Those who grew up outside North America can probably confirm that their knowledge of the beautiful country of Canada is sadly limited to a few well-known, yet not always factual, stereotypes. There’s no denying the rest of the world certainly has a skewed idea of just what it is that defines Canada.
For those who haven’t read ’10 facts about Canadians, you might you might want to brush up on your knowledge – as you may well be surprised. For example, despite the rest of the word believing that every single Canadian is a die-hard Celine Dion fan (if your 2000s ringtone wasn’t a polyphonic rendition of ‘My Heart Will Go On’, were you really a true Canadian?) there is also worldwide acknowledgement that the country’s true passion lies in their love of winter-sports; particularly their dedication to ice hockey.
There is no denying this stereotype is true. While babies aren’t yet born with inherited NHL tattoos, we imagine this development probably isn’t that far off. Googling ‘Canada’ brings up Canada’s official hockey page as the second result, giving a clear indication as to just how much they love their national sport. Whether you’re a player yourself, or enjoy watching the sport, it’s certainly one for everyone.
The epic gold medal win at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship attracted a record-breaking audience of 7.1 million Canadians. A massive number of fans are also expected to watch the National Men’s Hockey Team represent Canada in the Ice Hockey World Championship in May 2016, with odds of winning the gold medal at 2/1 according to the online sportsbook Betsafe.
The love of ice skating goes beyond mere hockey however. Many Canadians enjoy ice skating and the nation is dotted with some of the finest, most spectacular and unique ice rinks the world has to offer. Remember, many of Canada’s most famous ice hockey players likely first began skating at their local ice rinks! We’ve gathered together a few choice examples, the only thing left for you to do is decide where you want to skate first!
Old Port, Montreal
Sitting on the edge of the St. Lawrence river, Old Port’s Bonsecours Basin is a spectacle to behold.
Open from November to March, the rink comes with a beautiful backdrop – the dazzling buildings of central Montreal. For that added ‘wow’ factor, there is live music each evening, with a different theme every night: classical, urban contemporary, jazz and more. For those who aren’t there with the secret hope of being recruited by the Ottawa Senators or the Toronto Maple Leafs, the rink is the perfect romantic setting for a more laid back skating session.
The ice is lit up depending on the ‘mood’, and it’s hard not to get completely immersed in the rink’s delectable atmosphere, for skaters and observers alike.
The Natrel Rink, Toronto
Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel Rink is nestled cosily between the picture-perfect Lake Ontario, and some of Toronto’s most stunning buildings. It offers breath-taking views and – even better – free ice skating from November to mid-March time. Just a short walk from the TTC or Union Station, it’s easily accessible and definitely one of Canada’s less renowned, but equally stunning, gems.
Whistler Olympic Plaza Skating, Whistler
Whistler’s rinks are located in the heart of Whistler Village, with astounding views of the surrounding mountains. Adorned with thousands upon thousands of twinkling fairy lights, the rinks are straight out of a dream. The provision of both an indoor and outdoor rink means people can skate all year round, and not just during the normal winter months!
The Rideau Canal Skateway, Ottawa
Boasting a mammoth sheet of ice roughly 7.8km long, this Goliath-sized ice skating rink is located in Ottawa. The Rideau Canal Skateway has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the world’s largest naturally frozen rink. Amazingly, it is equivalent in size to 90 Olympic-sized rinks! For those unfamiliar with skating, you’ll have no choice but to be a pro if you want to make the trek from one end to the other; a true rite of passage for any aspiring ice-skater or hockey player.
Open from January to March, weather permitting, the giant rink is definitely one to check out!