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Best Outdoor Staking Rinks in Kingston

ice rink, outdoor rink, Kingston, OntarioHappy New Year! Not only is it hard to believe that it’s 2011, it’s ridiculous when you come to terms with the fact that it’s January. Take a look outside, and if your neck of the urbanized woods is anything like mine, you’ll be hard pressed to find a single, glorious snowflake. Rewind to this time last year, and you would be hard pressed to find a patch of grass.  This past New Year’s Eve and Day were unseasonably high in the Limestone City, with temperatures soaring to as much as 10 degrees. This had a detrimental effect on almost all leisurely activities, as tobogganing, cross country skiing as well as outdoor rinks were nearly impossible to enjoy locally.  In fact, on New Year’s Eve the City announced that all of the outdoor rinks had to be shut down, save for the miracle pond at Market Square, which is chilled with a mix of unicorn blood and dragon’s tears.  This got me thinking about what makes the perfect skating pond, and accordingly this week’s poll asks:

Which outdoor community skating rink do you prefer?

  • Market Square (39%, 50 Votes)
  • Victoria Park (24%, 31 Votes)
  • City Park (17%, 21 Votes)
  • Skeleton Park (9%, 12 Votes)
  • Woodbine Park (9%, 12 Votes)
  • Polson Park (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 127

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There are a lot of factors that make the perfect community rink.  Market Square is great for a lot of folks as it has indoor change rooms with washrooms, regular Zamboni cleaning, and it is within close proximity to many restaurants, coffee shops and pubs, all of which are perfect for getting warm after a leisurely skate.  That said, as hockey is strictly forbidden on the Square, perhaps you prefer one of the other outdoor ponds, where the crowds are smaller, or because they’re… dun, dun, dun… unsupervised.  While mother nature may not be cooperating with rink attendants, I’m hopeful that we’ve got plenty of staking weather in the not too distant future.


Check out the City of Kingston’s website for more information on which rinks are open, and where they’re located.  Does Kingston need more or less of these spaces?  While you’re chewing on that question, I’d also appreciate it if you could jot down your thoughts about what makes the perfect outdoor rink.    Special thanks to the Jimmer for today’s photo.

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Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

6 thoughts on “Best Outdoor Staking Rinks in Kingston

  • January 3, 2011 at 5:29 pm
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    Good topic. I voted with the majority on Market Square, but that's probably more to do with exposure. The lighting, music and surroundings is nice, but it's hard to beat the feeling of skating through the trees at Victoria Park.

  • January 3, 2011 at 11:54 pm
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    You had to jinx the lack of snow. :)

    Snowing tonight, slippery roads while I was coming to work. And people filing out of the KRC after the Sarah MacLachlan concert didn't help since I don't think they looked at the forecast. Right now on Weather Network 10 cm in the next 24 hours.

    And I've never used the rinks so other people can vote on that. No interest for me.

  • January 4, 2011 at 11:45 am
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    even though i should give Skeleton Park some neighbourhood love, and i've had some wicked fun times at the Market Squre rink, my vote's with Victoria Park–it's a deceptively big skating space and so gorgeous. One of my best Ktown memories is of skating there last New Year's Eve and helping shovel snow off the ice as we went–totally magical.

    • January 5, 2011 at 10:13 am
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      I equally as torn between Skeleton Park, Market Square and Vic Park. Skelly is great for those late night skates, but it's pretty small in comparison to all the rest. Market Square is nice, again thanks to the vast indoor change/washrooms, and proximity to the Toucan and Duke, my other favourite warming stations. And again, Vic Park has it's charms, as we used to frequent it back in ye olde undergrad days when we were avoiding studies by playing hockey. It has to be the largest rink in Kingston, no?

  • January 4, 2011 at 12:45 pm
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    I'm not a huge fan of skating but I do like to go a couple of times a year. Partly for nostalgia and partly because Harvey loves it and I like to go with him. I like going downtown because there's the promise of a pint afterward. I've never skated in a park in Kingston but it sounds very appealing. I remember playing hockey on a pond with my brother when I was about 11 (anyone who knows me knows that this is extremely out of character for both me and my bro, but mom and dad made him take me). Even though I'm not a hockey fan, there was something really magical about skating in the dark on a pond with the snow falling. The rink at city hall has a nice atmosphere too though. So I'll sit firmly on the fence here and say that I'm open to either one, just promise me a pint when we're done.

  • January 9, 2011 at 11:59 pm
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    Someone should link to that short story about Skeleton Park from a few years back. I believe it was in The Walrus?

    Gave me the heebie-jeebies, and so I’ve never been.

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