Ice skating outdoors in fresh winter air is one of the most popular Canadian past times. But believe it or not, ice skating did not start in Canada.
Ice Skating is believed to have actually started in Scandinavia more than 2000 years ago, and not for fun, but as a means of transportation. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia the word ‘skate’ likely comes from the German word ‘shake’ meaning shank. The first skate ‘blades’ were not made of metal, but of animal shank bone. The history of skates in Canada can be traced back to the French in the 1600’s and even the Iroquois before that.
From the Canadian Encyclopedia article:
“In Canada, according to legends, the Iroquois used to skate, tying animal shinbones to their footwear with leather thongs; and in Acadia, French explorers were skating as early as 1604. Skating as a sport was introduced into Canada by British garrison officers in the 1840s, and quickly gained a strong following. It was thought especially appropriate for girls and women, and thus became an important social pastime”.
ONTARIO’S TOP SKATE TRAILS FOR ALL LEVELS
Today you can find ice surfaces all over from commercial setups to backyard DIY’s. People love to skate and play hockey, do figure skating, race or just plain hold hands and glide. Skating is definitely a beloved activity for people of all ages.
From the more modern days of shinny on the pond to the newest craze of skating trails, Canadians, and more specifically those in Ontario, have always been on the quest for the best ice to drop their skates on.
In Ontario there is no shortage of outdoor places to lace up your skates, from frozen lakes, ponds and trails. Many municipalities also have indoor ice surfaces and public skate times if the outdoor weather is truly not cooperative.
UNIQUE & COOL SKATING LOCATIONS THAT ARE OUTSIDE
What is most exciting is that these surfaces are so neat – you can skate on historic sites, through parks, on mountain tops and the most unique – on a cranberry bog! Do not forget to bring your camera. These are memories in the making and the scenery is perfect for social media friendly snaps! That being said, remember to be safe and aware of yourself and other skaters. Don’t get in the way of other skaters, it could get dangerous.
Here are some favourite spots to carve and glide in Ontario.
Blue Mountain Village Woodview Mountaintop Skating
Sharpen your skates and cruise on our 1.1km ice skating loop while enjoying extraordinary views along the Niagara Escarpment. Ice skate rentals are available and all skill levels are welcome. Extraordinary views of the escarpment!
Is there anything more Canadian than gliding across an outdoor rink? Whether you are going for a skate with the family, or watching the kids play a pick-up game of pond hockey well after the sun sets, outdoor rinks are a right of passage for Canadians of all ages. There are a number of outdoor rinks across Muskoka that are available for public use, and are maintained throughout the winter (weather dependent).
What could be more exhilarating than taking the family out into the cool, crisp air, slapping on a pair of skates and gliding the day away on one of our well-maintained municipal rinks. Our skating season is generally from December through to March (weather inclement).
Ottawa Rideau Canal Skateway
A highlight of winter in Ottawa is the Rideau Canal Skateway. With a length of 7.8 kilometres, the Rideau Canal Skateway is also the world’s largest skating rink. Come and enjoy this scenic skating rink which begins in the heart of downtown and extends to Dows Lake. In between, warm up at rest areas, where there are toasty fires, hot drinks and tasty snacks.
Toronto Harbourfront Centre Rink
Nestled along the beautiful shoreline of Lake Ontario, Harbourfront Centre’s rink is one of Toronto most scenic spaces. Its stunning and unique location is for visitors and tourists alike to enjoy our upcoming skating programs.
SKATING TRAILS IN ONTARIO
Skating trails are growing in popularity and for good reason. Who doesn’t want to skate hand in hand with their loved ones? Or play a pickup game of shinny with friends. Check out these fun Ontario skating trails, they might be near you or a little bit of a drive.
Muskoka has rapidly become the hub of skating trails in Ontario, offering several places to experience a twist to one of Canada’s most iconic winter experiences.
Deerhurst Resort An onsite waterfront skating trail! Lace up and hit their 250-metre trail this winter.
The Cranberry Ice Trail, Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery
Skate a 1.2 km loop around 12 acres of cranberries! This narrow designed skating trail really creates an intimate feel, perfect for hand holding with your special someone, or locking arms with your girlfriends.
Ice skating trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park, Muskoka
The 1.3 km Ice Skating trail winds through the thick Muskoka forest and is a winter experience like no other.
Memorial Park Winter Village, Bracebridge Muskoka
An ice skating rink that wraps around the park and carves in and out of Bracebridge landmarks, the Winter Village brings its own exciting take on a skating trail.
Lake Muskoka Ice Trail, Gravenhurst Muskoka
Muskoka Wharf Marine has cleared a huge trail on Muskoka Bay in Gravenhurst down at the Muskoka Wharf. The Marina is charging a flat fee of $5 per person (kids 7 and under are free), and the trail is open from 9am to 4:30pm for skating. There are no rentals on site, so bring your own skates.
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