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

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 page, 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:

Emera Oval

Emera Oval – Photo courtesy of Novascotia.com

OK, so we may be a little biased having visited Halifax in January for the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships, but the Emera Skating Oval is one of Halifax’s newest, and most popular, landmarks. Spanning the size of three NHL rinks, the Oval claims it is the “largest outdoor artificially refrigerated ice surface east of Quebec City.”

It takes an hour, and 1,700 litres of water, to resurface the ice. In busy times, the Oval can hold up to 1,500 skaters and we are betting they’re all really, really nice. You know, it’s a Maritime thing!

Want to score some serious brownie points with the significant other? Hitting the top of Grouse Mountain for a skate should keep you in the good books. Once you get off the tram at the top of the mountain, an 8,000 square-foot patch of winter bliss awaits. Nothing like a leisurely skate 4,000 feet above one of the world’s most picturesque cities.

Greater Vancouver Area Honourable Mention: Robson Square, Vancouver

Some really smart dude designed the Freezeway for his landscape architecture Masters thesis. If things go according to plan, the skating trail will eventually be lengthened to 3.5 kilometres, but a 400-metre pilot version opened just before Christmas. Designer Matt Gibbs was inspired by a former city councillor who once quipped the city should flood the streets so Edmontonians could skate to work.

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