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Get in Shape! Winter Sports at Historic Places

Now that the festive season is behind us, it's high time to honour our resolutions to stay in shape despite of winter's chill. Many historic places have a long tradition of hosting recreational activities, both indoor and outdoor, playing a key role in the life of the communities and attracting tourists who love to stay active. So lace up your skates, skis, snowshoes or hiking boots and head out to explore your heritage!

Emblematic of the growth of ski tourism in this country, Skoki Ski Lodge, in Banff National Park, Alberta, is a log structure typical of construction in our mountain parks. The Lodge, built in the 1930s by a group of local skiers, is open year-round and offers accommodation in an enchanting backcountry setting.

AbbotPassPerched at an altitude of 2,925.5 metres (9,598 feet), the Abbot Pass Refuge Cabin (photo), also in Banff National Park, is a popular destination for mountaineers. Built of local stone, it practically fades into the surroundings, as is the tradition of rustic architecture. There are other such rustic refuges, though of wood construction, such as the Stanley-Mitchell Alpine Hut and Mount Assiniboine Lodge, which attract climbers and hikers from across Western Canada.

Lovers of snow sports in Edmunston, New Brunswick are likely familiar with Mont Farlagne, which has played a major role in the regional economy for over 40 years. It's Post-Modern architecture adds an interesting twist to the historic place.

Since 1872, the public has been invited to skate at the official residence of the Governor General of Canada, Rideau Hall and Landscaped Grounds National Historic Site in Ottawa, Ontario. The domain also consists of woods and trails, providing for city dwellers to enjoy the outdoors.

QuartierMilitaire,-Frederiction,-NBThe Military Compound (photo), located in the heart of Fredericton, New Brunswick, consists of about ten buildings, many of them now offering cultural and recreational activities year-round, including outdoor skating in winter.

The skating rink at the Old Port of Montréal, Québec has a stunning view of Old Montreal (link in French only) and Clock Tower, with themed music everyday. A place everyone would enjoy during the dark days of winter!

MarketSquare,-Kingston,-ONMarket Square Heritage Conservation District (photo) is taken over in winter by an open-air skating rink right in the heart of Kingston, Ontario. Apart from the many historic buildings reflecting the district's political, military and economic past, skaters are close to  Kingston City Hall National Historic Site and its imposing facade.

For the less hardy, skating is also available indoors in historic arenas: W.C. O'Neill Arena, in New Brunswick, Memorial Arena, in British Columbia, and Vonda Rink in Saskatchewan. Now there's no excuse for not lacing up!


Parks Canada - Skoki Ski Lodge National Historic Site 

Parks Canada - Abbot Pass Refuge Cabin National Historic Site

Governor General of Canada - Rideau Hall

Old Port of Montreal - skating rink

RinkTime - Market Square Ice Skating Rink