It’s that time of year again – when the ground freezes over, and “Netflix and Chill” takes on a very literal meaning. But, if you’re looking to do something more outdoorsy, look no further. We’ve done all of the heavy lifting (you’re welcome) and found the most unique places to go outdoor skating in Toronto.
(Photo by: The City of Toronto via Flickr)
This figure-8 skating trail sits right next to a historic building in the Colonel Samuel Park. You might be skating with ghosts though – the psychiatric-facility-turned-Humber-College buildings across from the arena, rumour has it, are haunted. Admission is free and parking is free on the weekends.
(Photo by: jp1958 via Flickr)
The Shops at Don Mills combines two great activities: skating and shopping. They have an outdoor mall reminiscent of The Grove in Los Angeles’ (no complaints here), and installed a skating oval in the middle that is open during mall hours. The oval is free, and the shopping is encouraged.
(Photo by: Sam Javanrouh via Flickr)
This square is used for pretty much every major event in the city, from Nuit Blanche to Remembrance Day ceremonies, but in the winter skaters take over. Admission to the rink with the City Hall view is free, and parking is right underground (not free). But, everyone knows about this city treasure, so be prepared for crowds.
Queen’s Quay Terminal is one of the most beautiful parts of the city, and skating with a view of the lake is a great way to spend a day. Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel Rink offers DJ Skate Nights on Saturdays, and admission is free. There is also on-site hot chocolate. Mmmmmm.
(Photo by: The Ashbridges Neighbourhood)
Newly rebuilt Greenwood Arena has two rinks – one for skating and a covered one for hockey. The change facilities are excellent as well. Greenwood is Toronto’s first outdoor covered skating rink, so it can stay open longer than most places.
Though this rink may appear small at first glance, Sherbourne Common offers stunning views of the city that make it a worthwhile visit. It’s also artificially controlled, with pipes underneath to keep the ice cold, meaning you might be able to enjoy the rink past the usual outdoor skating rink season.
(Photo via Wikimedia)
Located at High Park, Grenadier Pond is a massive natural ice rink with gorgeous surrounding scenery. The city implemented a daily ice testing program that determines when the ice is safe to skate on, and when it isn’t. Make sure you check online before heading out, as the days the ice is safe to skate on are usually limited.
The Bentway Skate Trail
The Bentway’s figure-eight style skate trail, located beneath the Gardiner Expressway, opened for the second year in a row on December 21st! There are skate rentals and skating lessons available, and curated food and beverage for sale on certain dates. The trail will wind through a winter village with snuggly blankets, warming lounges, and fire pits.
Honourable Mention: ICE TRAIL AT ARROWHEAD PROVINCIAL PARK
Huntsville is quite a distance away, but the 1.5km skate path is definitely worth the drive to the East River campground. Skaters can book campsites for afternoon campfires and rentals are also available. Sounds like the Canadian dream to us.