Skating the Light Fantastic

Vancouver’s only public rink is open for business
  • Nov 30, 2014
  • 320 words
  • 2 minutes
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Mild, rainy Vancouver is not the first city that comes to mind when you hear the words “ice skating.” We all remember 2010, when the world sneered and scoffed (until it didn’t) at the balmy West Coast city for thinking it could host an international winter sporting event. Turns out, this Canadian city can make ice with the best of them. Which is why a trip to the Robson Square Ice Rink, right across from the iconic Vancouver Art Gallery, has become one of Vancouver’s most beloved annual winter rituals.

The city’s only public skating destination, the rink is part of the people-friendly landmark civic centre and public plaza designed by Arthur Erickson more than 30 years ago. Shuttered in 2004, it roared back to life as an integral part of the 2010 Winter Games. Once it was renovated and resurfaced, the rink became ground zero for Olympic games and parties, and ever since it has continued to represent the warm, beating heart of downtown Vancouver.

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Kicking off the season on December 1, the Robson Square Ice Rink is open through the end of February 2015. Skating is free for those with their own skates, but even if you throw in the modest charge for skate rental, it’s easy to make the argument that Vancouver is one of the most affordable big-city skating venues in the world. The attractions don’t stop there. Topped by a glass dome that lets the light in and keeps that pesky rain and wind out, the sunken outdoor open-air rink gives visiting skaters a cozy, unique view of pedestrian life on the street. From Dec. 13 through Dec. 24, skaters can skate the light fantastic to the live music of a bevy of popular local musicians. And unlike many public venues, the rink is open on both December 25 and January 1.

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