Ponds, rivers, tracks and forests... If it freezes, we'll skate it.
The 10 options below are all either run by the city, by community centres or attractions, or by loving members of the local community, because here in Winnipeg we're all about making nice with ice.
Lace 'em up (or rent them onsite) and get ready to glide!
The Forks | Trails and Rink
Winnipeg’s most popular tourist destination, The Forks is home to an often record-setting river trail that starts at the heart of the city and has run as far as 10km outward.
This year, the Nestaweya River Trail presented by The Winnipeg Foundation will feature six new Warming Huts (in addition to all of the previous huts), that were chosen from 122 entries from 33 countries. You can pass and interact with these whacky and wonderful huts as you make your way down either the Red or Assiniboine Rivers, while throughout the trail there are multiple entry/exit points too should you be looking to start your skating journey somewhere else along the rivers. The trail grows and decreases with the weather, so it's always good to check the conditions in the above link.
On land at The Forks, you also can't help but notice all the beauty that is Arctic Glacier Park. Here, you can skate under a canopy of lights strung from the trees while crossing points of interest like the Rail bridge. You can also head east from the Forks Market to play hockey beside the WINNIPEG sign. Skate rentals are available within The Forks Market through Iceland Skate Rentals, which also provides skate-sharpening services.
Assiniboine Park | Riley Family Duck Pond
Located in the middle of Assiniboine Park, this large duck pond is the perfect place to glide smoothly across the ice during the day or in the evening under the stars. Surrounded by twinkling light displays, there are also plenty of benches and picnic tables to rest at between laps while the backdrops of the Qualico Family Centre and The Pavilion are great for the Gram.
New for winter 2023 is the indoor home of Cargo Bar, which is located within the skating shelter right beside the pond. This means you can now après skates with a glass of wine, or a local beer or cocktail, while Cargo is also offering s'more kits that can be put to use in one of the many surrounding fire pits. What a scene!
St. Vital Park | Duck Pond
This impressive duck pond boasts two islands that you can skate around, making for one majestic scene to perform figure-eights around. Once you’ve done your fair share of laps, grab your sled and head over to the icy "Manitoboggan”–an international award-winning structure that features two toboggan slides, an accessibility ramp and a treetop lookout!
La Barriere Park | River Trail
Just a few minutes south of Winnipeg, La Barriere Park offers an outdoor explorer’s paradise along the banks of the La Salle River. When conditions permit, a large volunteer-made skating trail surrounds the foot-bridge. After your skate, strap on a pair of skis and hit the trails, or try your hand at winter disc golf on the 18-hole course within the park.
Kildonan Park | Duck Pond
At night, this super sweet duck pond is illuminated by three of the coolest lights you'll ever see which shine down a rainbow's worth of colours onto the ice. They are called Bokeh, and they were created by local artist Takashi Iwasaki in concert with The Nadia Group. The pond itself is serviced by (and located next to) the Peguis Pavilion, which houses Prairie's Edge restaurant where you can get breakfast, lunch (that smashed burger!), dinner and drinks (did someone say après-skate Aperol Spritz?) Wednesday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (it just reopened for winter on January 11). This being Kildonan Park, you'll also find so many things to do outside of skating, like a toboggan slide and an impressive cross-country ski trail.
If you're a serious speed skater (or looking to get into the sport) head to the Susan Auch Speed Skating Oval outside the Cindy Klassen Recreation Complex. Along with numerous hours that are offered for leisurely public skating, those with a need for speed can enjoy the daily time slots allocated for speed skaters only to practice their skills on this 440 metre / 1/4 mile outdoor oval. Please read the full list of rules and protocols before visiting!
Located within Kilcona Park, this manicured skating rink is surrounded by plenty of walking pathways, a picturesque frozen lake and cross-country ski trails. It's like the dictionary definition of a winter oasis, plus Harbour View Golf Course is there for you should you need skate rentals. At the moment, the rink is not yet open, so stay tuned (by using the above link) to see when it opens this winter.
Bunn's Creek Centennial Park | Rink
Bunn’s Creek Centennial Park is a hidden gem located in North Kildonan offering a large, well-lit rectangular rink, a slick toboggan slide, abundant wildlife and numerous walking paths. It’s the perfect place to skate while the sun sets.
Roblin Park Community Centre | Trail and Rinks
This Charleswood community has it all, including three outdoor skating rinks as well as a large skating loop (Zamboni groomed!) that encircles the whole grounds. Plus, you'll find two ice slides onsite! Charleswood, always up to some good! (as the saying goes).
Wolseley Winter Wonderland | River Trail
This community-run-and-maintained trail on the Assiniboine River is a can't-miss unofficial tourism experience, as it's such a wonderful showcase of how creative Winnipeggers are come winter. It runs from Omand's Creek to the Maryland Bridge, with multiple entry points throughout Wolseley via Palmerston and Wolseley Avenues on the north side of the river, along pathways off Wellington Crescent (namely a trail in between houses on city-owned land around the end of Waverley Street) and through Sir John Franklin Park. The Winter Wonderland consists of a number of hockey rinks, curling rinks, and simply cool ice surfaces replete with all manner of art, firepits and fun seating, all of which are interconnected via narrow skating pathways that are shovelled, flooded, and cared for by 40+ people in Wolseley (bless their hearts). While exploring, be sure to lend a hand (if needed) and do some shovelling (you'll find many onsite) to help maintain this cool, creative space.
Old Market Square | Rink
As you can see in the headline photo, this puppy is postcard ready. Located right in the heart of the Exchange—encircled by heritage buildings housing great bars, shops and restaurants—the Old Market Square Rink is THE place to see and be seen when it comes to skating (no one actually says that, but we're going to make it so). On weekdays, you'll find a number of skaters out on their respective lunch breaks, while come nightfall the rink's whimsical overhead lights will change in response to the sounds coming from the rink. Starting on January 21, this rink will also be surrounded by so many cool light displays as part of Lights on the Exchange – Allumez le Quartier, which you can learn more about in that provided link.
For a full list of the city's rinks and skating surfaces check out the City's Parks Website.