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It’s skating season: first section of The Forks river trail opens

Click to play video 'First section of The Forks river skating trail opens' First section of The Forks river skating trail opens
WATCH: It's a Winnipeg landmark only seen in the winter -- the Red River Mutual Trail. The first section of the annual attraction, the Port skating rink, opened Friday.

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.

READ MORE: Red River Mutual Trail extends and hopes to keep growing

“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.”

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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.

READ MORE: Chain of Winnipeg skaters officially certified as Guinness World Record

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.

READ MORE: Winnipeg duo announced as 2019 Warming Hut winners

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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WATCH: Relying on the weather, it is symbolic of Winnipeg’s willingness to embrace winter

Click to play video 'Relying on the weather, it is symbolic of Winnipeg’s willingness to embrace winter' Relying on the weather, it is symbolic of Winnipeg’s willingness to embrace winter
Relying on the weather, it is symbolic of Winnipeg’s willingness to embrace winter