The top places to skate in Ottawa are the Rideau Canal Skateway, the Rink of Dreams, Lansdowne Park, Sandy Hill Outdoor Rink, Ben Franklin Ottawa Skating Rink, Rideau Hall, Icelynd Skating Trails, RiverOak Estates, and Champlain Park.
|Rideau Canal Skateway
|Rink of Dreams
|Sandy Hill Outdoor Rink
|Ben Franklin Ottawa Skating Rink
|Icelynd Skating Trails
|$12 - $18
|$9 - $13.50
We’ll discuss all these places thoroughly, so by the end of this article, you’ll even know which of the ones we mentioned are the most unique and or the most budget-friendly.
Rideau Canal Skateway
The Rideau Canal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and every winter, it becomes the world’s largest skating rink with a total length of 7.8km.
A signature destination especially during winter, Rideau Canal is flocked by both locals and tourists, usually from January to early March, depending on weather conditions.
Because it’s a natural skating rink, experts have to carefully monitor and observe the ice to make sure it’s thick enough to safely accommodate visitors. This ensures that there is little to no chance of potential accidents due to the unstable ice.
Rideau Canal has no fees, so it’s a great place to visit whether you actually plan on skating or just want to check out the world’s largest skating rink. If you don’t have any skates of your own, there are also many skate rental shops around.
Heck, if you’re hungry or thirsty, there are also snack and drink kiosks along the entire length of the skateway.
Rink of Dreams
Located right in front of Ottawa City Hall is the Rink of Dreams, a city-run public rink that’s free of charge and offers skate rentals if you didn’t bring your own gear.
It offers amenities like a warming station, a BeaverTails kiosk, and skate-sharpening services.
Because of its accessible location and lack of fees, it makes for a great budget-friendly skating option. What’s more, it’s open daily from December up to mid-March around 7 AM up until 11 PM.
The warming station is open during the evenings and on weekends, whereas the skate rentals, skate-sharpening, and BeaverTails kiosks are available during weekends.
Make sure to drop by after sundown if you can to be able to enjoy the colorful lights that surround the rink while you skate.
Much like the Rink of Dreams, Lansdowne Park, which is south of Ottawa’s downtown core, is home to its own skating court during the winter season. It’s conveniently placed beside the historic Aberdeen Pavilion too.
Thankfully, it also has no fees, so you don’t have to worry about paying anything. But there are no skate rentals available, so you’d have to bring your own skates or rent from somewhere else before heading here.
On the bright side, it has conveniently placed washrooms and is open around December to mid-March from 8 AM to 11 PM.
Sandy Hill Outdoor Rink
Although the Sandy Hill Outdoor Rink isn’t refrigerated, it’s carefully maintained and is one of the quieter skating rinks you can find in Ottawa.
You’ll find a lot of students here due to its location and it’s actually one of the best options for beginner skaters.
Since it’s not as crowded as some of the bigger rinks, you’ll have better chances to meet new people here. Additionally, it has nearby street parking available, so you don’t have to worry about where to park your car if you plan on driving there.
The rink is located at the Sandy Hill Community Centre in Sandy Hill. It’s open from 6 AM to 9 PM from Monday to Friday and 12 PM to 5 PM from Saturday to Sunday. It’s also another free skating rink.
Ben Franklin Ottawa Skating Rink
Ben Franklin Ottawa Skating Rink is a refrigerated skating rink handled and maintained by the City of Ottawa, which is why it’s free of charge. It’s located at 101 Centrepoint Drive in Nepean and is open daily.
Because it’s located in the suburbs of Ottawa, it’s a lot easier to get a parking spot for your vehicle, especially when there’s on-site parking available.
It’s one of the best budget-friendly options, especially because it has charging stations and washrooms.
Rideau Hall Skateway offers skaters the chance to skate at a historic skating spot for no charge at all. It was originally built in 1872 and has long been a winter skating staple and tradition.
Located at 101 Princess Avenue in New Edinburgh, this rink is open daily (holidays may vary). If you prefer relaxing and quiet skating, it’s the best choice for you, because this rink is purely for leisure skating — pucks aren’t allowed here.
Sadly, skate rentals aren’t available in Rideau Hall Skateway, but you can leave your bags at a historic building on-site where you can even do your warm-ups.
There is also nearby street parking available here, so you can easily bring your vehicle.
Icelynd Skating Trails
If you’re also a fan of the great outdoors, then Icelynd Skating Trails is the best option for you because you get to have the unique experience of skating through a forest.
Located in the suburb of Stittsville, it’s open from Tuesday to Thursday from 3 PM – 8 PM, Friday to Saturday from 10 AM – 10 PM, and Sunday from 10 AM – 7 PM.
A pass costs $12 for children/senior citizens and $18 for adults.
The skating rink can be booked at an hourly rate, but you have to bring your own skates since it doesn’t offer any skate rentals.
To really enjoy a unique experience, drop by during nighttime to enjoy the skating trail through the forest while lined with a myriad of colorful lights.
RiverOak Estates Skating Trail is located in Metcalfe, Osgoode Ward, the rural south end of Ottawa.
What this skating trail brings to the table is the unique experience of skating through an apple orchard, which is especially beautiful at night time.
It’s a 3km trail, making it a long but satisfying trek through nature, especially if you do so at night as the artificial lights of the trail and the blanket of stars in the sky combine.
Because the trail is only partially lit, it’s recommended that you bring a headlamp.
When you’ve gotten past the start of the trail, you can turn off your headlamps to really see the beauty of the trail beneath the light of the stars. Once you’re done skating, you can take a break at one of its bonfires.
A single day here costs $9 for children and $13.50 for adults, but it also offers a 3-day and season pass.
It’s open from Wednesday to Thursday from 11 AM – 6 PM, Friday from 11 AM – 8 PM, Saturday from 9 AM – 8 PM, and Sunday from 9 AM – 5 PM.
Skate rentals aren’t available here, so you still have to bring your own skates.
Tucked beside Tunney’s Pasture along Keyworth Avenue, Champlain Park is a non-refrigerated skating rink that’s maintained by volunteers, which is why it’s free.
Its location makes it so you can park your own vehicle or get here by public transit.
Unlike other rinks, it has a set schedule depending on the activity, which you can view in the table below:
|Monday to Friday
|Weekends & Holidays
|12 PM - 2 PM
|8 AM - 12 PM
|2 PM - 4 PM
|12 PM - 4 PM
|4 PM - 7 PM
|4 PM - 7 PM
|7 PM - 10 PM
|7 PM - 10 PM
The Best Free Skating Rinks in Ottawa
The best free skating rinks in Ottawa are the Rideau Canal Skateway, the Rink of Dreams, and Lansdowne Park. These skating rinks aren’t just free of charge, but each one offers breathtaking views that make for a great backdrop for photos too!
The Most Unique Skating Rinks in Ottawa
The most unique skating rinks in Ottawa are Rideau Canal Skateway, Icelynd Skating Trails, RiverOak Estates, and Rideau Hall. These locations have forests, apple orchards, and even historical sites that make skating there memorable.
The Top Refrigerated Skating Rinks in Ottawa
The top refrigerated skating rinks in Ottawa are the Rink of Dreams, Lansdowne, and Ben Franklin Ottawa Skating Rink. Because these rinks are refrigerated, you can visit them any time throughout the year.
Unlike non-refrigerated skating rinks which rely on good weather conditions to get the ideal state of the ice, these rinks don’t have to depend on the current weather.