fairmont Chateau Lake LouiseExternal Link Title and has a heated shelter to warm chilly fingers and toes.

Cameco Meewasin Skating Rink - Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

In downtown SaskatoonExternal Link Title, skate under the holiday lights at Cameco Meewasin Skating RinkExternal Link Title in Kiwanis ParkExternal Link Title on the shores of the South Saskatchewan River. Rent skates from the stately and historic Delta Bessborough HotelExternal Link Title and warm up around  the fire pit or in the warm-up shelter post-skate.

Bonsecours Basin - Montreal, Quebec

Easy does it at Montreal's Bonsecours BasinExternal Link Title in charming Old Montreal -- home of Canada's first outdoor commercial rink way back in 1850! Glide along with a view over the St. Lawrence River and listen to some of Montreal's best DJsExternal Link Title on Thursday nights.

Emera Oval - Halifax, Nova Scotia

Built specially for the 2011 Canada Games, 55,000-square-foot Emera OvalExternal Link Title in Halifax, Nova Scotia is one of the East Coast's largest outdoor, machine-chilled surfaces -- the size of three NHL rinks. Open daily, there are free public programsExternal Link Title, such as learn-to-skate lessons and speed skating 101, plus weekly themed events. Fun!

The Forks - Winnipeg, Manitoba

Hit the ten-kilometre stretch skirting two rivers, the AssiniboineExternal Link Title and RedExternal Link Title and stop in at the artsy warming hutsExternal Link Title designed by global talents. Or back in downtown Winnipeg,External Link Title the The Forks National Historic SiteExternal Link Title includes 1.5 kilometres of park trails to skate and an Olympic rink.

Lake Windermere Whiteway, British Columbia

Ottawa's may be the biggest rink, but the BC mountain town of Invermere is home to the longest outdoor skating pathway in the world. The Lake Windermere WhitewayExternal Link Title stole the title from Manitoba in 2014 with over 30 kilometres of trail. Stay in style at nearby Fairmont Hot Springs ResortExternal Link Title before hitting this multi-use trail offering ice-skating as well as groomed skate and classic cross-country ski trails.

Atlantic Canada

In Atlantic Canada, frozen ponds are in abundance. To shorten the list, consider Lily LakeExternal Link Title in Saint John,  or The LoopExternal Link Title in St John's. In Prince Edward Island, the kids will boast ear-to-ear smiles after enjoying  Mill River ResortExternal Link Title, with a full range of winter activities including tree-lined outdoor skating rink and nightly bonfires.


If you haven't ice skated outside before, what are you waiting for? It's big fun and a beautiful, active way to celebrate winter.