Lace up your skates: Assiniboine Park duck pond skating now open for the season

The Assiniboine Park duck pond is officially open for the skating season.

Popular spot opened Wednesday; Forks rink opened last week

Skaters in Winnipeg can now hit the ice at the Assiniboine Park duck pond or the rink under the canopy at The Forks, both of which are open for the season. (Nikita Sursin/Shutterstock)

The Assiniboine Park duck pond is open for the skating season.

The park announced on Wednesday that the popular Winnipeg spot is officially open to the public for the winter.

The duck pond shelter beside the pond is also open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and includes accessible washrooms, picnic tables and a fireplace. The pond is lit, so you can skate safely under the stars.

Laura Cabak, a spokesperson for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, said there's something magical about skating outside.

"This is Winnipeg, and we certainly can't spend the winter cooped up," she said. "I think we've all learned that if you get outside and actually enjoy the weather and enjoy winter and embrace it, it's going to be a lot more enjoyable."

She said the rink opened a little earlier than usual this year, and she expects to see skaters taking advantage very soon.

"You see skaters of all ages out there, from the little ones who are spending as much time with their bums on the ice as their feet, to adults who … can look back on decades of skating," she said.

Another favourite skating site, the rink under the canopy at The Forks, opened to the public last week.

If you're at the park anyway and want to make a day of it, you can also go sledding on the toboggan hill near the pond, north of the Nature Playground. The hill is already open to the public.

Cabak said the park's walking trails are well-maintained into the winter, and cross-country skiing trails are cleared there as well.

"There's a lot to do, and we really love seeing people enjoy the park year-round," she said.