The Best Spots for Family Skating in Vancouver This Winter
It’s the quintessential winter activity: gliding across the ice on a pair of freshly sharpened skates, snow on the trees, sun shining. And in some parts of Canada, ice skating is plentiful all year long; some people even make impromptu mini rinks in their back yards. But here in the temperate Vancouver region, snow is infrequent, let alone ice, so skating in Vancouver on local ponds or fields is out of the question. Luckily, there’s quite a few options – including three outdoor rinks – to let you get out and enjoy.
Best Spots for Skating in Vancouver with Kids
This perennial favourite and annual tradition was on hiatus last year but has returned for 2021. Take a skate in the heart of downtown Vancouver at Robson Square’s outdoor rink. There’s skate rentals and lockers, as well as an indoor café and an outdoor patio. Skate rentals are $5. And after skating, take your time to wander downtown for some shopping, a meal, or just to enjoy the lights.
North Vancouver Shipyards
This is the largest outdoor skating rink the Lower Mainland. Located at the waterfront on The Shipyards in North Vancouver, the scenery can’t be beat: downtown Vancouver and the North Shore mountains. Daily skating, with skate rentals and free helmets. Those with their own skates can skate for free. Plaza closes daily for about 30 minutes for cleaning, sometime between 3 and 5:30 pm. Plenty of nearby cafes and shops to take a break, before or after skating.
Grouse Mountain Skate Pond
Make it a whole day of wintery fun with a trip to the top of Grouse Mountain for a variety of snowy activities, including skating on Grouse’s 8,000 square foot ice skating pond. It’s the only mountaintop skate pond in the region. Skating on the rink is complimentary with a mountain admission ticket or an annual locals pass and skate rentals are available for all ages. Check current conditions and hours before going, and book ahead.
Richmond Olympic Oval
Built for the 2010 Olympics, this ice has seen some legendary athletes – and now you and your family can enjoy it too. Book your slots at the Richmond Olympic Oval in advance for drop-in public skating. Helmets are required for kids 12 and under. No rentals of helmets or skates are available. Check the website to learn about registration, which must be done before arriving.
Canlan Sports Burnaby, North Shore, Langley
Canlan operates a number of ice facilities in the region, including the Scotia Barn (previously 8Rinks) in Burnaby, Canlan North Shore, and Langley Twin Rinks. From learn to skate lessons, hockey programs and family public skate drop-ins, there’s a variety of fun recreation opportunities at all three. Check the website for details and registration information.
The Rinks at Summit Centre Abbotsford
For those out in the Fraser Valley, check out The Rinks at Summit Centre for a host of great ice programs including public skating drop-in, learn to skate lessons, hockey skills programs and much more. This indoor facility features twin rinks and can be rented for private events.
There’s family public skating available here (under 3 are free to skate) at Sportsplex Langley along with 18-plus only and slots specifically for figure skating, along with parent and tot programs for a variety of recreation opportunities. The facility can be rented for birthday parties and private gatherings.
Skating in Vancouver at Local Community Centres
Don’t forget to check out your local municipality’s parks and recreation offerings. Most cities in the region have multiple ice rinks at local recreations facilities with a variety of drop in programs, amenities and options for local families.