This year — perhaps for the first time ever — I’m hoping for a winter of steady below-freezing temperatures. Because we want to skate. A lot!
And we’re not the only ones. Ice skates of all sizes are being snapped up in stores, and parents are searching online trading sites and used-goods pages hoping to outfit their toddlers and new skaters.
From city rinks and ovals, to neighbourhood-tended ice trails, Montreal’s outdoor skating spaces may prove to be one of this winter’s most sought-after destinations.
Outdoor sports facilities help families enjoy winter activities
Mayor Valérie Plante announced the City of Montreal’s winter recreation plan at a November 26 press conference, saying the opening of outdoor sports facilities were designed to help combat the “collective fatigue” due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, and to encourage the population to “enjoy the outside during winter and breathe a little.”
The city counts more than 200 skating rinks and ice rings in its 19 boroughs, as well as the refrigerated rink beside Beaver Lake in Mount-Royal park and a refrigerated rink at Jean-Drapeau Park on Île Ste. Hélène. At the time of publishing, an Old Port representative said the picturesque Bonsecours Basin skating rink will not open this winter.
COVID-19 safety measures in place
According to Linda Boutin, public relations officer for the City of Montreal, free skating is authorized while the city remains in a red zone. Hockey will be permitted with up to eight players and one coach.
Each ice surface will accommodate a maximum of 25 people, with the exception of the refrigerated skating rink in Mount-Royal Park where the capacity is 50 people. Skaters must also respect a physical distance of two metres between people or family bubbles.
The situation could change depending on where you live, as management of the sports facilities is the responsibility of the boroughs, which must adapt their activities according to current health measures. “Depending on the borough, reservations may be necessary to practice free skating,” she said.
Finding a rink close to home
Find your local rink by accessing your borough’s page on the montreal.ca website. Each borough is listed at the bottom of the main page.
And to avoid disappointed kids, make sure to check rink conditions through montreal.ca (use search word “rinks”). You can also call your borough by dialing 311.
Montreal’s 15 demerged cities may have their own reservation system or regulations that differ from the City of Montreal. Check out each of their websites for rink locations, and follow social media for the most up-to-date information.
Now all we have to do is wait for the temperature to drop, do some light stretching to warm up those tired muscles, and hit the ice.
For tips on creating your own backyard rink, click here.