Winter activities in Peterborough

winter daytime view of the Otonabee river facing east with the Silverbean cafe on the far left

Getting outside during the winter can be good for our physical and mental health. Our parks and trails provide many opportunities to get active, whether it’s a winter hike, outdoor skating or building a snowman. Residents are encouraged to follow public health guidelines to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. Stay home if you are sick.
  • Maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres (6 feet) from those outside of your household.
  • Masks or face coverings are recommended outdoors when physical distancing can’t be maintained. Masks or face coverings are mandatory in indoor public settings.
  • Wash hands often and bring hand sanitizer to use while out. Avoid high-touch surfaces.
  • If the place you are visiting is too crowded, find a different location or return at another time.
  • Downloading the Government of Canada’s COVID Alert app to your phone is encouraged.


Trails are one of our most treasured and used City features. Our Cycling and Trails page includes a map of trails and cycling routes in Peterborough and the surrounding area. We plow 36 kilometres of paved trails as part of our winter snow removal service.

There are many trails and conservation areas in the region that are maintained by Otonabee Region Conservation Authority. Their website includes information about which trails are open and how to stay safe when visiting them.


Neighbourhood rinks

Community volunteers are hard at work to bring outdoor neighbourhood rinks to parks across the City. As Public Works completes inspections of these rinks, they will be listed on our Parks page. Rink maintenance depends on weather conditions and the work of volunteers.

To ensure adequate space for physical distancing, a maximum capacity is posted for each outdoor neighbourhood rink based on the size of the rink. Sports and games are prohibited on neighbourhood rinks.

Neighbourhood rinks are for casual skating only. All public health guidelines for outdoor rinks can be found online and are posted at rinks.

Neighbourhood rink guidelines and locations

Skating at the Lift Lock

The City of Peterborough maintains the ice surface for skating on the canal below the Peterborough Lift Lock as weather conditions permit. A safety flag identifies if ice conditions are safe:

  • A green flag indicates skating is permitted.
  • A red flag indicates skating is not permitted.

Please obey the safety flag and always use caution when skating on the canal. 

Our Public Works team regularly monitors ice thickness on the canal throughout the season to assess if conditions are safe for public skating. We post the status of the canal on our website.

Lift Lock canal skating status

Casual skating only on the canal. Sports and games are not permitted. All public health guidelines for outdoor rinks can be found online.

Visit a park

There are over 100 parks throughout Peterborough and all remain open year-round. Discover a new one or visit one of your favourites: our Parks page includes a map of regional and community parks. Walk, roll or snowshoe through the snowy fields and try out playground equipment. If you're looking for more ideas for activities, check our outdoor fun list. You can share your favourite park activities on our interactive map!


There are many locations to toboggan in Peterborough. Tobogganing is a high-risk activity, and the City of Peterborough does not accept responsibility for related risks or injuries.

If the location you are visiting is crowded and physical distancing can’t be maintained, find a different location or return at another time. It may be helpful to inspect the hill prior to use. Avoid sledding when any hazards or unsafe conditions are present. Do not sled when conditions are icy or otherwise hazardous.

Be safe!

Connect with the community

Share your favourite winter activity on our interactive map. Visit our Connect Peterborough website at, click on your favourite location on the map and upload a photo or simply describe why you love it.

We also encourage you to share photos and stories with us on social media. We’re on Twitter and Facebook as @CityPtbo.

Outdoor fun

Here are some ideas for outdoor activities that you can do in your own backyard, or in one of the parks across the city.

  • Many of our parks are also visited by wildlife – look for the tracks of animals in the snow. Look and listen for birds. How many can you identify? Consider making a backyard birdfeeder to attract some new winter wildlife - the Peterborough Museum and Archives offers a pinecone birdfeeder craft video on their YouTube channel. Did you know that the Peterborough Field Naturalists maintain three bird feeders at Ecology Park?
  • Explore our public art: from murals to sculptures and artist-designed benches, you can use our interactive public art map to discover public art installations across the city.
  • Build with the snow: from snow castles and forts to snow people and creatures. Add food colouring to spray bottles or bowls and use it to paint in the snow.
  • Create a snow maze or obstacle course with winter challenges. Who can throw a snowball furthest? Who can roll the biggest snowball?
  • Enjoy a sport, winter-style! Bring your frisbee or soccer ball outside to play with members of your household

Public Health guidelines during COVID-19

The City of Peterborough continues to work closely with Peterborough Public Health to provide guidelines for safe use of outdoor spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peterborough Public Health has provided information about how to be active outdoors safely during COVID-19.

Consider your own risk factors before participating in any activity. Snow and ice can increase the risk of many activities; dress appropriately for the weather, monitor conditions and take precautions when outdoors.

Guidelines for using outdoor rinks:

  • Self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. Stay home if you are sick.
  • Maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres (6 feet) from those outside of your household.
  • No sports or games. Neighbourhood rinks are for casual skating use only to help ensure physical distancing and following public health measures.
  • Wearing a mask or face covering is recommended.
  • Follow the maximum capacity that is posted for the rink. If the rink has reached its posted capacity limit, return at another time.
  • Downloading the Government of Canada’s COVID Alert app to your phone is encouraged.
  • All children/dependents must be accompanied by a competent adult/guardian.
  • Play safe and be respectful of others and the host neighbourhood.
  • Clean up after yourself.
  • Do not block driveways or street access.
  • Rinks are operated by volunteers.
  • Wash or sanitize hands before and after visiting.
  • Use at your own risk.

Other outdoor health guidance from Peterborough Public Health

Neighbourhood sidewalks, streets, multiuse paths, and parks are all available to get outside and get moving. When doing these activities, some ways to stay safe include:

  • Step-aside or pass others quickly and courteously on sidewalks. Passing someone on the sidewalk is not considered a close contact or a significant risk for exposure to COVID-19.
  • When moving at a fast pace (such as when running or cycling), it is best to stay as far away from others as possible
  • If you must be behind another runner or cyclist, stay well back and try to stagger yourselves so as to not be directly behind them
  • You may need to change your route or the time of day that you go out, so that you can follow these guidelines
  • Stay close to home by accessing nearby parks, trails, and hills. Avoid all non-essential travel

Before going outside, consider the following questions and assess whether you can keep a 2 metre (6 feet) distance from others:

  • Is my normal walking route crowded right now?
  • Is the park that I would like to go to crowded right now?
  • Will I be tempted to talk with others and not maintain a 2 metre (6 feet) distance?
  • Will my young children have a hard time keeping a 2 metre (6 feet) distance from others, particularly other children?



mural under Hunter Street bridge in the winter