Ottawa weather can be unpredictable, but if the temperatures drop and cold weather days are consistent, skating in Ottawa is a great way for parents to spend time together with their kids during our chilly winters. Even if the weather doesn’t get cold enough for natural ice, refrigerated outdoor rinks across the City are open!
There are outdoor rinks at many of our local parks, likely in your own neighbourhood, where you can bring the kids to skate and, when they open again, you can find ice time during public skating at one of the city rinks indoors.
Ottawa may have restrictions regarding mask-wearing, crowd sizes and other pandemic related requirements that families should be aware of. These are frequently changing, so before you pack up the kids and everyone’s gear, it may be best to double-check what is open and requested. Also, reservations may be required.
If the weather cooperates and the pandemic allows there are many unusual, unique and exciting outdoor rinks that you can skate on with the kids. We’ve rounded up some that you may find surprising. Just don’t forget to grab some hot chocolate afterwards!
Best Places to Go Skating in Ottawa with Kids
Photo credit: @hellovancity
As the world’s largest natural skating rink, no list of the best places for skating in Ottawa would be complete without including the Rideau Canal. Skating is free but the opening depends on weather and restrictions but their website will update you with current conditions.
Lansdowne is home to the Ottawa 67s so it’s no surprise that an outdoor skating rink will also bring ice fans to the area. The rink is open daily from 6 am until 11 pm and the washrooms and trailer are open from 8 am until 8 pm (masks required). This is a bring-your-own-skates rink, as there are no rentals available.
In front of City Hall, the Sens Rink of Dreams is once again welcoming visitors for skating from 6 am until 11 pm. The rink is open when weather permits and parking is available in one of the nearby lots. Beaver Tails are on location during certain days and times too!
Public Skating at Rideau Hall is by reservation only and is open from January 22, 2022 until March 13, 2022 on weekends only. Reservations for January are currently open. Reservations for February open January 11th, and reservations for March will be available on February 1st.
Photo credit: patinageenforet.com
Skating Through the Forest
Instead of a designated outdoor rink, how about you take the kids on an ice trail through the forest? There are a few in the Ottawa area! One is located next to Gatineau Park and about 45 minutes from Ottawa, the 3 km trail is unlike any other location you’ve skated on. Tickets are required and there is a cost for skating, snowshoeing, or the walking trails, and details about their times can be found on the website.
Lace up on outdoor benches but note that wearing a mask and distancing is mandatory. Rentals are available. Vaccine mandates are in effect. There are other safety rules that they have outlined on their website.
Another place to skate through a forest and fields is in Metcalfe at the River Oak Skating Trial. Tickets are available or purchase in advance online but you’ll want to visit their website to confirm when the trail is opening.
Enjoy a skate at the Ben Franklin Place outdoor refrigerated rink. Conveniently located at Centrepointe Drive, there are lights for when it gets dark and a heated changing facility. The rink is open between 9 am until 11 pm, weather permitting.
It’s always a family favourite place to visit, at any time of year, but new this year Parc Omega has opened up a small skating area for families to check out. It’s only open when the conditions allow and weather permits. Bring your own skates and helmets!
The speed skating oval at Brewer Park may be an exciting venue to try especially for more experienced skaters (speed skates aren’t required!) Ice time is available in January and February depending on the weather.