If there's one winter activity the majority of us can all get behind, it would probably be skating. It's fun, it's festive, and it's undeniably much cheaper than other winter sports (skiing, snowboarding, hockey, to name a few). It's also such a multipurpose activity - it's great for a cute date night, it's super family-friendly, and it makes for the perfect holiday Instagram post for a girls' night out.
Below we've compiled a list of ice rink recommendations that by no means cover all the hidden little gems in your local neighborhood, but nevertheless have garnered quite a reputation across the city for delighting skaters year after year with either twinkling holiday lights, fun DJ dance parties, great views of the city skyline, or delicious hot food and beverages available on-site for warming up after your skating sesh. Have fun!
1. Nathan Phillips Square // 100 Queen St W
Let's just get this one off the top of the list early - every Torontonian has skated at Nathan Phillips Square at least once, if not as an annual tradition around this time of year. With that being said, this skating rink will once again open to the public this Saturday on November 26, so it's about time to pull those old skates out of the closet! Alternatively, if you don't own your own skates then you can always rent a pair for $10.
2. Evergreen Brick Works // 550 Bayview Ave
During the winter season, there is a lovely open-air skating rink at Evergreen Brick Works to make you feel like you've escaped the city. The rink/trail will have you weaving through sparkling lights and evergreen trees dusted with snow. It opens on December 9th (note: it will however be closed on December 25th, 26th, and 31st).
3. Mel Lastman Square // 5100 Yonge St
If you're closer to the North York area and don't feel like heading down to the city for a skate sesh, then hit up Mel Lastman Square. It's a decently sized outdoor skating rink, however be aware that it is an unsupervised rink and you have to bring your own skates as there is no skate rental offered. Opens November 26th.
4. The Natrel Rink // 235 Queens Quay W
Skate by the waterfront at the Harbourfront Centre's outdoor skating rink! Claiming "the most scenic rink in the city," the Natrel Rink offers skate and helmet rentals as well as hot food and drinks on site at their rink-side bar & grill, Boxcar Social. Also, they will be hosting free DJ skate nights on Saturday evenings starting on December 17th.
5. Greenwood Park // 150 Greenwood Ave
In the winter Greenwood Park's ball hockey area transforms into Toronto's first outdoor covered ice rink. There is also a small skating trail beside the outdoor rink. Opens November 26th to the general public.
6. Colonel Samuel Smith Park // 3145 Lake Shore Boulevard W
Head west to this lakeshore park for a unique skating trail in the form of a large figure-eight. No skate rentals available, but admission is free, and the trail will be ready like many of the other public parks on November 26th.
7. The Skating Oval // Shops at Don Mills, 1090 Don Mills Road
What could be more fun than combining an hour of skating with some shopping to go with it? A free skating rink is installed in the middle of the Shops at Don Mills, and skate rental/sharpening is available on site. This past year, the Skating Oval was opened to the public in January - we will just have to stay tuned for the upcoming dates for this holiday season! In the meanwhile, check out their holiday market between December 2-18.
8. Sherbourne Common Skate Pad // 61 Dockside Dr
This recently developed waterfront park has transformed an industrial area into a green space in the summer and a 920-square-metre skating rink in the winter. Sure, it won't have the flashy lights or dance music of some of the other locations, but the great views of the city skyline and wide open space (and decidedly less busy than Nathan Phillips Square or the Natrel Rink) will more than make up for it as this site continues to undergo development. Opens November 26th as well.
9. Dufferin Grove Park Rink // 875 Dufferin Park Ave
This rink is a good skate spot if only for its convenient location - it's close to parking, the subway, and Dufferin Mall. You can also "borrow" a pair of skates at a much cheaper cost than many other skating rinks; there is a recommended donation of $2 for the skates themselves while the helmets are free. If you want to try your hand at ice hockey, you can borrow a stick and gloves as well for a recommnded $1 donation each and play on their second nearby hockey rink.
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