14 Family Friendly City Ice Skating Rinks and Trails
This quintessentially Canadian experience is perfect for kids of all ages as the joy of skating doesn’t get old, even as your family grows. Urban parks, ponds and canals are converted into scenic skate trails and rinks each winter, under the backdrop of snowy city skylines.
Check the weather conditions before you go and make sure the rink is open.
One of Toronto’s most photographed attractions, this downtown rink is located directly in front of city hall and beside the famous TORONTO sign. Rentals are available onsite, making it a great impromptu urban adventure.
Don’t miss skating the über-cool 250 metre skate trail that snakes underneath the downtown Gardner Expressway. Gather around the fire pit, relax on the comfy couches in the lounge area and enjoy snacks and drinks from the state-of-the-art bar just steps away.
Channel your inner Olympian at this intimate 5 metre-wide oval rink at College Park, named after the 1948 gold medal winner.
Evergreen Brick Works Skating Trail is created with kids and beginners in mind, with a built-in refrigeration system that’s designed to keep the ice fresh and the conditions just right for new skaters to find smooth sailing. The skating trial is shrouded from the wind by the nearby factory building, but you’ll still get plenty of fresh air thanks to the open roof above. Head to the nearby Evergreen Marketplace for warmth and snacks afterwards.
Perhaps the most iconic skating trail in the country, this natural skateway opens each winter when the Rideau Canal freezes. It stays open as long as the canal is frozen and stretches 7.8 km between downtown Ottawa and the Hartwells Locks, making it the longest outdoor groomed skateway in the world. Parking, rest areas and rentals make it a breeze. Like the city itself, you have to experience this firsthand to understand how cool it is. PS — be sure to sample the famous BeaverTail pastry.
Glide up to the front doors of Science North in Sudbury on this 1.5 km skating path. The heated change facilities at both ends of the path are a big bonus.
Look for the green flag at the Peterborough Lift Lock on the heritage Trent-Severn Waterway to announce the canal is open for skating. It’s the perfect family outing during the day and date night destination in the evening.
Right in downtown Brampton, the festive Gage Park Skating Trail lights up each night to welcome winter visitors. With holiday lights all around, a cozy firepit where you can warm up your hands, and music to dance to while you skate, it’s easy to see why spirits run high after an evening at Gage Park Skating Trail. If it sounds like that couldn’t get any better, it can – this Gage Park experience is free!
The iconic kid-friendly amusement park at Storybook Gardens opens each winter to welcome Canada’s tiniest skaters. Families flock to this winter skating trail, which is ultra wide to give even clumsy skaters room to wobble and just 250 metres long, so you don’t have to worry about small kids getting too tired. Rentals are free on a first-come, first-serve basis, so make sure to get there early!
Right along Sault Ste. Marie’s scenic waterfront, this beautiful skating trail gives you and your family incredible views of the lake. It’s located right in the popular Clergue Park and is known to welcome thousands of visitors each year. You can skate throughout the day or check out the trail at night for a family evening out.
Location: Sault Ste. Marie
The first skating trail in the city of Etobicoke, this figure eight loop is ideal for families with kids. With tons of wildlife and scenery to check out along the beautiful shoreline of Lake Ontario, kids of all ages will be enthralled as they skate along. And because it’s open during the day, the Colonel Samuel Smith Skating Trail is ideal for families, especially those with small children.
Don’t miss out on this Muskoka winter staple – the ice skating trail at Memorial Park Winter Village in the downtown area of historic Bracebridge is a favourite for kids. The skating trail wraps around a magical holiday-themed winter village where you can warm up with toasty beverages and tasty food after an evening of skating.
The free downtown skating is just one more reason to visit Kingston. Watch the Zamboni clean the ice before you hop back on the rink. Head across the street to the cozy Sipps Coffee and Dessert Bar for a hot beverage to warm you up.
This brand-new, free facility northeast of downtown Kenora at Rabbit Lake includes a pond hockey rink and a skating trail. Washrooms, a shack and bench shelters are available for visitors to use.
Last updated: November 4, 2021