Embracing winter: Best places to skate in Canada, Part 2

We’re Canadian.

Skating is tightly woven into our social fabric and a part of who we are. Childhood reflections often include memories of that tentative first step onto a frozen lake or pond, and seeing your own breath in the morning chill of a stunning winter landscape.

It’s a love affair as unconditional as it is timeless.

In Canada, we own the ice and as Valentine’s Day approaches, we are celebrating our love of skating by unveiling the best locations across our beautiful country to go for a glide.

We want you to share your skating memories with us. It could be a public rink right in the heart of a booming metropolis, or a little strip of paradise tucked away deep in nature that no one outside of your family has ever seen. Share a few words and a photo on Skate Canada’s Facebook or Twitter pages, and tell us where you love to skate.

Listed in no particular order, here is the first of a four-part series on where to get your skate on. Be sure to check back each day through Friday, and don’t forget to share your memories with us:

Nestled on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River in downtown Saskatoon, the outdoor rink at Cameco Meewasin was voted best in Canada in 2007. The price is right. Not only is the skating free, but you can borrow a pair of skates at no charge. There is a warm-up area and cozy fire pit to ward off frostbite. Beware though, they shut the place down when the weather reaches minus-31 C. Hey, its Canada…that’s t-shirt weather.

Not a rink by definition, but Parc Lafontaine features splendid frozen paths winding through a postcard landscape. You’ll have to dish out a couple of bucks if you want rent skates or a locker, but the skating won’t cost you a dime. Looking for a game of shinny? Grab your stick and jump on one of the adjoining outdoor hockey rinks. After you burn off those calories, you can pack them right back on: Montreal’s best poutine is just a block away.

Honourable Mention: Beaver Lake, Bonsecours Basin

Winnipeg has a wide range of outdoor skating options, with close to 10 kilometres of skating on the Assiniboine and Red Rivers. It may take you a few days to thaw out when winter is at its most unforgiving, but The Forks – a must-see for those visiting Winnipeg any time of year – offers several rinks and skating trails to help shake the winter blahs.

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