Best Skating Rinks in Montreal
Love it or hate it, it’s that time of year again. Every breath brings frozen nose hairs, everyone accidentally becomes excellent at ice dancing, and the world becomes about shovelling, bundling up and praying to every god on call that your ole’ 95 Tercel will start in the subarctic temperatures plaguing your mornings. You would think that most people would spend their time generally trying to avoid the outdoors, but for some (more optimistic) folks, the cold brings with it an endless variety of activities to enjoy. Among these is ice skating; a veritable Canadian tradition (aside from punctuating sentences with “eh”). Whether you’re into hockey or practicing your triple axles, most Montrealers enjoy a good skate in the winter months, and we don’t mean the inadvertent ones graciously provided by our ice-glazed sidewalks. No, we mean the legitimate rinks, which the city happily has many of. If you’d like to partake in this most romantic and/or sporty of outdoorsy activities, check out these best skating rinks in Montreal and get ready to sharpen those blades!
A veritable winter wonderland between November and March, Parc Lafontaine in the heart of the Plateau has a meandering rink on its man-made lake which has been delighting skaters for years. Not only is it lit up at night, but it also features music played from its encompassing speakers. There’s also a lovely lakeside restaurant, complete with a cafe (hot chocolate anyone?) and brunches on weekends. The lower level of this same building functions as a changing and locker room for boots, and offers skate rentals and blade sharpening on site, so whether you’re equipped or not, Park Lafontaine’s got you covered. The main rink is for casual skaters, but the other side of the puck is that the park also has two separate enclosed rinks for hockey just a few minute’s walk away. This is definitely a must-do kind of experience, though be advised that weekends are typically (and understandably) packed.
Beaver Lake, also known as Lac des Castors, is located in the Cote-des-Neiges / Westmount area, and is a part of Montreal’s most famous namesake: Mount Royal. Offering beautiful sights and waterfowl habitat in the summer, Beaver Lake offers some of the best skating in the city by winter. Serviced by the Mount Royal Chalet which offers food and drink, Lac des Castors also has skate rentals and even sled and inner tube rentals should skating not prove to be your cup of tea. Indeed, Mount Royal offers a whole gamut of winter activities, from skating to sliding, to cross-country skiing and winter hiking. It’s a one stop-shop for seasonal fun in a lovely natural setting.
For a unique downtown skating experience, Montreal’s Old Port Skating rink is as iconic as the Rockefeller Centre in New York. It’s certainly a touristy destination, but that’s for good reason: it’s located in Montreal’s Iconic Old Port area, surrounded by historic buildings, breathtaking views of the downtown core, and a ton of local activities on the water. The best thing is that there are two rinks: the natural surface created by the pond (where you can rent peddle-boats in the summer) as well as an artificial rink complete with nightly music and lighting. The only real downside is that it isn’t free, but I certainly can’t think of a better way to spend 6,50$.
This gem of a rink is located in one of Montreal’s most famous parks in Rosemont, alongside the Olympic Stadium. Parc Maisonneuve offers the longest expanses of ice in the city, as well as skate rental services, all in the beautiful setting of iconic Maisonneuve Park. Families flock to this rink in winter time to enjoy its lovely views, holiday lighting and large surface, but can also switch to snow-shoeing or cross-country skiing on the very same grounds, should they tire of skating. Well-equipped to boot, the park also offers a chalet to warm up in, a changing area and snacks.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the best skating rinks in Montreal. While great with skates, Montreal also has a host of other winter activities which you should check out on the city’s activity portal, for schedules and fares.