Montreal’s best outdoor ice rinks

by Élyse Gamache-Bélisle

So it's winter? So what! In Montreal, that means it’s time to lace up the skates and hit an outdoor ice rink. There are countless rinks all over Montreal, but these locations stand out as great places for a skate or some hockey on a winter day.

Montreal’s best outdoor ice rinks

The Frozen Pond in Jarry Park

The Villerois (residents of the Villeray neighbourhood) are very proud of their pond in summer, and they show a similar affection in winter, putting on their skates as soon as the ice is thick enough. Being the generous, open and festive people that they are, the Villerois invite anyone with the inclination to join them in this natural setting, enhanced with lights and music.

Hockey players of all skill levels can head to the sports rinks at the other end of the park, where they can play to their heart’s content without having to dodge the young kids and couples skating on the pond.

Bistro l’Enchanteur, waiting to warm you up with a hot drink or one of their hearty breakfasts, served up until 2pm on weekdays and until 4pm on the weekend. However, if you’re looking to mix business with pleasure, you can always head to the Jean-Talon Market, decked out in its winter best, to do your shopping.

Bleu Blanc Rouge Refrigerated Ice Rink in Verdun

In 2011, the Montreal Canadiens’ Children’s Foundation very generously donated a refrigerated outdoor rink for Verdun’s youth to have a place to skate. The cutting-edge refrigeration system means the rink can be used even when things turn a bit milder towards the end of winter. And as Canadians rarely do things by half, the rink is regulation size for a real hockey match... just in case!

Parents, don’t be jealous. While your youngsters wear themselves out on the rink, you can eat comfort food in the New Verdun restaurant, a neighbourhood institution for over 50 years. And how about a little reading while you’re at it? Head down Wellington to independent bookshop Librairie de Verdun, where novels aplenty await you.

Maisonneuve Park Rink

Set in the heart of the Rosemont-Petite-Patrie neighbourhood, in Maisonneuve Park, this rink has incredible views of the Olympic Stadium and seems to have been spared from the noise of the city.

If you’re looking to do an Elvis Stojko, go for it; there’s room for everyone on this gigantic ice rink!

If your better half is more into cross-country skis than ice skates, it’s also possible for you both to do your thing separately before meeting up at the park’s cabin to warm your feet and hearts!

Before you go home, stop by the Place Simon Valois at the corner of Ontario and Valois to stock up on some of the most delicious treats money can buy.

Refrigerated Ice Rink at the Olympic Stadium

This refrigerated skating rink on the Olympic Park’s Esplanade Financière Sun Life is a great spot for skating. What makes it special is the area around the rink.

There’s a winter village feel to it, with outdoor fireplaces, music, lights and animation, as well as a large decorated and lit up fir tree that dominates the skyline alongside another giant, the Olympic Stadium.

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Tempted by all of these neighbourhood rinks, but unsure which one will fit your budget? The good news is that they're all completely free, so you can save your money for a visit to the neighbourhood shops and restaurants after your skate!

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