9 spots to break out the skates this winter

Posted January 15, 2021 | Author Jillian Recksiedler

All Manitobans know that The Forks is the place everyone goes to get their skate on. And for good reason! But for those needing more ice skating inspiration, here are 8 more spots to break out the skates this winter.

While enjoying outdoor winter activities in Manitoba, please remember to stay safe by keeping six feet of physical distance from others; gathering in group sizes in accordance to public health guidelines; avoiding crowds; and staying home if you're sick.

The Forks, Winnipeg

The Forks is the the most visited spot in Winnipeg for ice skating, by locals and out of towners alike. The Centennial River Trail is one of the longest and best-maintained skating trails in the country, we daresay the world (actually that’s a fact, not just my humble opinion). Not to mention, there are stops along the trail like the designer warming huts, where you can catch your breath, or snap that perfect selfie. The on-land skating trails and rinks of Arctic Glacier Winter Park that wind throughout the grounds are beautifully lit for nighttime skates, too.

But maybe you prefer somewhere a little more intimate to spread those proverbially novice skating wings? We’ve already given you the No. 1 spot for skating in Manitoba - here are nine more:

The Flats, Neepawa

Town of Neepawa

There's no shortage of outdoor community rinks in towns across rural Manitoba this winter, but we are particularly fond the outdoor spirit in the town of Neepawa. Their well-groomed rink located at The Flats at the bottom of the Brown Avenue hill is where you can spend a hour or two doing laps. When you tire, try your hand at a game of crokicurl - volunteers have built their own hexagon for visitors to play the outdoor curling-crokinole mash up sport that was invented in Winnipeg and spreading across the prairies.

Victoria Park Skating Path, Souris

Kim de Koning/Discover Westman

The town of Souris in southwestern Manitoba has transformed their beloved Victoria Park into a skating wonderland. The icy path illuminated with holidays lights follows the road through the campground sites and park. Once you are done skating, be sure to save time to cross over the Souris Swinging Bridge and spot all the homemade hockey rinks made by residents along the Souris River.

Riding Mountain National Park

Intimate may not be the first thing that comes to mind in the grand expanse of Riding Mountain Provincial Park, but we promise that this is as good as rinks gets and the path to the rink is equally appealing. This outdoor rink is located behind the Visitor Centre in Wasagaming. Get ready for an enchanting little glide on a trail through the forests illuminated by twinkle lights.

Octopus Lake Skate Trail, Onanole

For the novice who likes a challenge, go no farther than Octopus Lake in Onanole in Clear Lake Country, In 2019, a few outdoor enthusiasts in 2019 decided to one-up the average rink with a skating maze, and the mind-blowing design on ice has returned. Look for signs to the skating path and walking trailheads around the lake located at the very end of Denoon Avenue East.

Skating Oval, Brandon

Brandon keeps finding ways to ensure you get out and enjoy winter, and one of the best spots for doing that is at the skating oval located at the Parks Complex on McGregor Avenue. If you’ve been hibernating all winter long, a trip to this rink will change that mindset with the warmth of its fire pits and ambient music that the entire family can enjoy. The rink is well lit, including a Manitoba Hydro Waterfall of Lights display, which encourages skaters to stay to as late as 11 p.m.

Crescent Lake, Portage La Prairie

Portage la Prairie residents are proud of Crescent Lake and that pride extends into the winter season when the lake freezes over and the town comes out to enjoy their surroundings in a completely different way. The path length varies each year but the skating is still as good ever with maybe even a few hockey rinks and curling lanes added for extra fun.

City of Winnipeg duck ponds

Because The Forks is such a popular spot, Winnipeggers often forget about the duck ponds in city parks, but they’re definitely worth a visit! Here are two great ones to check out!

Assiniboine Park

Assiniboine Park’s Riley Family Duck Pond is the perfect family skating spot. And when a break is needed, did you know you can wear your skates right up to the Park Café take-out window to grab a hot chocolate, coffee or a snack daily?! How great is that. The cafe is open from 10:00 - 4:00 daily.

St. Vital Park

Open to the public 12 hours each day, St. Vital Park’s Duck Pond is set within the 46 hectares of the park. Benches galore surround the pond, so finding a place to tie up your skates at a safe distance is easy. Hit the ice and do a figure eight around the two islands in the pond.

Jillian Recksiedler, Travel Manitoba

About The Author

Hi, I'm Jillian, a marketer, communicator, traveller and Manitoba flag waver. Growing up rurally during the '80s means I have a penchant for daytrips, maps (the paper kind), and prairie sunsets. I never tire of exploring and sharing stories about my home.

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