The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

City of rinks: Reviewing Saskatoon’s outdoor skating venues

By in Sports & Health
A skater smiles while sitting on the Rink in the Bowl after its grand opening on the University of Saskatchewan campus in Saskatoon on Jan. 8, 2018.

Skating is a great way to exercise, relieve stress, fight those winter blues and have some fun. Saskatoon has plenty of free skating, but with over 50 outdoor rinks in the city to choose from, where should you lace up?

Armed with my favourite pair of skates and over 16 years of skating experience, I headed out to check out four outdoor rinks either close to or on the university campus. I gave each rink a rating out of five skate emojis based on each rinks’ own merits. 

In fourth place is the quintessential outdoor rink at Sutherland School. Most communities in Saskatoon have a rink similar to this one, typically situated beside a school, so students should be able to find a similar rink in the neighbourhood they live in.

It’s the only rink I visited that allowed hockey to be played and had nets available for use. That being said, the ice is rather rough, and you must have your own skates. This rink is ideal if you want to shoot a puck around or have a casual game of hockey with your friends, but it wasn’t very exciting to me.

My overall rating: ⛸️⛸️⛸️

In third place is our university’s own Rink in the Bowl, created by the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union. This rink’s greatest feature is its location. It’s conveniently located in the middle of the main part of campus, surrounded by beautiful architecture.

Skates can be rented for free at the PAC with a student card, but it’s recommended that you bring your own. Free hot chocolate is also offered on Wednesday afternoons from 1 to 4 p.m., provided by U of S Culinary Services. Unfortunately for hockey players, hockey is not allowed.

My overall rating: ⛸️⛸️⛸️⛸️

In second place is the Cameco Meewasin Skating Rink at Nutrien Plaza, located right beside the famous Bessborough hotel and the river, making it very scenic. This rink is easily the most popular rink in the city and for good reason. It’s located just across the river from the university, making it just a short drive or bus ride away.

The rink is close to the downtown area, making it easy to grab some food or a nice hot beverage to warm up after skating. Skating there is free and open to the public every day from noon until 9 p.m. Skates can be rented during public skating hours for a donation. The rink also boasts a nice warm-up lodge adjacent to the ice surface where skaters can warm up beside a wood-burning stove.

However, this is a busy ice surface, making for rougher ice, and there is no hockey allowed. Despite these small pitfalls, this rink is an iconic part of the Saskatoon experience.

My overall rating:⛸️⛸️⛸️⛸️

My top rink is a little-known gem just north of the main campus in Garden Park at Innovation Place, near Boffins Public House. It’s easily within walking distance of the main part of campus and has free parking nearby if you’re not in the mood for a chilly walk.

The small pond is transformed into the most adorable, picturesque rink in the city. There is a small fire pit near the pond, which can be used by the public for all your warm-up needs, making up for the lack of an indoor warm-up area.

The ice itself is very smooth for a pond, and I’ve found it to be regularly under-populated. I’d recommend going sometime during the week as the ice is not cleared on the weekends. This tiny rink is definitely worth checking out with friends, with a date or even by yourself.

My overall rating: ⛸️⛸️⛸️⛸️⛸️

I highly recommend spending time at any of the rinks in the city, not only those listed above, so check out the interactive map on Saskatoon.ca. Remember to dress warmly, tie your skates tightly and be careful — ice is slippery.

Tiana Kirstein

Photo: Heywood Yu

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