Embracing winter: Best places to skate in Canada, Part 4

For the first time since 2001, it is now legal to skate on the pond in Toronto’s High Park. There are red flags, however – and we mean that literally. City workers test the ice daily. If it deemed unsafe, a red flag is planted. Officials say the ice is safe to skate on only five or ten days during a cold winter.

OK, so you can’t exactly get here by streetcar, but the Whiteway is right up there with Banff and Grouse Mountain when it comes to skating with a view. And it’s got some length – at 29.8 kilometres around the lake, Guinness recently declared the Whiteway is the longest naturally-frozen skating trail in the world. A path six metres wide is cleared for skaters, and if you’re in shape – or Clara Hughes – you can do the trek in a couple of hours.

Located in the Ontario Muskokas, this used to be cottage country’s best-kept skating secret. Not anymore. Thousands turn out annually to glide majestically through a 1.3 kilometre maze of trees and natural beauty that has been dubbed a “fairy-tale ice trail.

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