Outdoor skating is a Canadian tradition during the winter with some even building rinks in their own backyard.
If you don’t have the space and resources to build your own rink, you may be looking to find a spot in the city as the next best thing.
Thankfully, with outdoor recreation still allowed, Hamilton has a number of spots for skating outdoors this winter while continuing observe strict COVID-19 safety protocols including wearing your mask at all times on and off the ice, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others, not gathering with those outside your household, and staying home if you feel unwell.
With that in mind, here’s a list of some of the best spots for outdoor skating the city.
The shallow bay of Cootes Paradise often freezes over offering a classic outdoor skating experience on a frozen patch of the water around Hamilton. Royal Botanical Gardens often provides updates to the condition of the ice and if it’s safe to skate on. Trees line the piece of water making it an incredibly natural experience right in the middle of the city.
Somewhere that provides roller skating in the summer also has ice skating in the winter. The water front rink is located close to Hamilton Harbour and is a hub for everything skating. There’s usually skate rentals, skate sharpening, and other amenities. Under COVID-19 restrictions, a maximum of 25 people are allowed to skate at one time. A schedule of times, which are available on a first come, first served basis, is listed here.
This hidden skate spot is tucked behind a quiet street in Dundas. A small path east of York Road from Sleepy Hollow Court leads you to a quiet and secluded lake that is surrounded by trees and offers a special outdoor wonderland. Check the Conservation Hamilton website to see when ice conditions allow for skating.
— Hamilton Spectator (@TheSpec) December 10, 2020
Pretty much a small Pier 8, Dundas Driving Park is typically a less busy rink that has many of the same amenities as the waterfront rink. A Zamboni keeps the ice clean and clear for an easy and smooth skate. With COVID-19 restrictions, you must book a time in advance through the city website.
Located in a parking lot at the corner of Barton St and Catharine St is the new Hanrahan Trail, which is both a public light trail as well as two outdoor ice rinks — one is a chiller rink (meaning it’s open regardless of the weather forecast) and the other is a natural surface, meaning that it must be cold enough to maintain.
Skate rentals are available for $5 a pair and guests are invited to skate in 45-minute intervals for $6 each, in order to keep a safely limited capacity at all times.
A group of volunteers from the surrounding neighbourhood recently built a sizeable skating rink in Hamilton’s Gage Park, providing another spot for locals to get some safe activity in.
Check out the City of Hamilton website for more information about outdoor skating in the city and the related COVID-19 protocols. Please use your own discretion and check ice conditions on a trusted website before going out onto natural lakes and ponds. These skating options may be affected by Ontario’s current COVID-19 state of emergency orders.