Friday, July 19, 2024

8 rinks in Greater Victoria that allow for drop-in skaters to take to the ice


As winter draws ever-closer and people start to binge on holiday movies, it’s hard not to want to start participating in some winter-ish activities. 

However, as most transplants to Victoria have found out the hard way, it’s a tough itch to scratch when one is so used to having an abundance of snow around during the holidays here. 

Victoria does get snow, but it isn’t quite the same as other regions of Canada’s light, fluffy snow that is amenable to snowball fights just as much as tobogganing. 

But being Canadian and having a passion for everything on ice is a hard one for Victorians, no matter how long they’ve lived here. 

The term ODR (outdoor rink) is a household staple in other provinces, but here the word has little to no meaning, as it doesn’t ever stay quite cold enough to maintain outdoor ice.

Here, one has to wait until there is an open or a drop-in skate at one of the region’s several arenas to have any luck lacing up their skates, which have been gathering dust.

So, here are the eight rinks around Greater Victoria that allow for drop-in skaters to get on the ice:

Saanich – G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre

Although Saanich has a few sports and recreation facilities, any aspiring skaters have to go through G.R Pearkes to hit the ice. 

They offer lessons, will rent skates to those who don’t have their own, host themed skate nights and will even sharpen people’s skates for a mere $5 a pair. 

Find their drop-in skate schedules and information, here

  • Where: 3100 Tillicum Road, Saanich

Victoria – Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre

It’s true, anyone can skate where the WHL’s Victoria Royals play weekly through the winter months. 

Certain Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays the arena is open to the public and they also offer affordable rentals at just over $4 per pair of skates. 

Check the schedule, information and rates online, here.  

  • Where: 1925 Blanshard Street, Victoria

Esquimalt – Archie Browning Sports Centre

Archie Browning has many drop-in days and also allow for “stick and puck” days where people are invited to practise stick handling, skating skills while carrying a puck and shooting on an empty net.

In addition to this, they have $3 adult skate nights every once in a while, which is the cheapest drop-in rate in all of Greater Victoria. 

Find rates and schedules online. 

  • Where: 1151 Esquimalt Road, Esquimalt

Oak Bay – Oak Bay Recreation Centre

In Oak Bay, skaters are also welcome!

They offer stick and puck skates as well and also host “Pro D” and holiday skates as part of their programming. 

Oak Bay Recreation Centre also promotes accessibility by having a rate of $3.50 for the “low-cost” skate nights.

Find all the info you need for Oak Bay Recreation Centre skates online, here

  • Where: 1975 Bee Street, Oak Bay

Saanich Peninsula – Panorama Recreation Centre

If you want to play shinny, this one’s for you. 

The closest any transplant to Victoria will get to the ODR may lie in the Saanich Peninsula with several shinny nights to choose from along with several less competitive, “everyone welcome” skate nights. 

They do book up pretty quickly though, so be prepared to be on a waitlist if you sleep on thinking ahead. 

If you need to sharpen your skates, they’ll do it for $5.75 a pair. 

Find schedules and rates online. 

  • Where: 1885 Forest Park Drive, North Saanich

West Shore – Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre

Although West Shore Parks and Recreation also preside over the Q Centre, where the Victoria Grizzlies play, most, if not all, public skates will take place at the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre (JDF Arena). 

One big bonus about the JDF Arena is that they offer plenty of “duffer hockey” games of shinny, both with and without goalies in net!

They have a really clear schedule with rates and all the info needed to find a time that works best and lace up.

  • Where: 1767 Island Highway, Colwood

West Shore – Westhills Ice Arena

With the growth in the West Shore over the past decade, it makes sense there would be two arenas available for all the budding families that reside there. 

The Westhills Arena is a purpose-built hockey arena which tries its best to accommodate passionate skaters whenever their rink is not in use. 

They also offer skate rentals for those who do not have any of their own. 

Find the drop-in page on their website, here.  

  • Where: 1097 Langford Parkway, Langford


Don’t worry, Sooke, no one forgot about you!

They’ve got Pro D skates, everyone welcome skates, adult skates and even youth skates for only $2 admission.

They also can sharpen skates if yours are getting a bit dull and you want to have them done up before you hit the rink. 

Find their schedule and rates online, here.  

  • Where: 2168 Phillips Road, Sooke
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