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. Obviously, we all need to stay home as much as we can. However, if you’re going to go outside for some physical activity, (mask on!), here are some places to safely partake in outdoor skating.
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 does 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 you live outside of the region listed (in Quebec, or Ontario) and want to visit across the border, please note there may be restrictions in place.
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!
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 but the opening depends on weather and restrictions.
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 indoor spaces are for washrooms only. This is a bring-your-own-skates rink, as there are no rentals available. Reservations required during peak times.
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. Reservations required during peak times.
Public Skating at Rideau Hall, home of the Governor-General, is currently closed but we are watching to see if it reopens!
Skating Through the Forest
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 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. 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 and they have specific rules in place during the pandemic.
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 7 am until 11 pm, weather permitting. Reservations are required during busy times.
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!