Mounties, Tim Horton’s, maple syrup and ice skating. These things are about as stereotypically
Canadian as it gets, but stereotypes sometimes exist for a reason. Many’s a young Canadian kid
that slung a pair of skates over their shoulder and imagined greatness – whether they pictured
themselves as the next hockey superstar like Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky or Sidney Crosby, the
next big ice dancers like Scott Moir or Tessa Virtue, or a budding Elvis Stojko, Patrick Chan or
Meagan Duhamel. And, just saying, how many of those sessions ended with a Tim Horton’s hot
chocolate? Rather than stay stuck inside this January, relive your childhood (or make a new
tradition) at these Toronto skating rinks.
This 220-metre figure eight might be the only time you’re excited to travel along the Gardiner
Expressway: it’s located right underneath it on the lands of the Fort York National Historic Site.
Hours aren’t as long as some spots on this list (5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. on
Saturdays and noon to 9 p.m. on Sundays), so don’t head out too early. 2-hour skate rental $10
for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under.
The artificial polymer rink at Ontario Place means that skating isn’t weather dependent (though
Ontario Place’s location on Lake Ontario probably promises frigid temperatures, regardless), so
the skating runs almost into April. The views here, of the lake and the CN Tower and cityscape,
make for a picturesque skate. On Saturdays, DJs perform for the crowds. Skate rental $10 adults
and $5 kids 12 and under.
This rink overlooking Lake Ontario is free to skate (skate rentals are for 2 hours and $13 for
adults and $8 for students) and open long hours, especially on weekends, where frolickers can
visit from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday nights are the most raucous, with DJ Skate Nights, which is
pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a night of skating hosted by a local DJ.
With Old City Hall, the Toronto sign, the Bay and the Eaton Centre as a backdrop, there is plenty
to see (and Instagram) here. Being so centrally located (it’s at Queen and Bay), this is probably
the busiest in the list, so be prepared to deal with crowds. Skate rentals are for 2 hours and $10
for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under.
Glide between the gardens and under exposed beams and through a red brick factory on the
grounds of the Evergreen Brick Works. This facility offers learn to skate programs for kids and
adults and is free to the public on weekends. It’s only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
(10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) so it may be busy. Skate rentals $5.
That huge pond in High Park – the one you may only ever see driving by en route to the
Queensway – can actually be skated on. The city monitors ice thickness (though not throughout
the winter, so definitely check before heading out) but many factors influence its surface and it
isn’t cleared or maintained like other rinks. A good bet for locals (or those who visit yearly to
spot the cherry blossoms) but maybe not best for families with young kids.
The city of Toronto runs 54 outdoor rinks that are all free to skate. They’re generally found in
parks, so your next twirl around the ice might be closer than you think. Check out the list here: