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Get your skates on in Canada’s top cities!

posted December 22, 2016


If you are lucky enough to be heading to Canada this winter then we have a suggestion for you: put your best foot forward in a pair of skates! Ice-skating in Canada is miles away from that in the UK. The skating rinks are often naturally frozen and are on a scale that will blow you away. Mostly free and rarely packed, they are one of our favourite ways to have fun on a city break. Take a look at our top picks below.

Ottawa

Ottawa

Heading to Ottawa? Then you’re in for a treat as it’s home to the most impressive ice rink, The Rideau Canal Skateway. This UNESCO world heritage site is the Guinness World Record holder for the largest, naturally-frozen ice skating rink and has been named as the best in the world by Reader’s Digest. It is 7.8km long and runs from Ottawa’s downtown to Dows Lake. Remarkably, it is a path often used by commuters, so perhaps avoid these times of the day for a more relaxed experience. If you are after a more festive and fun visit, then you will enjoy the rink side huts where you can take off your skates and have a warm drink. The full rink is open Monday-Friday 8:30-5pm, but other sections are accessible 24/7. It is free to use and does offer skate rental, prices of which can be found here.

Plan your visit:

Our Ottawa city break lets you take in Toronto at the same time.

Montreal

Montreal

The Montreal rinks provide with the best venues for a romantic evening of skating, and specifically the Downtown Old Port of Montreal rink. This is also recommended by Reader’s Digest the 4th best rink, worldwide. The rink is in a fantastic location with a beautiful city skyline behind. The rink is not just a daytime activity as it runs themed nights on Tuesdays (Workout on Ice), Wednesdays (Comfort on Ice) and on Thursdays (DJ on Ice). Participating in these comes at the same cost as normal entrance to the rink as you simply buy a one-day access pass. This is $6.95 for those over 12, $4.60 for children aged 6-12 and free for those under 6. Skates are available to rent on site at a low cost. The rink is open until 9pm Monday – Weds, and otherwise until 10pm. For further details regarding dates, their maintenance schedule and contact information, click here.

Plan your visit:

Romantic, multi-cultural Montreal is perfect for a short break.

Toronto

Toronto

Toronto is home to our favourite family ice skating rink, the Evergreen Brickworks. Although come sunset, the beautiful setting and lights would make it a close runner up for ‘most romantic’! This rink is great for families as it is not too big, it is free to skate on and it runs adult-child drop in classes. The cost for these is recommended at $10, but as with their rented skates, they run a ‘pay what you can’ policy. The rink is open-air but sits inside the walls of an old brick factory. Whilst the ice is not entirely natural, the cooling system in place can still be considered eco-friendly as excess heat is used to warm the marketplace next door. The rink is open from 3pm-7pm on weekdays and from 11am-6pm on weekends and Friday. To find out more information or what else you can do at the Brickworks, head to their website.

Plan your visit:

Toronto is the king of city breaks, and we have a great package for £399 per person.

Vancouver

Robson Square

Ice-skating is an activity that comes with Christmas tradition. If you are a true traditionalist then head to the Robson Square ice rink in Vancouver, at 800 Robson Street. What this rink lacks in size it makes up for in fame! It caters to the novelty of the activity, with its pop-on possibility. In a busy shopping area, it is a good activity to do with children after a day on Robson Street. The rink is free to use although there may be a queue. If you do not have your own skates, you can rent them at the low cost of $4 (cash only). The rink is open 9am-9pm Sunday to Thursday, and 9am-11pm on Friday and Saturday. To find out more about their holiday opening hours, visit their website.

Plan your visit:

Vancouver is great on its own or paired up with other West Coast cities.

Quebec City

Quebec

Unsurprisingly, Quebec City hosts the most beautiful ice-rink we know. The old, quaint buildings and the Patinoire de la place D’Youville (995 Youville Place) will transport you to another era. The turrets and arches of the old town walls are bejewelled with Christmas lights,. The rink here is neither too big nor too small, and is rarely too busy. As it has a system that ensures it stays frozen (when necessary) the rink also has a long season, running from mid-October to mid-March. The hours are equally good, open from midday-10pm Monday-Thursday and from 10am to 10pm on Fridays-Sundays. As a final plus, admission is free and the rental price for skates at $8 is low for such a good venue. To find out more, visit the rink page on the Quebec City website.

Plan your visit:

Team Quebec City with Montreal for a taste of Canada’s French influence.

Skating these fantastic rinks is just another benefit of a visit to one of Canada’s wonderful winter cities. So embrace the cold weather, relax and see some amazing sights.

 

Image credits: Craige Moore (Source: Flickr); Travis McCrea (Source: Flickr); slecuyerqc (Source: Flickr)

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