Though I review winter trails on this site for skiing and snowshoeing, there is another type of winter trail sport on the rise, one on ice skates. Ice Skating trails are springing up everywhere in the province.
In the spirit of promoting winter outdoor activities, I think it is worth mentioning to any of you also interested in strapping on some blades and doing a circuit.
I must say I always found going around and around in circles doing pleasure skating on a hockey rink rather boring. In fifteen minutes I am done!
Now take recreational skating and make an ice path, well I’ll follow that.
And I think most of you agree, cause this concept is taking off.
I first saw this on the east side of Toronto at Greenwood Park at my son’s birthday party a few years ago. Though not long, the new L-shaped skate loop kept it interesting. All the kids had fun zipping in and out between the rocks.
Then last year I was skiing up at Arrowhead P.P. (photos below) and there among all of us enjoying the winter outdoors were skaters. Not on the local lake, but skating in the woods between the trees on a long flooded path they had made in the campgrounds. I had to take notice because it was busy with skaters enjoying the novelty.
Then yesterday my curiosity led me with family down to the Toronto harbour to check out the new Bentway skate trail. Here by the new Fort York entrance we found a weaving, refrigerated track among the pillars holding up the Gardiner Expressway. A wonderful idea to use dead space and even give it a roof if it rains.
You can find at the Bentway, skate rental, warming shelters (with blankets), and the required hot chocolate.Yum :^) All well lit and with music, there is also an outdoor lounge with warm cider and spiked drinks. There may be food trucks, though note there are a few restaurants close by.
A quick search in the province for similar ice skating trails came up with the following list for you to consider. Most are refrigerated paths here in the south. With our fluctuating weather this make conditions more predictable and the season last longer.
As always, check open hours as I have seen rinks closed due to staffing and budgets way before the weather melted it all away.
Where to Find Ice Skating Trails
The Bentway – Bathurst and Lake Shore Blvd.
Greenwood Park – 150 Greenwood Ave.
Col. Sam Smith – 3145 Lake Shore W.
Dieppe Park – 455 Cosburn Ave. (small)
McCowan District Park – 150 McCowan Rd, Scarborough
Other skating in Toronto on oval hockey rinks, indoors, outdoors, ponds … location, hours
Skating Trails in other parts of Ontario
These locations may be open depending on conditions. Due to Covid, they could be closed this season. Check if a reservation has to be made.
Richmond Green – Richmond Hill
Spray Lake – Newmarket
Chinguacousy and Gage Park – Brampton
Valens Lake – north of Hamilton
Storybook Gardens – London
Island Lake – Orangeville
MacGregor Point – Port Elgin
Woodview – Collingwood
Discovery Harbour – Penetanguishene
Fern Resort – Orillia
Simcoe Museum – Barrie
Speed Skating Oval – Lakefield
Arrowhead – Huntsville (gets busy)
Hanna Park – Port Carling
Johnston Cranberry Marsh – near Bala
Memorial Park – Bracebridge
Trent Canal – Peterborough
Rideau Canal – Ottawa the famous big one
Riveroak – Ottawa
Laurentian Valley – Petawawa area
River Oak – Ottawa area
Moose Creek – north of Cornwall
Kivi Park – Sudbury
Ramsey Lake – Sudbury
Clergue Park – Sault Ste. Marie
I am sure there are others, please let me know…
And finally, why do we always skate counterclockwise; why that direction?