Been out skating yet this winter? Colder weather always gets us excited to strap on skates and make the most of the great skating conditions in Kawarthas Northumberland. Many of the options below will be open through to March if the weather holds, and with a mixture of rinks, trails, and speed skating loops on offer, there’s something here for everyone who’s eager to spend some time on the ice. Of course we haven’t left out suggestions for warm-you-up-from-the-inside-out comfort food. All that skating is sure to work up a hunger!
Be sure to check the websites for ice conditions and COVID safety protocols; some rinks may require pre-booked time slots.
The Peterborough Lift Lock is a marvel of engineering – officially opened in 1904, it is the highest hydraulic lift lock in the world and one of the first ever built in North America. It’s also a pretty incredible place to skate. A generous stretch of the Trent-Severn Waterway below the lift lock is cleared each winter for skating, and regularly flooded to ensure optimal conditions. It’s a smooth, scenic, and all-round unique experience. Check out the video here for proof.
The proximity to Peterborough’s wealth of dining options and thriving downtown culture make the lift lock an excellent choice if you’re coming from a distance. The Ashburnham Ale House serves great food and local pints within walking distance, and nearby Enticing Cakes (one of over 50 destinations on the Butter Tart Tour) will appeal to anyone with a sweet tooth. Across the Hunter St. Bridge, the Cafe District opens up a further array of choices. Just head to 220 Hunter Street East when you’re ready to strap on skates. Be aware there’s no rental outlet nearby, so make arrangements beforehand and be sure to check ice conditions before you set out. The City of Peterborough posts status updates here.
Cobourg’s Rotary Harbourfront Outdoor Skating Rink (35 Albert St) is a great option for a leisurely skate. It’s particularly cozy during the holiday season, when the whole area comes alive with lights and decorations, but remains picturesque all winter long. It’s open December-March from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., weather permitting.
You’ll need to rent or borrow equipment in advance as there’s no kiosk rinkside, but Cobourg has plenty of excellent options for an après-skate tour. We thoroughly enjoyed our last trip to The Mill Restaurant & Pub, and the convivial atmosphere of the Cat and Fiddle Pub is only a couple of blocks away. Millstone Bread is basically rink-side if you’re looking for quick access to a warm butter tart or some delicious fresh bread from their wood-fired oven. If you’re bundled up, it’s worth admiring the striking natural ice formations on the shores of Lake Ontario at Cobourg Beach too.
Lakefield’s Ontario Speed Skating Oval is an impressive 400 metres long—its total area comes in at two and half times bigger than an NHL hockey rink. Better yet, it’s free and open to the public most days from three until dark. You can bring your own skates of any style, but if you’ve never had a taste of specialized speed skating, speed skates are available for rent for $5.
Check the Oval’s schedule for special events like candlelight skates. As this is an outdoor rink, the Ontario Speed Skating Oval recommends checking their Facebook page for conditions updates before setting out.
Lakefield is a very picturesque town to wander through after your skate. You can enjoy unique shops such as Trinkets and Treasures, Stuff or the Cozy Home, and then cozy up with a warm drink and pastry at the Nutty Bean or a romantic meal at Cassis Bistro.
Newly opened in 2020, Kawartha Lakes largest redevelopment and most innovative park boasts an outdoor refrigerated skating loop. It’s the first of its kind in Kawartha Lakes. The redevelopment of Logie Park followed a Canadian theme and the skating loop fits right in—what’s more Canadian than lacing up a pair and gliding around in the crisp winter air?
The Logie Park Skating Loop is 133 linear feet by 91 linear feet, and features a natural stone seating area for skaters to sit and take a rest during skating. It’s open to the public, free to use, and maintained throughout the season with a rink resurfacing machine. There isn’t a kiosk or skate rental facility so you will need to bring your own or borrow.
Logie Park is conveniently located on the edge of Scugog River in Lindsay just minutes from downtown where you will find plenty of comfort food dining establishments clustered around Kent St. For some hearty Italian dishes Pane Vino is a great option with an extensive wine menu to warm you up. There’s also classic comfort food from Queen’s Bistro, pub fare from the Pie Eyed Monk, or warm soup and sandwiches from Milk & Honey Eatery.
If you’re looking to stay active during a weekend getaway, several resorts in the region offer skating just outside their backdoor. Elmhirst’s Resort on Rice Lake, for instance, clears an outdoor rink for their visitors. On the south side of Rice Lake, Golden Beach also offers a great place to lace up and skate. Further north, Pine Vista Resort has an open-air rink on Stoney Lake for skating or pickup hockey. The best part about skating at a cottage country resort is warming up fireside with a drink in hand afterwards. All these resorts offer beautiful dining options with locally sourced ingredients and stunning views of the winter landscape.
Enjoy a local bakery with a community rink. These bakeries will provide you with sweet treats and drinks to warm you up after skating.
1. Corner Bites Eatery Lindsay or Boiling Over’s Coffee Vault combined with Victoria Park outdoor rink at 210 Kent Street West Lindsay
2. Bobcaygeon Bakery combined with Tom Anderson Park 94 Dunn Street Bobcaygeon
3. Lakefield Bakery on Queen combined with the Lakefield Speed skating oval.
4. Buckhorn Sports Pad combined with Country Mart & Bakery in Buckhorn
5. Port Hope outdoor rink at 32 Caroline Street combined with Dreamers Cafe
6. Hastings Outdoors Ice Rink at 15 Front St West combined with Bridgewater Coffee and Pizza.
To plan more Butter Tart Tour stops this winter check out https://buttertarttour.ca/