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10 Popular Skating Rinks in Toronto You Must Check Out

Regardless of the season, Canada is an ice-skating paradise. Toronto boasts several indoor and outdoor skating rinks; for Canadians, skating is not merely a passion but a way of life. Since the Winter Olympic Games started, Canada has won more than 29 Olympic medals in figure skating.

Many things are quintessentially Canadian, and skating is undoubtedly one. Almost like a rite of passage, children are taught to skate when they are merely four or five years old. Many take up skating in their teens or even as adults, yet the fun lies in the liberating enjoyment of the game rather than the success of the sport itself. After all, more than 8.8 million Canadians are skaters, the figure includes several ice hockey players.

If you would like to join the ranks of all the passionate Canadian skaters, here are ten famous ice-skating rinks you can perfect your turns in. 

Nathan Philips Square

Considered among Toronto’s most famous, the Nathan Philips Square skating rink has been an all-time favourite experience for Torontonians for generations. The rink buzzes with activity each holiday season as families gather with children and couples to enjoy the festive atmosphere. Set against the unique backdrop of the sparkling lights, it is the perfect place to create memories and take unique snapshots against the illuminated tree. 

Kew Gardens Arena

Located in the pristine neighbourhood of the beaches, the Kew Garden skating arena is made of artificial ice. It sits at the 6.5-hectare park stretching from Queen Street East down to Lakeshore Boulevard. Unlike the busy summer months, the ice-skating rink in the park is a valuable addition to the neighbourhood’s winter scene. It allows families, young ones, and seasoned tourists to have fun while taking in their surroundings. Here, you will find a compelling boardwalk complemented by stunning views of Lake Ontario. There are plenty of opportunities for visitors to explore the nearby family-friendly cafes and restaurants.  

Barbara Ann Scott Rink

Named after the Canadian figure skater who won the gold medal in the 1948 Olympic Games, the Barbara Ann Scott skating rink has graced the College Park neighbourhood in Downtown Yonge for over forty years. The five-meter trail winds its way through the revitalized park and has several eco-friendly technological features. It is one of the first skating rinks of its kind in North America to use a refrigeration system that does not produce greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Bentway

Ever evolving, the Bentway is reinventing its 220m figure skating trail. In addition to its inflation-busting free skate rental nights, the outdoor skating rink under the Gardiner has several colourful woven arches inspired by Europe’s northern lights. At ice time, skaters can enjoy free hot chocolate every Monday and explore the local shops and restaurants in the neighbourhood. 

Evergreen Brick Works

Located in the Old Brick Factory nestled around Toronto’s lush ravines and old buildings, the Evergreen Brick Works rink provides the perfect backdrop to explore Toronto’s heritage. The skating rink is open only in winter and is weather-dependent. The Evergreen Brick Works rink supports several community-based events including free public skate events and programs like the Parents and Tots Learning to Skate, which allows you and a child to learn the needed skills to glide like a pro.

Paul Quarrington Ice Rink

The CN Tower and stunning waterfront views are a few of the epic scenes surrounding this downtown rink. It is a great destination location to bring visiting family and friends to explore Toronto’s downtown core. Despite being in the central part of the city, the ice-skating rink is relatively quiet; you will be happy to occasionally get much of the 902 square meter (9,709 sq ft) rink all to yourself sometimes. 

Colonel Samuel Smith Park Skating Rink

If you are not really a fan of the city, this ice-skating rink is located on a stretch of a wooded shoreline along Kipling and Lakeshore. Home to a variety of fauna and flora, you are bound to find a diverse range of plants, trees, birds, and other wildlife surrounding the network of paths around the skating trail. The skating trail delivers a quiet experience compared to the hustle and bustle of the city, giving you a cottage country experience. 

Riverside East Park Rink

Accommodating both tobogganing and skating enthusiasts, the Riverside East Park has a picturesque ice-skating rink overlooking Toronto’s stunning downtown skyline. It also has exciting views of Broadview’s ravine just before you descend into the park itself. The park’s amenities include a hockey pad and changing rooms for skates. 

Christie Pits 

Just minutes away from Koreatown, the Christie Pits Park is home to an artificial ice rink, a labyrinthian playground, and a wading pool. The 8.9-hectare park is just across the Christie subway station and was named after a Toronto Maple Leafs captain. If you ever venture close by, you can treat yourself to the neighbourhood’s authentic Korean restaurants and stalls.

Shops at Don Mills 

The newly opened Don Mills Skating Oval Rink is one of the GTA’s trendiest destinations. To add more fun to your skating experience, every weekend includes music and fun treats for the whole family. The best part is that you can easily squeeze in a shopping errand or treat, before or after your skating session, thanks to the variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants nearby. 

Aaron Levinson | Staff Writer

Spring 2024

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