20 Ontario Skate Trails You’ll Want to Lace Up For
Is there anything more classically Canadian than outdoor skating in winter? This nostalgic pastime is getting a modern makeover across Ontario with new and enhanced skate trails and rinks. Some skating spots have even dialed up the cool factor with tiki torches or festive lights at night. And who doesn’t love the accompanying treats, from hot chocolate or mulled wine to cheese plates and Beavertails.
We’ll start with Toronto and Ottawa, then keep going.
Toronto Skate Trails
Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto
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.
The Bentway, Toronto
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.
Barbara Ann Scott Ice Trail, Toronto
Channel your inner Olympian at this intimate 5 metre-wide oval rink at College Park, named after the 1948 gold medal winner.
Ottawa & Countryside Skate Trails
The Rideau Canal, Ottawa
2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the Rideau Canal, which at 7.8 km is the world’s largest outdoor groomed skateway. 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.
Calabogie Peaks Resort, Calabogie
Take a mini-break in beautiful Ottawa Valley and stay overnight at the Calabogie Peaks Resort, where you can experience pond skating set against the picturesque backdrop behind the resort or join a game of pick-up hockey.
RiverOak Skating Trail, Metcalfe
Lace up in the comfort of a spacious log cabin, then glide along the twists and turns of the 3 km frozen trail through apple orchards, forests and meadows. There’s even space to play hockey, so bring your sticks and puck. RiverOak Skating Trail is just half an hour from downtown Ottawa.
Other Ontario Skate Trails
MacGregor Point Provincial Park, Port Elgin
The Ice Trail at MacGregor Point, on the shores of Lake Huron, is a 400 metre loop. It’s gorgeous when it’s lit up at night for skating under the stars.
Discovery Harbour, Penetanguishene
This 2 km trail hugs Georgian Bay shoreline at the 19th century naval outpost in Penetanguishene Bay (open weekends only) and features historic storyboards along the way.
Ramsey Lake Skating Path, Sudbury
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 huge bonus.
Woodview Mountaintop at Blue Mountain, The Blue Mountains
Woodview promises spectacular views, tiki torches and 1.1 km of mountaintop trail to skate at Ontario’s most popular snow destination.
Fern Resort, Orillia
Skate the enchanting 1.5 km trail through forested countryside at Fern, an all-inclusive gem on Lake Couchiching. The best part: there`s a midway resting area with an open fire pit. Skating trail packages are also available to include a meal with a skating experience if you want to make this a day trip.
Harley Farms Skating Trail, Keene
Glide along 2 km of ice trail through farm woodlands and wave to the farm animals that you pass. It’s not all coasting, though. There are some challenging small hills to ascend, but nothing short of fun. Fun fact: this trail was designed by the same genius behind the Arrowhead skate trail.
Cranberry Skating Trail, Bala
Show off your spins and spirals on this 1.2 km loop around the 12 acre cranberry fields, followed by hot mulled wine and local cheese by an open fire. Stay longer on Saturday evenings to enjoy torchlight skating and admire over 400 tiki torches lit around the Ice Trail. Winter was made for this.
Ravine Vineyard Skating Rink, Niagara-On-The-Lake
Though technically not a trail, the rink at Ravine in St. David’s made this list due to this experience being exceptionally awesome. Skating among the vines of a vineyard is absolutely incredible. Open to guests during the winery’s operating hours, you can break for hot chocolate or mulled wine.
Perth Outfitters Skate Trail, Perth
Just an hour south of Ottawa, Perth Outfitter has a 400 metre looped skateway that meanders through the forest and along the Tay Canal. Snack on hot beverages and Timbits in the log cabin clubhouse and toast marshmallows on the campfire outside. Enjoy lantern light skating on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Arrowhead Provincial Park, Huntsville
The trendsetter. It’s no secret that the trail at Arrowhead is epic. It reaches maximum capacity on the weekends, so consider a mid-week jaunt to Huntsville and enjoy some après-skate at one of many resorts in the area.
Trent-Severn Canal, Peterborough
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.
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.
Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery, Niagara-On-The-Lake
Visit the Great One’s winery in Niagara-On-The-Lake and skate a few laps around the outdoor skating rink. Rentals are available, and check out featured events like Saturday DJ nights. Wind down at the heated patio with a glass of signature wine or whisky.
Springer Market Square, Kingston
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.
Always check the weather conditions before you go, as outdoor rink closures may occur due to poor weather.
Some things to do may not be available due to COVID-19.
Many tourism experiences require advance bookings or have restrictions in place due to COVID 19. It is important to check directly with the business operator before you travel. Get the most up-to-date information now.