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Best 6 Places for Outdoor Skating in Toronto

Best 6 places for outdoor skating in Toronto

There are literally (and we mean that literally) hundreds of places you can strap on the skates in Toronto. Run by both the city and private enterprises, you can pick a new skating venue every weekend and you’d still run out of winter long before you ran out of great options. Here are six of the outdoor skating rinks in Toronto that we love the most – and, best of all, they’re all free.

Planning a trip to any of these venues? Visit triplinx.ca to find the best route and travel times!

Barbara Ann Scott Skating Trail

Toronto’s newest public skating venue opened in College Park (in the Yonge and College area) for the first time last December. The Barbara Ann Scott Skating Trail – named for the late Olympic gold medal figure skater – is a five-metre-wide trail designed to double as a walking loop in the summer. Just as notable, it’s the first exterior skating path in North America to incorporate state-of-the-art carbon dioxide technology in its refrigeration system. This environmentally friendly technology is natural, non-toxic and non-flammable, with no net greenhouse gas effect. Win-win.

Nathan Phillips Square

Skating at Nathan Phillips Square is kind of a rite of passage if you grow up in the city. (Or, even if you’re just visiting.) One of the best places to gather in the heart of downtown, the famous outdoor skating rink offers amenities like change room space, skate rentals and lots of convenient food options. And, if you get cold, you’re only two minutes away from shopping at the Eaton Centre. There’s also a roof terrace, from which you can enjoy a view of the Square while you warm up.

Harbourfront Centre

Sitting on the shore of Lake Ontario, Harbourfront is easily one of the most amazing and scenic outdoor skating rinks in Toronto. The Natrel Rink at the Harbourfront Centre has been a choice free skating in Toronto for more than 30 years, and it’s easy to see why. (Plus, on Saturdays, there’s DJ Skate Nights.) Natrel offers a heated indoor change room with lockers and washrooms.

The Bentway Skating Trail

The Bentway Skating Trail is a one-of-a-kind public space that turns an area underneath Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway into a 220-metre-long, figure-eight outdoor skating trail. It stretches from Strachan Avenue to Bathurst Street, and offers an on-site winter village with hot chocolate and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for skaters and spectators. There are also warming stations that will help you get toasty before jumping back onto the ice. Can’t skate? Not a problem! The Bentway offers free skate lessons for kids and adults, and on-site skate rentals are available. This year it’s open until Feb. 17.

Colonel Sam Smith Skating Trail

In the West end of the city, there’s a unique option for those looking to get out, strap on the blades and stretch their legs. The trail at Colonel Sam Smith Park is a long ribbon of ice that rolls along a stretch of wooded shoreline, a great place to watch sunrise and spot variety of birds and other wildlife. It was the city's first ice skating trail (in a figure-eight shape), so you don’t have to just go ‘round in circles here. The trail is located next to the Power House Recreation Centre, and there are basic amenities like washrooms and change rooms. It is strictly BYOS, though. (Bring your own skates.)

Evergreen Brick Works

Experience one of the best outdoor skating rinks in Toronto at Evergreen Brick Works. The ice weaves through the snow-covered gardens under the exposed beams of the roof of the old brick factory. When the sun goes down, the twinkling lights come on, creating an unforgettable experience under a blanket of stars. There's no other skating rink like it in the city. And, even if you don’t know how to skate, you can learn here. The rink is open to the public from December to March, weather permitting. Remember: this is an outdoor rink, so dress appropriately.

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