Everything You Need to Know About Skating at Nathan Phillips Square

There’s something to do year-round at Nathan Phillips Square, a popular public space full of family-friendly features, from the elevated walkway that is open during the summer months to the skating facilities that open up in the winter when the reflecting pool is turned into an ice rink.

One of the most popular attractions and activities is the Nathan Phillips Square ice skating rink. It was the first part of the development to open to the public and has been a classic for almost 60 years. Skate rentals are available, as are skate sharpening services for those who already own a pair. Helmets are available to rent as well and the skating rink is generally open from early December until March, depending on the weather. 

During the holiday season, the skating rink is decked out in twinkly lights and a tree befitting the size of the square. For the rest of the season, the rink is framed by the Freedom Arches, which are an awesome sight up close.

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Nathan Phillips Square used to be the site of a bustling immigrant neighbourhood on the edges of Old Toronto. First home to Toronto’s Eastern European Jewish community and later the city’s original Chinatown, the neighbourhood was transformed in the 1960s with the construction of the new Toronto city hall. Nathan Phillips Square was part of that redevelopment and appropriately enough was named in honour of Toronto's first Jewish mayor who served from 1955–1962.

There are a number of fun elements that make Nathan Phillips a must-see for locals and visitors alike. In line with the site’s international, multi-cultural history, Nathan Phillips Square is home to a piece of the Berlin Wall embedded in the Freedom Arches memorial over a glassy reflecting pool, as well as a Peace Garden dedicated to the victims of the Hiroshima Bombing. Other works of art and sculpture within the square include ​​The Archer by Henry Moore, a 1970 bronze of Sir Winston Churchill by Croatian sculptor Oscar Nemon, and the Peace Through Valour Monument by artist Ken Lum. 

Where to eat near Nathan Phillips Square 

Because Nathan Phillips Square is right downtown, there’s a lot of options for eateries nearby. After you snap a photo with the 3D Toronto Sign, grab a bite at an outpost of several foodie empires, including Momofuku Noodle Bar, Cactus Club, Cafe Landwer, Earls Kitchen + Bar,  CRAFT Beer Market, and The Keg.