Winter fun is simply part of living in Canada: here, we embrace our cold weather and find ways to get outside and enjoy ourselves. 

One popular Canadian pastime, of course, is ice skating. Whether it’s a frozen-over pond in someone’s backyard or an indoor, climate-controlled ice skating rink, we lace up our skates and hop on the ice.

Wondering where the best ice skating in Toronto is? We have you covered with our list of the eight best places for best ice skating in the city.

Nathan Phillips Square

Nathan Phillips Square may not have the largest ice skating rink in Toronto, but it remains a top outdoor rink for many reasons. The biggest reason it’s so popular is its pricing: it’s 100% free to use. Plus, its central location within Toronto makes it easy to access from just about any neighbourhood.

It can get a little crowded at times, so it’s best to monitor the best times of the day to go so you have the least amount of people competing for space on the ice.

Keep in mind that this outdoor rink is not available all year round — only wintertime. During the warmer season, the area reverts to its normal duties as a beautiful water fountain.

The Nathan Phillips Square facilities include more than just the outdoor rink. There’s also a changeroom and six outdoor chess tables.

You must make reservations online to get onto the ice, and the rink is open from 10 am to 10 pm. daily. It’s located at 100 Queen St. W in Toronto.

Harbourfront Centre

The Harbourfront Centre’s outdoor rink in Toronto is located right on the shoreline of Lake Ontario and provides skaters with one of the most scenic areas in the city. You’ll get fantastic views of the CN Tower and other iconic Toronto landmarks while enjoying your time on the ice.

The rink is actually a converted concert stage, so there is plenty of room for everyone. Plus, there’s also an ice loop at Harbourfront’s South Orchard.

Harbourfront Centre also caters to all types of skaters — even those without their own skates. For these folks, there are ice skate rentals for $8 to $13, depending on the age. You can also rent a helmet for $5 to $7. Renting a helmet and skates together costs $9 to $16.

If you’ve never skated before, there are also skating lessons available here.

There is also skate sharpening and lockers available, though the lockers remain closed due to COVID-19 protocols.

The Bentway Skate Trail

Looking for a unique skating experience other than an oval-shaped rink? The Bentway Skate Trail is the place for you. This is a 1.8-kilometre skating trail built in 2018 underneath the Gardiner Expressway. It meanders through various gardens, parks, and other public areas, making it great for taking in sites while skating.

The best part is it’s 100% free to skate The Bentway Skate Trail, plus there is skate rental available if needed.

The Bentway Skate Trail is open from 10 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday. It is closed on the weekends.

Mel Lastman Square Rink

Mel Lastman Square is a large park with lots to do in the North York area of Toronto. Within the park is a large outdoor rink with plenty of room for everyone, so you never feel overly cramped or crowded. If you get there and the rink is too crowded (which isn’t likely!), there’s still plenty to do at this 20,000-square-foot park, including play table tennis and meander through various gardens.

In the summer, the park hosts many events and shows at its amphitheatre, so this is also a year-round destination, though the pond is only frozen and open for ice skating during the winter months.

The rink is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Colonel Samuel Smith Park

Colonel Samuel Smith Park is another place for some of the best ice skating in Toronto. It features a large ice skating trail for skaters to enjoy comfortably without feeling too crowded. Plus, it has heated pavilions if the winter chill gets to be a bit much. If you’re feeling the chill, stop by one of these pavilions and enjoy a nice warm cup of hot chocolate before heading back out onto the ice.

The lake also freezes over in the winter, if you prefer more of an open skating area than the ice skating path provides.

In the summertime, this park is also great for bird watching, fishing, and other outdoor activities. However, ice skating is limited to the wintertime only.

Skating is open every day from 10 am through 9:45 pm.

Barbara Ann Scott Skating Trail

As of 2022, the Barabara Ann Scott Skating Trail is Toronto’s newest public skating venue. It’s located in College Park in the Yonge and College area of Toronto. Named after the late Olympic gold medal figure skater, Barbara Ann Scott is a 5-metre-wide walking loop that’s converted to a skating trail every winter.

You can also feel good about using this trail because it’s North America’s first-ever skating trail to use carbon-dioxide technology to keep the ice frozen. This is an environmentally friendly refrigeration method that produces no new greenhouse gas effect.

Evergreen Brick Works

Built under the roof of the old brick factory, the Evergreen Brick Works is one of the best outdoor ice rinks in Toronto. Its rink weaves in and out of several snow-covered gardens, making a scenic and tranquil experience. Plus, when the sun sets, the twinkling lights turn on, giving the rink starlight-like illumination.

The rink is cooled by ECO CHILL, a sustainable refrigeration system, so you can feel good about your time on the ice too.

Unsure about your ice skating skills? You can take skating lessons here too. A four-week skating lesson for beginners and intermediate skaters costs only $90 for kids. Beginner adults can learn to skate on a four-week course for $100.

Two-week private skating lessons run $160.

Public skating is available by reservation only, and you get a one-hour skating block for each reservation. Skating is limited to 30 skaters per hour. Rental skates are available for $5.

Greenwood Park

Greenwood park is a 6.2-hectare park with tons to do year-round. In the wintertime, the ball-hockey rink is converted into an outdoor ice skating rink that can accommodate plenty of skaters. But it also has a pleasure-skating trail for those seeking a more laid-back day of skating and checking out the scenery.

A great thing about the outdoor skating rink is that it’s one of the few covered outdoor rinks, keeping you sheltered from snow or ice showers.

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