The best places to ice skate in Toronto this winter

You'll have to register before you hit any of the 54 outdoor ice rinks

Skating rinks opened on November 28 in Toronto, but they’re operating a little differently than in past years due to COVID-19.

The city launched a winter parks program outlining the types of rinks that will open and how to skate safely in Toronto during lockdown.

Toronto’s 54 outdoor ice rinks are available for skating. However, under lockdown, only a maximum of 25 people will be allowed on the ice at all times.

The city will regulate capacity with a registration policy. You can register for a 45-minute time slot at any of the outdoor rinks available through an “eFun” portal. You’ll be limited to one time slot booking per day per person, including children, and the city recommends you arrive 10 minutes early to your reservation time.

While the city “strongly recommends” wearing a mask or face covering on and off the ice, they won’t be mandatory. However, while waiting in line for your turn on the ice, you must wear a mask. Physical distance must be maintained on the ice at all times, except for between members of the same household.

Indoor washroom access will be available, but change rooms will be closed. Lockers will also be unavailable, so consider bringing a backpack or a crossbody bag large enough to store you shoes and other items.

The city is also accepting applications for up to 30 or more natural ice rinks within Toronto parks. If there is a location near you within a city park that has maintained winter water service, you can apply with at least six other participating members any time before December 31 to create a natural rink. The city will provide public signage, lighting, water service and instructions on how to build the rink.

The Harbourfront skating rink may be closed, but there are still so many options to visit. Here are the most unique and iconic rinks in Toronto:

The Bentway Skate Trail

This iconic skate trail located under the Gardiner opens on December 18 and pre-registration for timed entry is available the same day via Eventbrite. Registration opens on a week-by-week basis, so check online the week before you want to visit the trail to register you and your family. The figure-eight skate trail is always a special Toronto experience, so be ready on Saturdays at 10 am to book your spot. The rink capacity is 25. The season runs to January 31.

Daily 12 pm-9 pm, no skate rentals, 250 Fort York

High Park Skating Rink

Located in the middle of the park, this rink is the ideal winter wonderland experience. With evergreen and maple trees surrounding the ice, you’ll get a dose of fresh air and exercise with a view.

Daily 10 am-10 pm, no skate rentals, 1873 Bloor West

Colonel Sam Smith Skating Trail

This was the city’s first skating trail in a figure eight shape, and it’s surrounded by nature and all types of wildlife despite being only a 15-minute drive from downtown. Visit this trail for a solitary adventure to clear your head.

Daily 9 am-10 pm, no skate rentals, 65 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive.  

Mel Lastman Square

This is a city favourite. With trees surrounding the square and the amphitheatre nearby, this is a great pick if you’re looking for a fun holiday trip with the family.

Daily 10 am-10 pm, no skate rentals, 5100 Yonge.

Greenwood Park

Greenwood not only has the city’s first outdoor artificial ice rink, but an ice skating trail that circles next to the rink. The artificial rink is covered by a criss-crossing roof, so try this rink out if you’re looking for an outdoor rink that mimics an indoor skating experience.

Daily 9 am-10 pm, no skate rentals, 150 Greenwood.

Nathan Phillips Square

It’s one of the most popular skate spots in Toronto, so make sure to reserve well ahead if you’re visiting. Great for everyone from figure skaters looking to practise to toddlers working on their first steps, check out this rink for the quintessential downtown atmosphere and beautiful lights.

Daily 9 am-10 pm, skate rentals $5-$10. 100 Queen West.

Lake Devo

Located in the middle of Ryerson University’s campus, this small rink is normally packed with university students playing hockey. But with universities online this year, you may find it a little less busy. Tiny and framed by boulders, it’s a lovely little spot if you’re looking for a more private date night atmosphere.

Daily 10 am-10 pm, no skate rentals, 50 Gould.

You can check the full list of outdoor rinks opening November 28 here.

Update: This post has been updated to include The Bentway Skate Trail.


Comments (3)

  • Bet November 30, 2020 09:53 AM

    Most of the rinks are booked up. Did they limit how many bookings people could make and where and how often to ensure that as many people as possible could enjoy? It would be nice if a more thorough article had been written including the realities of booking and the chances of getting some ice time.

    • Samyukta December 14, 2020 08:45 PM

      Replay to I haven’t had any issues booking ice time or just showing up. I think it depends on the overall popularity of the rink you want to go to. Mornings are generally quiet

  • Emily December 4, 2020 07:07 PM

    The system caps reservations at 15 people so there are 10 spots available for walk ins.

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