March 3, 2016
By Afton Aikens & Olivia Grecu
Travel Alberta / Gerard Yunker
You don’t have to stay at the Fairmont to play at the Fairmont. Have a great day at the Chateau Lake Louise:
1. Start with the breakfast buffet at Poppy Brasserie, while you admire the morning light on the mountains through big windows.
2. Next, rent skates and glide into the ice castle with Victoria Glacier as your backdrop.
Feb. 4, 2016
By Afton Aikens & John Strugnell
Jasper National Park with its vast wilderness is a winter enthusiast’s paradise.
1. Explore by Snowshoe
Five Jasper trails are newly designated for snowshoeing and fat tire biking. “Snowshoeing is an affordable sport that allows trail users of all abilities to connect to the park,” says Joseph Zebrowski of Parks Canada. Find maps at the Information Centre; rental shops and tours are listed in our activities directory.
Photo: Craig Douce
By Breanna Temple & Niki Wilson
Feel a rush of fresh air as you whirl around these magical mountain outdoor ice rinks.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise: Skate into an ice castle on picturesque Lake Louise with Victoria Glacier as the backdrop. Partake in impromptu shinny action at the adjacent hockey area.
The Pond, Canmore: Tranquility only three blocks from Main St. Find a gazebo with heaters, lighting to 10 pm and lots of family events.
The Nathan Phillips Square skating rink is a popular spot for cold-weather revellers.
There may not be a lot to like about sub-zero temperatures, but one positive that Torontonians all agree on is that cold weather makes for some great outdoor skating. Long a favourite winter pastime for young and old alike, heading out for a spin around the ice is easy to do in this city, especially at two popular spots: Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel Rink offers lakeside views and special DJ skate nights, while at Nathan Phillips Square you can glide beside City Hall. Both rinks offer skate rentals so there’s no excuse not to hit the ice with the whole family. —Ana Taveira
>> Natrel Rink at Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4866; harbourfrontcentre.com, map and reviews
>> Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. W; toronto.ca, map and reviews
(photo: City of Toronto)
NOVEMBER 17 As winter weather arrives, there are few better ways to keep warm outdoors than by gathering with thousands of revelers to enjoy the Cavalcade of Lights. For the 45th year in a row, Toronto’s official kick-off to the holiday season decks City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen St. W.) with thousands of festive bulbs and a massive, beautifully decorated Christmas tree, and celebrates their inaugural illumination with musical performances and a fireworks display. The lights will remain aglow through the end of December, while public skating draws crowds so long as there’s a chill in the air. Free admission; dial 311 (within Toronto) or visit here for more information. —Ana Taveira
We round up the best spots to grab a bite with the added enjoyment of watching skaters on the Rideau Canal.
Skaters take a snack break at the BeaverTails counter.
Located on the Rideau Canal Skateway, you can skate up to the window, order one of these delicious Canadian treats, and grab a spot on a picnic bench without ever leaving the ice. Be honest: isn’t one of the main reasons you go skating here to have a BeaverTail and a hot chocolate after?
Several locations along the Rideau Canal. www.beavertailsinc.com
This Italian restaurant boasts one of the most scenic views of the canal and is located right near one of the entrances to the skateway, so after you’re done your meal it’s easy to lace up your skates and join in on the fun. Rather watch? Snag a seat by the big windows and curl up with a specialty coffee.
375 Queen Elizabeth Dr. (at Fifth Avenue), 613-238-8998. www.canalritz.com
Part of the Royal Oak Pubs chain, this unique two-storey location is situated near the Pretoria Bridge, which crosses over the canal. Order a pint, relax by the fire, and enjoy some colourful people watching. It’s also a top spot to head after you’ve traversed the ice and need to refuel.
221 Echo Dr., 613- 234-3700. www.royaloakpubs.com