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Canada’s top outdoor ice skating rinks

Canada’s Top Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks

Canada’s top outdoor ice skating rinks

Wintertime is for ice skating outside on frozen ponds and lakes in Canada (most of it at least). Hockey's pretty popular too! Whether it's downtown at a busy public arena with music and lights, on a iced-over cul-de-sac in the 'burbs, or in the quiet woods under snow-frosted trees, it's exhilarating to glide along in the fresh, brisk air, bundled up in mittens, a coat, scarf, and toque -- that's Canadian for beanie -- then warm up afterwards with steaming hot chocolate. It's also a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit.


Find out what all the fun is about at Canada's top outdoor ice rinks. Nearly every community has one, of course, but here are the very best.

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 650-foot-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 largestExternal Link Title: 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

The world knows iconic, turquoise Lake Louise, framed by Alberta's Rockies, in summer. But what about winter? That's when it becomes a fairy tale skating rink and ice hockey arena with giant ice castle, open til midnight. Pure magic. CNN agreed, dubbing it a "10 most beautiful" in the worldExternal Link Title.

Cameco Meewasin Skating Rink - Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Skating is free at Cameco Meewasin Skating RinkExternal Link Title, always decorated with twinkle lights during the holidays. A classic Canadian city rink, it only closes when temperatures drop below -24 F! This one's in downtown Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Kiwanis ParkExternal Link Title on the South Saskatchewan River, next to the stately historic Delta Bessborough HotelExternal Link Title, with some skate rentals onsite. Take advantage of the fire pit and warm-up shelter post-skate.

Bonsecours Basin - Montreal, Quebec

Easy does it at Montreal's Bonsecours BasinExternal Link Title in charming Old Montreal -- a festive rink that draws crowds on weeknights. 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

Ottawa's may be the biggest, but Manitoba's is the longest outdoor skating rink. And history is the thing at The Forks National Historic SiteExternal Link Title, a place of commerce and trading dating back 6,000 years. Today, it's a hip gathering spot, especially in winter. In downtown Winnipeg, The Forks includes just shy of a mile of park trails to skate and an Olympic rink. Or, hit the six-mile stretch skirting two rivers, the External Link TitleAssiniboine and RedExternal Link Title, stopping in at the artsy warming hutsExternal Link Title designed by global talents.


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.