No matter which Toronto neighbourhood you’re visiting, there’s likely to be an ice rink nearby. Here, you can zip over the ice in front of iconic landmarks like Nathan Phillips Square, or ditch the rink entirely and head to an ice skating trail.
Whether you’re on the ice to play hockey or to practice spinning on your twinkle toes, skating is the perfect way to embrace snowy days. So bundle up, lace up your skates, and discover these four fabulous ice rinks in Toronto.
Natrel Rink, Harbourfront Centre
If you need to practice your triple salchow, it doesn’t get any more scenic than the Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel ice rink. The ice rink faces Lake Ontario and the Toronto Islands, an ethereal scene of blue icy water and open grey skies beyond the dock that makes you want to embrace Ontario’s winter chill. Free DJ skate nights feature live local and international DJs — like Toronto legend Paul E. Lopes — who turn the ice rink into a dancefloor on Saturday nights. Afterwards, don’t forget to wander the modern art exhibitions at The Power Plant next door, or grab a quick pint at nearby Amsterdam Brewhouse.
Evergreen Brick Works
This historic brick house is now one of Toronto’s most beloved attractions, an ideal place for exploring the many trails that link to other parks. In addition to the many on-site activities (such as weekend farmers’ markets), you can glide your way along their ice rink set among the bricks and near the old kilns. Housed under a steel roof, the small rink is best for little ones to practice their moves, with locals lining the circular sidelines. That said, if it’s late in the day and a little less crowded, the ice rink is romantic enough if you’re up for an impromptu spin, lending a cozy and intimate atmosphere to the park.
Colonel Samuel Smith Skating Trail
Colonel Samuel Smith Park is Toronto’s first official ice skating trail. Why skate in circles on an ice rink when you can wind your way through the figure-eight-shaped course in one of Etobicoke’s most picturesque parks? In this wide-open space, you can feel the breeze of Lake Ontario nearby. Whether you’re with the family or on a first date, the trail is a great way to get to know someone. Warm up with some homemade hot chocolate from your thermos while you watch the crowd navigate their way on the trail, but be prepared: Though there are indoor changing rooms and washrooms, there are no skate rentals or refreshment stands on-site.
Nathan Phillips Square
Nathan Phillips Square, one of the most recognizable ice rinks in the city, is an integral Torontonian experience — especially during the annual Cavalcade of Lights. The old and new facades of City Hall are an ideal architectural backdrop for your skate, with the “eye of the city” and its two building columns of New City Hall to the north, and the Victorian facade of Old City Hall’s clock tower to the east. After you’ve worked up an appetite under the twinkling arches, bite into the signature Angus beef patties at Hero Burgers or a heaping pile of fries and gravy from one of the nearby chip trucks. You could also head over to the Eaton Centre for some shopping or tuck into The Gabardine, a cozy gastropub serving up cocktails and elevated comfort food.