Ontario is filled with so many incredible winter experiences — especially for those who love skating. Growing up in Toronto, I’ve always loved exploring the different skating trails and rinks in and around the city. From road tripping to a provincial park and skating through a torchlit forest at night to a staycation skating experience right in the heart of the city, Ontario has a plethora of unique and fun skating opportunities. After skating my way through the city and beyond, I’ve rounded up my favourites.
Stay & skate at Bisha Chalet
Exploring local and leveraging staycations has been my saving grace over the past couple of pandemic years. As someone who loves to travel, taking the time to explore Toronto as a tourist has been exhilarating.
Bisha Toronto, a hotel located in the heart of the city, launched Bisha Chalet, a Stay & Skate experience. Strapping on my skates in Bisha’s cosy winter chalet — a suite converted into an après-skate-style room with blankets, hot chocolate and pastries — the excitement to get on its ice rink was building. Located on the fourth floor terrace, the rink is adorned with bright string lights that look simply magical.
Gliding under the twinkling lights and the Toronto sky was a rush in and of itself — but defrosting afterwards in the beautiful chalet with delicious goodies elevated the experience all the more.
After my skating session, getting to relax in my room and take a hot bubble bath in the tub made the whole experience a staycation for the books.
Cosy up by the fire after skating the Cranberry Marsh Ice Trail
They had me at “hot cran-apple cider.” I love winter flavours and fresh hot cran-apple cider with a dash of cinnamon is my choice winter beverage. Add in an outdoor firepit for defrosting the fingers and toes after a long skate around the Cranberry Marsh Ice Trail, that’s a day adventure I wasn’t going to miss.
With forest on one side and cranberry beds on the other, skating Muskoka Lakes Farm and Winery’s ice trail is definitely a one-of-a-kind skating experience in Ontario.
Night skate at Arrowhead Ice Skating Trail
Canada’s provincial parks in the winter are stunning, especially after a fresh snowfall. Fire & Ice Nights at Arrowhead Provincial Park, open until Feb. 26, enhances the beauty of the great outdoors by lighting the ice trail with hundreds of torches when the sun goes down. From gliding through the Muskoka Forest and taking in the snow covered trees glistening from the amber glow of the torches to looking up and seeing a night sky filled with stars, this experience made me feel as though I was in a fairy-tale winter wonderland.
Make it a full day adventure at Evergreen Brick Works
The Evergreen Brick Works offers so many fun opportunities to get outside and explore the more rustic, outdoorsy side of Toronto. The skating rink weaves through the old brick factory, under the exposed beams and through the winter gardens. With a refrigeration system for cooling, the outdoor rink offers a sustainable skating experience. On Saturdays, peruse the Evergreen Brick Works’ farmers market before or after skating. To cap off your winter adventure, grab a coffee from Cafe Belong and walk around the different snowy trails.