Grab your skates and head outdoors! Although it’s already February and we’re all waiting for winter to be over, that doesn’t mean we should live in track pants and hoodies and stay on our couches until the trees start to bloom. Let’s face it. We live in Canada. It’s winter. It’s cold. But let’s embrace it! One of the best ways to beat the winter blues is to get outside for some fresh air and move the body. And what better way to do that than by skating! I personally set out on a Toronto excursion to find the best outdoor skating rinks that the city has to offer. Now is the time to pack your blades and hit the ice. Here are my top favourite rinks:
- Barbara Ann Scott Ice Trail
This is a brand new rink to the city of Toronto, and get this. It’s only an 8-minute walk from the Ryerson campus! Located in College Park, it’s an oval shaped trail that takes you skating amidst the spectacular skyscrapers of downtown Toronto. There’s a pleasant pavilion with washrooms and a warming station, but no skate rentals or lockers. A fun fact: it’s actually one of the most environmentally friendly outdoor artificial rinks in the continent, with a zero net carbon emission. A great activity that’s harmless on the environment! It’s open everyday until March 22nd.
2. The Bentway
This being just the second season it’s opened, The Bentway is a figure 8 skating trail in Fort York, just outside the downtown core. Who doesn’t love skating underneath the Gardiner Expressway… doesn’t sound inviting? Think again! This skating trail is by far one of my favourites to skate at. There are skate rentals available, which are free on Thursday nights from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM. On the weekends the rink has food and drink vendors, warming stations, fire pits, and live music. A great way to spend an afternoon or evening! It’s closing date is February 17th, so get out for a skate while you still have the chance.
3. Natrel Pond
This is by far my favourite outdoor rink in Toronto. Located in Harbourfront Centre, you are skating directly beside Lake Ontario in the Toronto Harbour. One of the most beautiful places to skate, the rink has been here for over 30 years! On Saturday’s the rink changes from a beautiful serene scene, to wild DJ skate nights. Definitely a must! There are skate rentals, heated washrooms and change rooms, and even a bar restaurant. Boxcar Social is located directly beside the rink for some aprés skate food and drink. Could it get any better? Open until March 22nd.
4. Nathan Phillips Square
Toronto’s iconic outdoor skating rink. What’s not to love. Directly in the heart of downtown, it’s close to everything that the city has to offer. Skating amidst the beautiful city hall couldn’t get any better. Rentals are available, along with washrooms and change rooms. Don’t forget to snap a picture with the famous “Toronto” sign! Also open until March 22nd.
5. Regent Park South Ice Rink and Trinity Bellwoods Rink
These two rinks are your top spots for grabbing your sticks and pucks as they are the best city ice surfaces for playing shinny. Both are equipped with full boards, washrooms, change rooms, and are frequently flooded. They are open and maintained until March 22nd, so plenty of time to grab your friends and get a couple hockey games started!
BONUS: Lake Devo
It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t include Lake Devo on my top list of rinks in the city. Right in the heart of Ryerson campus, this rink is directly at your convenience. Free to use at any time, what a great way to spend a couple of hours skating before, between, or after your classes. And why not bring your sticks and pucks while you’re at it, for a friendly game of shinny!
So get out there with your skates and brave the cold! Enjoy the last couple weeks of winter in the great outdoors. Many people don’t get to experience the snow or ice. Let’s see the positive in this cold weather and make the most of our amazing city and all of the activities it has to offer. Happy skating!