Is there anything more Canadian than gliding outside on a frozen pad of ice? Whether you are going for a skate with the family, or watching the kids play a pick-up game of pond hockey well after the sun sets, outdoor skating is a right of passage for Canadians of all ages.
Below is a sampling of some of the great skating destinations that can be found in Ontario:
Rideau Canal Skateway, Ottawa
Each winter, the historic Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, becomes the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest skating rink. The Skateway winds its way through the heart of Ottawa, over a total length of 7.8 kilometers, stretching from downtown to Dows Lake.
Ice skating trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park,Muskoka
The Arrowhead Ice Skating Trail has generated a tremendous amount of fanfare over the last couple of years since it’s opening in 2012. The 1.3 km Ice Skating trail winds through the peaceful Muskoka forest and is a winter experience like no other, as it can surrounded on all sides by snow-covered evergreen trees which makes for an absolutely stunning sight. If given the opportunity visit the torch lit Fire & Ice nights which are extremely popular.
Skate Trail at Discovery Harbour, Penetanguishene
In January 2017 to help celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, a Skate Trail is planned along the shores of Penetanguishene. Imagine yourself skating with family and friends along the shoreline through a unique cultural and historical site, by day or night! The Discovery Harbour Skate Trail, Penetanguishene, will feature over 2 km of skating.
The Cranberry Ice Trail, Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh & Muskoka Lakes Winery
Skate a 1.2 km loop around 12 acres of cranberries! This narrow designed skating trail really creates an intimate feel, perfect for hand holding with your special someone, or locking arms with your girlfriends. Skate a 1.2 km loop around 12 acres of cranberries. This narrow designed skating trail really creates an intimate feel, as you skate on frozen cranberry beds. Don’t forget to explore the Marsh and Winery while you are there.
Memorial Park Winter Village, Bracebridge
The Memorial Park Winter Village in downtown Bracebridge features an ice skating rink that wraps around the park and carves in and out of Bracebridge landmarks, the Winter Village brings its own exciting take on a skating trail. The winter village exemplifies small town charm, especially at night when the trees covered in twinkling lights create a magical backdrop. Memorial Park Winter Village’s location right downtown allows you to get creative with your winter plans. You can go from a romantic skate, to a dinner in just a few small steps. Memorial Park Winter Village occasionally has programming on weekends which includes music, campfires, hot chocolate, bbq’s and more. Skating on the trail is free to the public.
MacGregor Point Provincial Park ice trail, Port Elgin
Nestled against the shores of Lake Huron in Port Elgin, you will be able to glide through the woods on MacGregor’s ice skating trail. The 400-metre skating trail provides an unforgettable outdoor experience. Trail lights for skating are turned on for skating under the stars until 10:00 pm every day of the week. They also have a large ice pad for outdoor hockey enthusiasts.
Ramsey Lake Skating Path, Sudbury
The Ramsey Lake Skating Path extends from McNaughton Terrace to Science North. The skating path is open from mid-January to mid-March
Terra Cotta Conservation Area, Halton Hills
When Wolf Lake freezes over this area is perfect for skating! A large rink is cleared as well as a skating trail loop attached to take you further down the lake.
Chinguacousy Park Skate Trail, Brampton
Visit Brampton’s newest outdoor skating trail at Chinguacousy Park. Designed in an irregular ‘canal’ shape, it features natural bends to allow skaters of all abilities to practice their skills. The trail boasts more than 2000 sq. meters of ice surface and can accommodate up to 500 skaters.
Gage Park, Brampton
In the winter, a temperature-controlled skating trail attracts families and skating enthusiasts from Brampton and beyond to experience skating through the trees of this majestic park.
Remember that many of the destinations listed above are dependent on weather. Please check ahead before heading out to make sure the facilities are open.
Know of another great place to take the family skating? Post it in our comments section below!