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!
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 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.
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.
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.
Photo credit: patinageenforet.com
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 each one (ranging from about $8-$12) and skating is available between 9 am and 8 pm daily. Or skate through a forest and fields when you go to Metcalfe to check out the River Oak Skating Trial. The trail is open every day except Monday and children under 5 years old are free. They also allow hockey sticks on the ice! Tickets are available or purchase in advance online.
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 11 am and 8 pm, weather permitting.