Whether it’s enjoying a leisurely skate with your family or watching the kids play a game of hockey, outdoor rinks are a beloved winter activity hub for Canadians, young and old. With many of our usual winter traditions on pause this year, outdoor rinks offer a much-needed opportunity for physically-distanced exercise and nostalgic fun.
Numerous outdoor rinks in Northeastern Ontario are available for public use and are maintained throughout the winter. Make a plan to lace up your skates and experience the wintery magic of these wonderful outdoor rinks.
Bundle up and hit the ice at either of the two outdoor rinks in the township of Callander, located at the Bill Barber Arena (Callander Community Centre) and the South Shore Community Centre. Both rinks offer the chance to enjoy some time on the ice free of charge, with skate hours and shinny times scheduled each week. The Bill Barber Arena also features a concession stand where skaters can take a break and warm up with snacks and drinks. Keep in mind that the length of the skating season depends on the weather and the rinks also occasionally close during the season due to weather conditions. It’s best to check the Municipality of Callander Facebook page or their municipal website news alerts for up-to-date information on the rinks’ opening hours.
East Ferris’ rink can be found behind the Corbeil Park Hall in the Bill Vrebosch Children’s Park, surrounded by a picturesque landscape of snow-covered trees. The rink is generally open Monday, Tuesday, and Friday to Sunday for family skates and shinnies. Overhead lights illuminate the rink from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. for those who wish to skate under the stars. Hours may vary depending on weather conditions, so be sure to check the East Ferris Facebook page for the latest news or contact East Ferris recreation services.
Whether it’s for a quick circle around the ice after school or a relaxed weekend outing, the whole family will enjoy Bonfield’s covered outdoor rink, which is found just off of Highway 531. The rink received an upgrade in 2017 thanks to a grant from the Government of Canada’s Community Infrastructure Program. The funding facilitated the construction of a heated change room and a garage for storing a Zamboni, which regularly polishes the ice so you can glide along with ease. The rink is open seven days a week from 2 p.m. until 10 p.m. and offers public skating, scrimmage hockey games, as well as ice rentals. It’s best to call ahead to confirm activity hours by contacting 705-776-2659.
Sharpen your skates and head to Kapuskasing’s lovely outdoor skating rink, which is located on Murdock Hill, across from André Cary elementary school. Admission is free and families are invited to enjoy skating or hockey. A popular centre for outdoor winter fun, Murdock Hill is also a much-loved spot for tobogganing. The area is illuminated until 9:30 p.m for well-lit evening skating and sledding. Contact the city to confirm opening hours and rink conditions.
Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands
Put on your mittens, lace up your skates, and coast onto the ice at this peaceful outdoor rink in Nolan Sisson Community Park. This tree-lined rink is unsupervised and open between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. There are nets for hockey set up and the use of protective equipment is advised. Free hot chocolate is occasionally offered on special occasions. Check the Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands Facebook page for up-to-date information on rink hours and events.
Black River Township
Get in touch with your inner Sidney Crosby at any one of the three maintained outdoor rinks located in Black River Township. Found in Holtyre, Ramore, and Val Gagné, the rinks generally post their opening hours and schedule onsite, with ice time divided between hockey and recreational skating. The rinks are illuminated after 4 p.m. for evening skates and close at 9 p.m. Check the rink schedules and opening hours ahead of your visit by contacting the Recreation Department.
Strap on your skates and glide onto the ice at Fauquier’s spacious outdoor skating rink, which is located at 20 Doyon Street. Bring your own skates of any style to this rink, where families are welcome to enjoy public skating or hockey. The rink is open 7 days a week from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m Monday to Friday, as well as from 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Check out the city site for a list of holiday closures.