There’s nothing like breathing the crisp winter air and watching the sun sparkle on the snow as you glide across the ice outdoors. Toss in a few friendly neighbours, a toasty beverage, kids having a blast, and you’ve got a real recipe for joy! This year, there are more places than ever to enjoy an outdoor skate in Niagara, so bundle up and get out there!
Walker’s Creek Park, St. Catharines
Nestled near the Southeast corner of the park, this cozy little rink has lights in the evening, a single hockey net for a little friendly practice, and a bench and hay bales to sit and lace up, or watch the action unfold. Best of all an adorable mural of cute skating yetis – with cutouts for your kids faces for a memorable pic! If you’re driving, park near the corner of Richelieu and Old Oxford Rd, turn left from the park entrance.
Catherine Street Park, St. Catharines
This rink is a project of the movers and shakers of Fitzgerald Neighbours, in the heart of this great downtown neighbourhood. Here you’ll find a quaint little rink fringed by tall pines, on the East side of Catherine St. Lots of parking at Russell Community Centre. Bring your own chair!
Partridge Park, St. Catharines
You’re asked to digitally sign in at https://oldglenridge.ca/ before skating at this rink in the playground at the corner of South Drive and Rockcliffe Road in Old Glenridge, next to the former Glen Ridge Public School. Helmets required for kids under 12, no team sports for now. Benches are available, and the proximity of the playground is a parental paradise to keep multiple kids entertained!
Port Dalhousie Lions Park, St. Catharines
On Main Street, between Verdun Ave and Scullers Way, lots of parking available in the Lions Club lot. The rink itself is on the tennis courts behind the Club.
Martindale Pond, St. Catharines
The original outdoor “rink!” If conditions are just right, natural ice can be like glass, and if you’re lucky you can catch a glimpse of local flora and fauna frolicking below the ice, or frozen right into it. Park on Port Master Rd, take a quick scoot through the wooded trail and come out to the pond feeling like you’re in Muskoka. For any wild ice adventure, here are a few safety tips: go in a group, check that the ice is at least four inches thick, watch for thin spots near the shore or where there are faster currents or bubbles/warmer water, and skate with a hockey stick.
Richardson Creek, St. Catharines
Another spectacular wild ice option that can be accessed in two ways, both at the starting point for the Green Ribbon Trail: from Martindale Rd (limited parking) or the South entrance on Old Martindale Road. When you get to the bridge, the fun can start in an area that’s already been shovelled (if you’re lucky!), or bring your own and create a custom rink. In ideal conditions you can follow the creek South, ebbing and flowing past the frozen reeds with the towering embankments on either side. Super cool!
Virgil Sports Park, Virgil (1565 Four Mile Creek Road)
A community outdoor ice rink, located on the baseball diamond at Virgil Sports Park. Open from 9am-9pm daily (weather permitting). Must wear a helmet, and no hockey allowed.
Pillar and Post, Niagara-on-the-Lake
A good-sized rink in their charming Gardens, with charming lighting, open to hotel guests and the general public from Monday to Saturday 11am-8pm and Sundays 11am-5pm. Check facebook for ice conditions and watch out for blackout dates and ice cleaning time of 30-60 minutes, often at 3pm.
I am not familiar with all the other rinks in the community, but Chippawa Park Pond in Welland very well could be the crown jewel of all the outdoor rinks in Niagara, featuring the biggest maintained outdoor rink on this list, in a picturesque park setting.
Then here is a list we compiled of the rest of the rinks we are aware of throughout the region. Did we miss any? Please let us know! And Happy Skating! ⛸️