It’s getting colder, and even though it hasn’t started snowing yet, take a moment to plan an outing at one of these unique outdoor skating venues. Click the links for openings and schedules.
The Arrowhead Skating Trail
This Muskoka trail is one of the most popular winter attractions across the province, spanning 1.3 kilometres through lush Muskoka forest. Arrowhead Provincial Park, located in Huntsville is a hidden gem, but it’s growing more and more famous every year and there’s one reason — the skating trail. Not only is it busy enough on regular days, but throughout the season they also have special Fire & Ice nights that are extremely popular.
Fire & Ice nights bring together the experience of the skate trail with some amazing fire features. The entire 1.3 km trail is fully lined with tiki torches. On those special nights, the torches are all lit for a perfect evening of skating under the stars.
The first Fire & Ice night is on New Year’s Eve.
MacGregor Point Ice Trail
Located in Port Elgin at MacGregor Point Provincial Park — about two-and-a-half hours from Burlington — this trail is a scenic route along Lake Huron’s shores. The 400-metre trail is stunning and family friendly. Best of all —trail-keepers turn on the lights along the trail until 10 p.m. every night, so you can skate under the stars! There is also a large outdoor ice pad if you’re interested in playing ice hockey, and a warm-up hut. Skating will be open once there is enough snow.
Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel Rink
Toronto’s most scenic skating rink — Natrel Rink has boasted free skating with a view of Lake Ontario for the past 30 years. It’s completely free to skate here, and you can rent equipment like skates and helmets if you don’t already have them. With a view of the city on one side and a view of the lake on the other, you can’t go wrong here. It has a heated indoor change room with lockers and washrooms.
Skate the 8 in the Six – The Bentway Skate Trail
The Bentway’s unique figure-eight skate trail opens for its second season on December 21, 2018. Just in time for the holidays! The skating rink is a 1.75 km long trail in the shape of a figure eight, under Toronto’s busiest expressway. Located at 250 Fort York Boulevard, the rink is one of Toronto’s newest but most exciting holiday destinations. Last year over 50,000 came to skate the eight, which even offers skate rentals and lessons. There will be curated food and beverage options on select dates, and an expanded winter village full of snuggly blankets, warming lounges, and fire pits.
Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh Ice Trail (Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery)
At Johnston’s in Muskoka, you can skate a 1.2-kilometre loop around 12 acres of cranberries! “With forest on one side and cranberry beds on the other, this is a one-of-a-kind experience,” say trail-keepers. Every Saturday (weather permitting), the farm & winery will be lighting their famous skating trail with 400 tiki torches for a torchlight skate under the stars. There are waterfalls you can stop by, a fire you can warm up by, and a winery where you can grab some hot mulled cider or wine. To skate here, it’s $10 a person, and there are skate rentals if you need them.
Rideau Canal Skateway
The Skateway winds its way through the heart of Ottawa, over a total length of 7.8 kilometres, stretching from downtown to Dows Lake. Rideau Canal Skateway is a classic skating trail that you should visit at least once. It’s the largest naturally frozen skating rink in the world, welcoming more than a million visitors from January to March, as soon as the canal freezes over. Skate rentals are available, heated change huts, as well as hot beverages.