Out on the Town, Student Life

Looking for an icy escape? Take to the rink!

Montreal winters, for all their downsides, do make the city a great place for skating. It may be negative 10 and cloudy, but that shouldn’t stop you from heading outside. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, there are plenty of options throughout the city that’ll offer you a great break from studying.

If skating in Old Port is your desired vibe, The Tribune recently created the perfect winter itinerary for spending a day in the historic district, including some time on the ice. For the rest of the city, keep reading for a list of skating rinks near campus.

McGill Lower Field Skating Rink

Distance from campus: Zero-minute walk 

Cost: Free entry, no skate rentals available

If you’re hoping to fit in a quick skate on the way to your 8:30 a.m. class, look no further than the lower field skating rink. Conveniently located on the west field, this not-so-hidden gem offers beautiful views of downtown and campus. As an added bonus, using McGill’s services always makes the cost of tuition (at least the pre-Legault rates) feel more worthwhile.

McGill McConnell Arena

Distance from campus: Five-minute walk

Cost: $3 for members, $5 for non-members, no skate rental available 

If you’re craving a nice warm-up before you get on the ice, an uphill walk on University Street is sure to scratch that itch. Skating at the arena requires booking your slot in advance through their website, which might ruin your dream of spontaneously skating when your heart desires. But at least it guarantees a nice amount of open space.

Beaver Lake

Distance from campus: 30-minute walk, 30-minute bus ride

Cost: Free entry, skate rentals available for $12.75

If the thought of walking to the McConnell Arena wasn’t too enticing, walking up to Beaver Lake probably isn’t your vibe. Luckily, the 11, 165, 166, and 465 bus lines can take you there. Though the real Beaver Lake has been closed for years due to concerns about ice quality, the adjacent refrigerated rink is a beautiful substitute, with its lights and music providing a great ambiance. But, be careful, it can get quite busy on weekends.

Esplanade Tranquille

Distance from campus: 15-minute walk, five-minute metro ride

Cost: Free entry, rentals available for $13.05

The newest entrant to the list sits at the heart of Quartier-des-Spectacles, with a lovely panoramic view of the area. This refrigerated rink is sometimes a victim of its own success as long lines can form on the weekends, especially for rentals. When your legs get tired, head inside to the lounge, sit by the fireplace, and take out a book or borrow a board game.

Atrium 1000

Distance from campus: 15-minute walk

Cost: $10 entry, rentals available for $9

Located on the main floor of one of Quebec’s tallest buildings, this indoor rink offers an option for those days when spending time outside isn’t too appealing. The large skylight means you don’t feel too removed from the outdoors though, making it ideal for those who get caught off-guard by walking outside to the early sunsets of Montreal winters.

Montreal’s outdoor rinks

Distance from campus: Varies

Cost: Free entry, rentals available at some rinks

As a city home to a long winter, Montreal has an established network of outdoor rinks across the island, including Jeanne-Mance Park and Cabot Square. Most rinks are not refrigerated, making them very dependent on the weather conditions. Luckily, Montreal’s city portal does track the quality of ice rinks so you can better prepare. The portal is only available in French so remember, “anneau” refers to ice rings and “avec bandes” refers to rinks with boards, which are typically good for playing hockey. 

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