Beyond the Pond – Neighbourhood & backyard ice rinks

backyard ice rinks

Skating is one of the greatest winter activities. If you know how to skate it would seem almost a romantic pursuit for some and involves fierce competition for others: gliding hand in hand with someone around the rink, getting hot chocolate after while chatting with rosy cheeks or shouldering an opponent aside to get at the puck.

Both Oakville and Burlington have several indoor rinks to use all year and recently have increased the number of neighbourhood rinks available. That means there’s more ice surface to go around and an even greater opportunity to connect with your immediate community.


Thanks to neighbourhood groups who submitted applications to the city of Burlington to look after rinks in their local park, the following 16 parks will have ice during this season: Brant Hills, Champlain, Central, Emerson, Fairchild, Glen Afton, Ireland, LaSalle, Nelson, Optimist, Orchard, Palladium, Sinclair, Skyway, Sheraton, and Tansley Woods.

Weather permitting, the Parks and Open Space department at the Town of Oakville will be offering outdoor rinks at these locations: Clearview Park, Langtry Park, Nottinghill Park, Falgarwood Park, Glenashton Park, Bloomfield Park, Sixteen Hollow Park, Millbank Park, and Bronte Heritage Waterfront Park.

Zeroing in even further on local rinks is having a custom rink built or do-it-yourself right in your backyard. Custom Ice in Burlington sells kits for homeowners to set up and operate the backyard rink of their dreams. How about a portable refrigerated ice rink system with useable ice up to 50°F or less? That’s an ice surface you can enjoy for up to five months. Portable rinks are rolled out in the fall and in the spring are rolled back and stored in the off-season.

HockeyShot in Oakville offers Backyard Skating Rink Kits in various sizes. Their top seller is a 20′ by 40′ Rink-In-A-Box. Keep the professional experience up by adding accessories such as an Ice Resurfacer to your repertoire.

Once everyone’s done more than their share of times around the ice, call everyone over to your outdoor hot chocolate station for a hot cup of cocoa, marshmallows, candy canes and other fixings (maybe a little Baileys or Kahlua for the adults) and a few snacks, plus a few places to sit and relax after an enjoyable workout outdoors.

If you’ve but if you’d rather build one from scratch, consider these tips for a DIY rink at home:

Friday Night Lights

Extend the opportunity to get outdoors for a skate into the night. If you’ve got good porch/backyard lighting that’s a good start. Consider attaching some lights to posts around the rink for extra ambience. They’ll also come in handy if you have to resurface the ice when it’s early morning before the kids head out.

One Word: Zamboni

Ok so you can’t fit the real thing on your ice surface – nor do you need it, but you will need to be able to maintain the ice. First, shovel, use a snow thrower or broom, and then flood the ice with several layers of warm or hot water. Make sure the water flows out evenly for each layer.

Snow, Shovel

Keep the rink clean, clear and ready for use at all times by shoveling after each snowfall. Leaving the snow on the ice for too long could damage the surface you’ve worked so hard on.

Local Links:
Hockey Shot, Oakville

Custom Ice Rinks, Burlington

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