Now that the Polar Vortex is behind us, being outside can be enjoyable without freezing our face off! One of my favourite pastimes in the winter is skating along one of Toronto’s many beautiful public rinks. Here are some of my top picks in case you would like to join me and see a magical side of Toronto:
If you are looking for a truly unique public skating in Toronto experience, look no further than the hulking concrete trestles of the Gardiner Expressway. The trail is one kilometre long and features a DJ on Friday nights as well as free figure skating lessons. The rink is open seven days a week, generally between 11 AM – 9 PM except for Fridays and Saturdays in which it is open until 11 PM. There are skates you can rent all day on the weekend, but only in the afternoon during the week. Prices are $5-$10 but free on Mondays!
If you would rather view the picturesque frozen Lake Ontario compared to the highway, the Natrel Rink is the right place for you. It has been a tried and true favourite amongst Torontonians for 30 years, especially as every Saturday evening the rink comes alive with DJ Skate Nights. This rink is also open seven days a week, with hours of 10 AM – 10 PM except on Fridays and Saturdays when it is open until 11 PM. Skate rentals cost $6.25-$12.50.
Is there a place more synonymous and ubiquitous than Nathan Phillips Square for skating in Toronto? This rink is always bustling with locals and tourists, families and even professional figure skaters! It is open daily from 9 AM – 10 PM, with skate rentals between $5-$10.
Public skating in Toronto is not always on ice – it can also be experienced on a solid polymer material designed for skates! Ontario Place offers a brand new, fresh skating option on its 600 square metre rink that features 12 winter light installations created and made by local artists. If that was not enough, you can always cozy up near the bonfire near the rink. This is the perfect place for a date, as the Cinesphere IMAX now does screenings from Friday to Sunday! The rink is open 7 days a week, however during the weekdays it is mainly open in the evenings (6 PM – 11 PM). On weekends, rest assured you can be out there as early as 10 AM to get your skate on. Skate rentals are between $5-$10.
If you want a more old-fashioned atmosphere, or just prefer your skating au natural, there is no place better to skate than the picture-perfect Grenadier Pond. This rink is not monitored by the city but it offers an opportunity for you to skate and appreciate the views the way Torontonians have been for over a hundred years. The City of Toronto does invoke a flag warning system to let you know how safe it is to skate on the pond. For more information on the flag system just click here.
Public skating in Toronto is vast and varied: some are indoor rinks, some are outdoor, some are on natural bodies of water, some are not even made of ice at all! There is something for everyone and I would love to hear which is your favourite place to skate.