Each year, the cold weather brings a lot of grumbling from Manitobans, but it also ushers in the outdoor skating season.
At The Forks, that means the iconic Red River Mutual Trail, which officially kicked off Friday with the opening of the Port rink.
Trail extensions are expected to follow as soon as conditions are right.
“The Red River Mutual Trail connects neighbourhoods and allows people to explore our city from a totally different perspective,” said Paul Jordan, CEO of The Forks.
“Our calendar is packed with outdoor events at The Forks, and the cold of winter doesn’t seem to be slowing us down – in fact, it’s just the opposite.”
The opening of the trail – the Guinness World Record-holding longest naturally frozen skating trail in the world – signals the beginning of The Forks’ winter programming.
The Forks Marketing Manager Chelsea Thomson said the Port skating rink on the river adds to the on-land skating trails in Arctic Glacier Winter Park which have been open for several weeks already.
“It’s the first section of the Red River Mutual Trail to open. We hope to be adding more section as the days come. We’ll probably head down the Assiniboine first, we don’t know, the river tells us where we’ll go.”
Thomson said skate rentals are available for anyone who doesn’t have their own. The rental shop is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Over the next six weeks, the river will play host to a wide range of events, from a curling bonspiel to a triathlon to concerts to an ice bar.
The perennially-popular warming huts will be unveiled on the ice around the third week of January.
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