Neighbourhood Rinks in Toronto to Share in the Fun
Ice skating is one of the best winter activities — perfect for a friendly get-together, date night, work bonding day or family time and there are plenty of options to help get you out there. These skating rinks in Toronto are the perfect place to lace up and glide into a fun day. Don’t have your own skates? No worries, as most of the neighbourhood rinks offer rentals to help plan your skating adventure that much easier.
Nathan Phillips Square
Since the 1960s, Nathan Phillips Square has been one of the best places to ice skate in Toronto. In the winter months, the reflecting pool is transformed into a slick surface crowned by the Freedom Arches monument, which includes a piece of the Berlin Wall. There are skate rentals and sharpening services on site, including helmets, for $5-$10 per person, depending on their age group.
Greenwood Park has all kinds of great features from ball fields to a community garden, but one of the highlights is the way the ball hockey field turns into the city’s first covered outdoor artificial ice rink in the winters. Next to the rink there is a 215-metre fully outdoor skating path, too, so there’s a variety of places for ice games and leisure skating to take place even well past the typical end of skating season in the springtime.
Colonel Samuel Smith Park
Colonel Samuel Smith Park has the distinction of being home to Toronto’s first ice skating trail, a figure-eight shaped track near the Power House Recreation Centre. There are no skate rentals, but the late park closing time means you can catch a chance to skate under the stars not far from the shores of Lake Ontario.
High Park is a lovely pocket of nature tucked right off Lake Ontario and the Gardiner Expressway, and it’s big enough to accommodate even sports like cross country skiing in the winter months. That’s not all, however. High Park has long been a popular place for skaters thanks to Grenadier Pond. Although the city has tried to ban skating on this natural rink due to increased safety risk if someone should fall through thin ice, it’s a hard habit to break for many long-time Torontonians.
The city has reverted to monitoring ice levels and letting visitors know when conditions are safe to skate, but if you want to figure eight or drop a puck without worrying about reliving that scene from It’s a Wonderful Life, there are artificial rinks, too, near the pool facilities at High Park.
Evergreen Brick Works
From December to March, this former brick factory transforms into a skating rink under the old steel industrial beams that once supported the roof. Skating is open to the public with skate rentals and skate sharpening on-site. In addition to open skates, there are also classes for children and adults and rink rentals for private events. This pretty spot is in a long green space adjacent to East York too, so it’s easy to make a full day of family fun when you visit.
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Dufferin Grove is hugely popular for both pleasure skating and casual shinny games, with two artificial rinks open during the winter months. Renovated in the summer of 2021 to ensure residents could enjoy the Dufferin Grove skating rink during the winter season, the 2022-2023 season will introduce new skating pads, a Zamboni garage, and improved accessibility for disabled visitors. In true neighbourhood spirit, there is hockey and figure skating lending on a donation basis, along with sticks, gloves and helmets.
There are a lot of great places to strap on your skates in Toronto, but Skyskate is the only rooftop ice rink in the 6ix. It’s part of a bar patio situation called The Porch that sits high above the Rock ‘N’ Horse Saloon, with fantastic views of the downtown and Old Toronto skyline. Blade rentals and helmets are available on-site, and you can warm up after your skate sesh with a variety of hot and cold beverages (including a cocktail menu with an emphasis on large-format punch mixes) and hearty bar food like burgers and wings.
For the past 20 years, this upscale neighbourhood towards the north end of Toronto turns its rectangular reflecting pool into a skating rink each winter. Ledbury Park teamed up with NAK Design Strategies and Shim Shutcliffe Architects to design the canal-inspired rink, which is big enough to accommodate both casual skaters and neighbourhood kids out for a game of shinny.
Rosedale Park has a long athletic history — it got its start as a lacrosse grandstand and has gone on to be a playing field for rugby, soccer, golf and other sports before becoming a city park. Today it’s best known for tennis in the summer months and skating in the winter. While the rink doesn’t have a skate rental or lending library, you can bring your own blades and puck to have a fantastic time on the ice on the east side of Toronto.
Albert Campbell Park
If Albert Campbell Park reminds you a little bit of Nathan Phillips Square, there’s a reason for that — Scarborough’s own community gathering space was modelled on the one adjacent to Toronto’s City Hall. It’s even got its own waterfall-fed reflecting pool that turns into skating rinks in the winter, with views of the surrounding modernist architecture and public sculptures. Albert Campbell Park is better than ever too, after a multi-year renovation effort that saw the rinks renovated.