Ice skating is a right of passage for many Canadians. This year, because of Omicron, many of the region’s arenas and indoor skating venues are shuttered. Outdoor venues, however, are open and accessible and as long as you observe the health and safety measures that are posted, you should be able to enjoy some fresh air and good exercise across York Region. Please contact the venue you wish to use before setting out to ensure it’s open for your skating pleasure.
By Bryen Dunn
It’s that time of year again when we pull out the winter wear, and gear up for a season of cool fun. There’s no shortage of skating opportunities here in York Region, whether you’re looking for a solo workout, or a fun family outing. There are a variety of options available, depending on location and schedules, from shinny and sledge hockey, to figure skating and trails. There are limited rentals and sharpening services available at some of the larger locations.
Most outdoor locations offer free skating. As well, pre-booking a time slot may be required, as are masks, and vaccine passports – keep them handy, just in case. If you’re a novice, there are lessons available at some locations, and if you’re looking to join others, there are various outdoor clubs around the region. Choose a location below, check online for times and availability, then get out and enjoy the winter!
There are four outdoor rinks, with Ada Johnson Park (two rinks), Confederation Park, and Machell Park offering both hockey and skating, while Town Park (two rinks) offers skating only. All are lit and open daily.
There are two outdoor rinks, one in Holland Landing at Ridge View Park, and the other in Mount Albert at the Mount Albert Community Centre. Check out the local hockey and skating clubs if you would like to take lessons or improve your skills.
The Pefferlaw Ice Pad is a full-sized outdoor rink, complete with hockey boards and a roof. The ROC is a multi-use campus with an outdoor rink, and offering various other outdoor activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, and tubing.
Outdoor skating are available at three locations within the township, including Trisan Centre in Schomberg, King City Lions Arena, and Dr. William Laceby Nobleton Community Centre & Arena. There’s also a unique experience to skate outdoors on the pond at Cold Creek Conservation in Nobleton.
Markham has several outdoor locations. By far the most popular is the outdoor rink at the Civic Centre. Markham also allows residents to build their own outdoor community rink by applying for a permit. The city currently has eight volunteer-run community rinks in Cornell, Markham Village, Thornhill and Unionville. As well, residents will be able to enjoy outdoor skating this season at five new unrefridgerated ice rinks, located at Huntington Park, Victoria Square Park, Milliken Mills Park, Markham Museum, and Milne Dam Park.
The refrigerated ice rink at Riverwalk Commons is located outside the Newmarket Community Centre & Lions Hall, and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., with pickup hockey permitted 10 p.m. to midnight.
The 250-metre Richmond Green Skate Trail takes you through a treed loop. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and is lit up at night. You can also skate at natural ice at Mill Pond and Lake Wilcox, and there’s an outdoor rink at Crosby Park. Click here for more information on outdoor rinks.
WHITCHURCH – STOUFFVILLE
If you live in this area and like outdoor rinks, you’re in luck, as you can choose from any of these locations – Greenwood Park, Gar Lehman Park, Madori Park, Sunnyridge Park, Wheler’s Mill Park, Vandorf Park.
The city operates five outdoor skating facilities, located at Chancellor Community Centre, Dufferin Clark Community Centre, Father Ermanno Bulfon Community Centre, Garnet A. Williams Community Centre, and Vellore Village Community Centre.
Main photo: The Newmarket Ice Lounge is a great place to chill with your friends and family this winter.
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on adventure, ecotourism, lifestyle, entertainment, and hospitality. He contributes to several industry and consumer publications, and also has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews.