Considering we live in a city that sees average temperatures below freezing for at least five months of the year, and where we seem to be plagued with a mild case of make-the-best-of-it-ism, it’s no surprise that cruising across a frozen surface on metal blades is a beloved activity.
For many Winnipeggers, winter is skating season.
Through the City of Winnipeg, public skating is available at 13 arenas across the city. While each arena has just one or two time slots each week when they’re open to the public, citywide, there’s an option to skate in an arena every day of the week.
Outdoor skating options vary according to the weather and one’s own persistence.
For some determined Winnipeggers, winter offers the challenge not only to skate, but to build the rink to skate on. In January of 2017, Jeff and Leslie Scarcello built a 10-metre by 20-metre rink in North Kildonan that could comfortably fit 20 kids on its surface, according to CBC News.
For those who’d like to simply show up, there are other options available. The Forks has a small canopy rink and adds an overland ice trail system as well.
The Red River Mutual Trail’s length ebbs and flows year by year, depending on how the rivers freeze, but through the 2017-18 winter, it was 10 km (the longest it’s ever been) and open for 72 days, its longest season yet.
Frozen duck ponds in city parks such as Kildonan Park, Harbourview Recreation Complex and St. Vital Park add to the outdoor ice-play options. The City also operates what it calls “pleasure rinks,” which are often adjacent to community centres. Over 40 rinks are listed through the winnipeg.ca public works website.