Outdoor Skating: a Canadian Tradition

We’re just a tad excited at Atlantica Hotel that Halifax’s newest outdoor activity in the heart of the city, the Emera skating oval, is right next door. Ever since HRM approved to build a permanent oval in place of where the Canada Games skating oval was, we’ve been looking forward to a more active winter lifestyle, and a busier neighbourhood this season.

And guess what? It’s all happening. Haligonians are taking the oval just like we knew they would!

Where Did Skating Come From?

Some would call outdoor skating a Canadian tradition. I wanted to see exactly where and how it all began…

It is said that skating on ponds and lakes began in Canada out of necessity. People needed to get places, and skating across frozen surfaces was quicker than walking around. That makes sense.

According Outdoors.ca, British military officers in the mid-1800s began ice skating because they were bored, but the sport took off, and in 1854 the first official skating race took place from Montreal to Quebec city, again, by British officers.

The Amateur Skating Association of Canada was formed by 1887, and the country never looked  back.

Skating on the Rideau Canal (source: Slaysh.com)

The biggest place to skate…

There seems to be an on-going battle in Canada as to who has the largest and longest outdoor skating. While the Rideau Canal in Ottawa is a very famous outdoor skating space, they were pushed out as the longest track by Sylvan Lake in Alberta, which is 10 kilometres long. The Canal is 7.8 kilometres and have decided their claim to fame is being the largest groomed outdoor skating surface.

Aside from those, there is some seriously beautiful outdoor skating in the Rockies. Jasper, Banff and Lake Louise all have outdoor skating areas. Grouse Mountain, on the West Coast, has an 8,000 square foot ice skating pond!

It’s easy!

Outdoor skating is one of the most accessible winter sports. All you need is warm clothes and a pair of skates; bought, rented or borrowed! And of course the kids need safety helmets. Both skates and helmets are free to rent at the Emera skating oval. For full information on services and skate times, visit their website.

Share your photos with us and win!

Look for our skating oval Facebook contest! Share your photo of skating fun (on the Emera oval) to be entered to win a $75.00 dining credit at Seasons by Atlantica. A great place to warm up after a long skate, or to get some energy beforehand.


About Laura Oakley - Social Media Team

Laura Oakley, Social Media, Marketing and Communications - I am excited and honoured to be representing my client Atlantica Hotels in the online space! www.lauraoakley.ca
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