Things to do & Places to stay in Ontario

december 4, 2017

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Strap on your skates for a true Canadian experience

When people talk about Canada, they talk about hockey and “eh” and Tim Hortons and being polite and a whole bunch of other things. While most of them are actually pretty accurate, not EVERYONE plays hockey! However, you will be hard pressed to find an Ontarian who has never skated. It seems to be one of those things that kids growing up in Canada do…especially since many of Ontario’s city rinks offer lessons for as little as $50 a term (8+ classes) and offer FREE Public Skating and free Shinny Hockey at many outdoor rinks. (see Toronto details here). There are some skating experiences that are standouts though – check out 6 that are worth a visit. Check status of each – because they are outdoor, they are weather dependent.

McGregor Point Ice Trail (SW ONT)

article1_dec42017.jpgMacGregor Point is an all-season park on the coast of Lake Huron, just south of Port Elgin. In winter, weather permitting, you can skate through the woods on a spectacular 400-metre outdoor skating Oval. For a really magical experience, wait til dark cuz they turn on trail lights for skating under the stars until 10:00 pm every day of the week.

Toronto Rinks: Nathan Phillips Square and Ontario Place

article2_dec42017.jpgIf you come to Toronto, you should make time to visit one of Toronto’s famous downtown ice rinks. Come to Nathan Phillips Square with its unique downtown backdrop and the CN Tower in the background. They offer skate rentals from 10am-10pm every day including Dec 25; New year’s eve til 9pm. Accessible by street car and subway, it is easy to get to and so much fun! Take a pic at the new(ish) Toronto sign too! Or visit the new Ontario Place synthetic ice rink which will open in December. Ontario Place has reopened the Cinesphere too so there are lots of reasons to include Ontario Place in your plans again!

Rideau Canal Skateway (Ottawa)

article3_dec42017.jpgDid you know that the Rideau Canal skateway is the world’s largest skating rink? If you want to have a memorable skate, this would be high on the list of places to go! The Skateway winds 7.8 km through the heart of Ottawa, from downtown to Dows Lake. The skating season runs from January until late February and the Rideau is home to lots of extra fun during the famous Winterlude festival. Feel like a night time skate? The public is allowed to access open sections of the Skateway 24 hours a day, but keep in mind that skateway maintenance is done overnight so keep an eye out. 

Chinguacousy Park Skate Trail and Gage Park Skate Trail (Brampton)

article4_dec42017.jpgIf you are lucky enough to live in or near Brampton, you have a choice of 2 cool trails. Chinguacousy Park​ is a new trail, designed in a ‘canal’ shape with natural bends and more than 2000 sq. meters of ice surface. It can accommodate up to 500 skaters and also has seating along the trail so you can watch the colourful skaters go by. Gage Park’s trail lets you skate through the trees of this gorgeous park and it’s free! It even has a DJ spinning tunes on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday Afternoons. Fire pit and food too!

Muskoka Skating Trails

article5_dec42017.jpgHuntsville’s Arrowhead Provincial Park Ice Trail has gotten a lot of attention in the past few years, and it should! It is a gorgeous 1.3 km Ice Skating trail that winds through the Muskoka forest and was recently named one of 19 Stunning Natural Ice Skating Rinks Around the World by Travel+Leisure magazine. It fills up though, so if you can’t get in, try Port Carling’s Hanna Park Ice Skating Trail, a free of charge, 200m trail with a packed walking trail right beside it so parents or grandparents can keep a close eye on little ones. Or Cranberry Ice Trail, a 1.2 km loop around 12 acres of cranberries that is a refined experience with wine tastings, hot mulled cider & wine, and wine and cheese platters – perfect for a date!

 
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Discovery Harbour Skate Trail (Penetang)

article6_dec42017.jpgDiscovery Harbour was originally built to safeguard access to Upper Canada after the War of 1812 and to supply British Posts to the northwest. Now, in addition to this military site which you can visit to learn about its history, you can also skate on its 1.5 km Skate Trail. Enjoy live outdoor entertainment, fireworks, ice-sculptures, face-painting and meet costumed children’s look-a-like characters. A great outing for the whole family!

Featured Events

NIagara Winter Festival of Lights

Until January 31, 2018
Niagara Falls

featuredevent1_dec42017.jpgCatch the incredible display of light and colour in Niagara Falls. You’ll feel the holiday magic as you watch the spectacular Sound & Light show over the Falls. Take the time to stroll/drive the 5 kilometre Niagara Parkway known as the Winter Wonderland because of its 3,000,000 sparkling tree lights and 120 animated displays. Sure to be an “ahhhhhh” experience for everyone.

Burlington Festival of Lights

Dec 1, 2017 – Jan 8, 2018
Spencer Smith Park, Burlington

featuredevent2_dec42017.jpgBurlington’s longest running festival lights up the waterfront over the holiday season with over 60 displays. Wander through the park to enjoy the displays or drive along the city’s waterfront. It’s a magical sight for the whole family.

DJ Skate Nights

Dec 16 – Feb 17
Saturdays 8-11pm FREE
At the Natrel Centre, Harbourfront, GTA

featuredevent3_dec42017.jpgWe’re lucky to live in a province that enjoys 4 seasons, so let’s get out and take advantage! DJ Skate Nights are pure fun for everyone! Music + skating + friends = party! Heated indoor change rooms and skate rentals available. Hot food & drinks at rink-side restaurant.

Featured skating rink: Evergreen Brick Works Skating Rink (toronto)

featured_dec42017.jpgThe Brick Works rink weaves around snow-covered gardens and evergreen trees. It’s a mix of outdoor and indoor, there are just beams of the old roof overhead but the walls of the old brick factory still exist so you are protected from the wind.  And in keeping with the sustainable design goals of the site, the rink has a special refrigeration system which cools the ice while reusing the excess heat to warm the Marketplace building next door.

 

ONLY IN ONTARIO

onlyinont_dec42017.jpgCJ’s Skatepark 
Did you know that the world’s 4th largest Not-For-Profit indoor skateboard park is located right here in Ontario? Its new 28,000 square foot facility tentatively opening Dec 15, is located in Mississauga and serves all kids in the community including at-risk youth and those with special needs. They offer lessons, camps, programs, birthdays and drop-in.  With a mission to make skateboarding accessible to everyone, it’s a place we’re proud to call our own and definitely worth a visit. visit.

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