If you live in or around Montréal, you might have heard various news reports in the past month about the closure of the natural skating rink on Beaver Lake (the artificial skating rink remains open). This sad but true fact not only disappoints Les amis de la montagne but the thousands of mountain lovers that were keen on hitting the Beaver Lake skating rink this winter.

Not a Permanent Decision

Ever since the 1930s, visitors of all ages have flocked to the mountain to lace up their skates and take a spin on the large clover-shaped artificial lake designed by the landscape architect Frederick Gage Todd. When the City’s decision to forbid skating on the lake was recently made public, many were taken aback, especially in light of rumours claiming that this was to be a permanent measure.

Last year, an incident involving heavy machines in charge of ice maintenance breaking through the ice gave city officials pause. The decision to close the natural skating rink was thus taken for the safety of the municipal employees having to work on the ice surface as well as the general public. Furthermore, the impacts of climate change being increasingly felt, the intensity and longevity of our winters and skating season are affected.

Looking for Solutions with the City

However, we have high hopes this closure is a temporary situation and that solutions will enable skating on Beaver Lake in the coming years. As a partner of the City in the provision of services and public activities in Mount Royal Park, Les amis is at the forefront of all issues pertaining to the park. We are working directly with city officials to investigate the challenges and find solutions that will allow visitors to enjoy natural skating facilities on the mountain.

As for climate change, there’s no denying its effects on our seasonal habits, and there’s no doubt in our minds that we need to adapt our strategies in the face of such new challenges.

Skating on Mount Royal: Still as Popular

Despite the decision to suspend skating on the lake, the beautiful skating rink next to the Beaver Lake Pavilion remains open to the public every day of the week until 9 p.m. (10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday) free of charge! This refrigerated rink, made possible thanks to a gift to Les amis from Power Corporation and the Desmarais Family in the early 2000s, was created to adapt to the effects of climate change and to allow park visitors to enjoy an extended skating season from early December to mid-March.

Every Friday and Saturday evenings through the end of February, Les amis organizes musically themed evenings on this well-maintained refrigerated rink so that music-loving skaters can skate to various musical genres from 90s hits to Quebec traditional tunes.

Skating on Beaver Lake is part and parcel of the winter traditions cherished by Montrealers and visitors alike. Les amis firmly believes that, despite its inherent challenges, the presence of a natural skating rink on the mountain should withstand the test of time and – with much foresight and planning – climate change. 

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