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Ottawa Rideau Skating

Where to Go Outdoor Skating With the Kids in Ottawa


The cold winter days are upon us and even though the temperatures have dropped, parents across the city are looking for ways to spend time together as a family,

Since we live in Ottawa, it’s no surprise that skating is high on our list of to-dos. Even if bundling the kids up in winter gear can feel like a chore, it’s always worth it. There are outdoor rinks at many of our local parks (complete with lights and boards for impromptu hockey games) and of course you can find ice time during public skating at one of the city rinks indoors.

However, if the weather cooperates and your family loves to spend time outside, 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!

Rideau Canal

Photo credit: @hellovancity

As the world’s largest natural skating rink, no outdoor skating rink list in Ottawa would be complete without including the Rideau Canal. Skating is free, and there are places to rent skates if you don’t already own a pair. Heated huts will help warm up your family, and finding a BeaverTail pastry along the way is a must.

Lansdowne Skating Court

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 heated facility to change into your skates opens at 8 am. This is a bring-your-own-skates rink, as there are no rentals available.

Sens Rink of Dreams

In front of City Hall, the Sens Rink of Dreams is once again welcoming visitors for skating from 6 am until 11 pm (although the heated facility doesn’t open until 8 am, for you early birds). The rink is open when weather permits and parking is available in one of the nearby lots.

Canada 150 Rink

Photo: canada150rink.com

There may not be a more Canadian backdrop for the Canada 150 Rink. Situated in front of Parliament Hill, the rink will be open until February 25. Skating is free, however, you need a pass to participate (these can be found on their website). Passes are offered in 40 minute allotments. They are first come first serve and available up to 2 days in advance of the date you hope to go. This is sure to be a unique experience!

Rideau Hall

Public Skating at Rideau Hall, home of the Governor General, is open until March 25 (so you can bring the kids during the March Break if you want!) The Winter Pavillion offers a space to tie up your skates and leave your bags. The rink is open Monday-Friday from 1 pm until 8:30 pm and on the weekend from 5:30 pm until 8:30 pm.

Skate at a Museum

It may come as a surprise, but the next time you are packing the kids up for a visit to the popular Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, we think you’ll want to throw in skates and helmets for everyone too! They have an outdoor rink right in the middle of their farm that is welcoming families this winter. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 9 am until 4 pm, weather permitting.

Skating Through the Forest

Photo credit: patinageenforet.com 

Instead of a designated outdoor rink, how about your take the kids on an ice trail through the forest? 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 each one (ranging from about $8-$12) and skating is a available between 9 am and 8 pm daily.

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