There may not be frozen ponds in this corner of the country, but that shouldn't prevent you from indulging in one of Canada’s greatest winter pastimes. A number of local rinks have been decked with boughs of holly and all the snow and Christmas trees you’ll need to feel festive while you clumsily chase after your children. If you’re looking to hit the ice over the holidays, look no further. Here’s a guide to five Lower Mainland rinks offering a festive spin on an age-old winter activity.
Winterfest 2015 at Burnaby 8 Rinks
Until January 3, one of the rinks at this popular Burnaby facility (6501 Sprott Street) will be decorated with Christmas trees, lights, decorations, and a Charles Dickens-esque village. Admission rates vary depending on age—free for children under 3, $5.50 for children and seniors, and $6.50 for adults—while skate rentals are $4. Details and additional info can be found here.
Winter Wonderland Skate at South Delta Rec Centre
The annual Winter Wonderland Skate—complete with lights, trees, and snow (surprise)—at South Delta Rec Centre (1720 56 Street) continues this year until January 2, with a brief closure between December 24 and 26. The rink is open from 10 a.m. to noon, 1:30 to 5 p.m., and 6 to 8 p.m. most days with the exception of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Admission rates range from $3.75 to $6.50 depending on age, while skate rentals are $3. Find out more information here.
Free skating at the Robson Square Ice Rink and Plaza
If you can handle the lineup, this outdoor rink at the corner of Robson and Howe offers free skating when you bring your own skates. Otherwise, rentals are just $4, and include the cost of a helmet rental. The ice rink is open most nights from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays), with the exception of Christmas Day, when it will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Don’t worry if you can’t make it this month; the rink doesn’t close for the season until February 2016. Find more information about Robson Square here.
Winter Wonderland at Minoru Arena
Richmond’s Minoru Arena continues the annual tradition with its Winter Wonderland rink, decorated with thousands of lights, real snow banks, Christmas trees, and more. Admission rates depend on age and range from $3.40 to $5.30. Skate rentals are just $3 each. Most days, public skating sessions take place in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Check the schedule here for exact times.
The Peak of Vancouver on Grouse Mountain
If you’re looking for something a little more realistic, Grouse Mountain’s 8,000 square-foot outdoor rink will satisfy your desire for a yuletide experience. A children’s pass is $14.95, while adults are $43.95 a piece. Prices include the cost of the gondola ride up the hill. Save yourself some dough with a family pack (2 adults and 2 children) for $79.95. In addition to pond skating, check out Santa’s workshop and walk through the Christmas-inspired light installations of the Light Walk, new this year to the Peak of Vancouver. Skate rentals are $8 and helmet rentals are $2.50.