Growing up in Toronto, I’ve had the privilege of enjoying the city through all the seasons. No matter when you visit Toronto, there are so many fun and interesting things to do! But when winter arrives and covers the city in a fresh layer of snow, it’s time for one of the best outdoor winter activities ever: ice skating.
In Toronto, ice skating isn’t just a winter activity; it’s an annual tradition that brings people together to celebrate and enjoy winter in Canada. And Toronto has dozens of outdoor leisure skating rinks open to the public all across the city.
And if you don’t have your own equipment, the city of Toronto also has a mobile Skate Lending Library.
In this post, I’m excited to share what I consider to be the 12 BEST leisure skating rinks in Toronto and tips for the perfect skating excursion in the city. So, lace up those skates and keep reading to find the best outdoor skating rink in Toronto!
Outdoor Skating Rinks in Toronto Worth Visiting 2024
❆ Visit my Google Maps leisure skating list for the location of each of these outdoor skating rinks in Toronto.
1. Nathan Phillips Square
Based on personal experience, I can tell you that Nathan Phillips Square is the best outdoor skating rink in Toronto and is a must-visit for anyone interested in ice skating in Toronto. It’s not only free, but the iconic Toronto sign in the background adds a captivating touch to the experience. Growing up in Toronto, I have skated here many times.
Situated in the heart of downtown, close to the Eaton Centre, it’s incredibly convenient. It’s easily accessible by the TTC and public transportation. And if you’re looking for accommodation nearby, the Sheraton Hotel is right across the street.
For those who don’t have their own skates, skate rental is available at the rink. There are also change room facilities, washrooms, and a concession stand. However, do keep in mind that it can get crowded, especially during peak times. The good news is that a Zamboni regularly cleans the ice, so you can expect a smooth surface.
So, if you’re interested in skating in downtown Toronto, this is a fantastic spot to visit in the city.
- Address: 100 Queen St W, Toronto, Ontario
- Skate Rental: Yes.
- Best for: those who want to enjoy a free outdoor skating experience with Instagram-worthy photo opportunities. It’s particularly great for families, couples, and anyone looking for a memorable skating experience in the heart of Toronto.
☞ See Also: 33 Fantastic Winter Activities in Toronto
2. The Bentway Skate Trail
The Bentway Skate Trail in Toronto offers a truly unique urban skating adventure. Nestled under the Gardiner Expressway, it boasts a 220-meter figure-eight loop, making it an exciting destination for skaters of all levels.
The best part? A range of fantastic freebies are available at various scheduled times, including free skate rentals, beginner skate lessons, and complimentary hot chocolate.
There are also several community events, including the Polar Bear Skate, where skaters strip down to their underwear and skate for a good cause.
So, if you’re in Toronto during the skating season, the Bentway Skate Trail is a must-visit for a diverse range of skating experiences and a thrilling winter experience.
- Address: The Bentway Skate Trail is located beneath the Gardiner Expressway, spanning from Strachan Avenue to Bathurst Street in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
- Skate Rental: Yes.
- Best for: anyone seeking a unique urban skating experience, from beginners to experienced skaters. It’s also perfect for families and those looking to enjoy a distinctive outdoor activity in the heart of Toronto.
3. The Well Skating Rink
The Well is a brand new mixed-use space in the heart of Toronto, located at Spadina and Wellington. The Well only just opened its doors in November 2023, and some stores are not open, but it is an impressive and very cool new open-air space in Toronto. It is definitely worth visiting!
Along with new retail stores, live entertainment, and cozy spots to grab a drink, there is also a new outdoor ice skating rink at The Well. The rink is small but lovely, and it has a romantic ambiance.
Skating is free, but it is recommended that you book skating at The Well online as there are limited spots (approximately 20) per hour. Skate rentals are also available, and the rink is located close to the Indigo Book Store.
Following your skate, be sure to order a glass of wine or a hot drink and warm up with a blanket or in front of one of the outdoor fire pits.
- Address: 410 Front St. W., Toronto, ON
- Skate Rental: Yes
- Best for: those seeking a unique, romantic vibe in downtown Toronto. Great for a date night!
4. Riverdale Park East
Get ready to lace up your skates in one of Toronto’s hidden gems, Riverdale Park East. This outdoor rink boasts not just one but two skating rinks, including a large rink with boards and a charming figure-eight trail, perfect for skaters of all levels. But the excitement doesn’t stop there.
As you glide across the ice, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the downtown skyline, with the iconic CN Tower towering above. It’s an ideal spot to watch the sunset, making your pleasure skating experience truly unforgettable. It is one of the prettiest places to leisure skate in the city.
Surrounded by a large park, Riverdale Park East is more than just a skating destination. It’s a favourite and popular spot for tobogganing and offers spectacular views of Toronto’s downtown skyline. You can even make it a family outing with a fantastic playground for kids to enjoy.
To make the most of this experience, be sure to bring your own pair of skates. And when it’s time to warm up or grab a coffee, you’ll find Rooster Coffee conveniently located across the street.
So, if you’re looking for an enchanting place to skate while taking in stunning views of the city, Riverdale Park East is a must-visit in Toronto.
- Address: 550 Broadview Ave., Toronto, Ontario
- Skate Rental: No
- Best for: those seeking a scenic skating experience with stunning views of the downtown Toronto skyline and the CN Tower. It’s suitable for skaters of all levels, including beginners, who can enjoy the small figure-eight skating area.
☞ See Also: 25 Best Sunset Spots in Toronto
5. Evergreen Brick Works
Prepare to embrace a winter wonderland at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto. This small outdoor skating rink is a true gem, offering skate rentals and a picture-perfect experience for visitors. From December to March, weather permitting, you can skate your heart out.
If you’re new to skating, don’t worry. You can sign up for lessons for a fee. The rink’s surroundings are equally charming, with a cozy skating ring and delightful cafes and shops to explore. Parking is available on-site, but depending on where you’re coming from, reaching this location might take a bit of effort.
Evergreen Brick Works also lights up the rink at night, creating a magical ambiance. This natural setting with trees at the centre makes it an enchanting spot for a memorable Toronto leisure skating experience. There is also excellent winter hiking at the Brickworks, so if you’re up for a winter adventure, this is the place to be.
- Address: 550 Bayview Ave., Toronto, Ontario
- Skate Rentals: Yes
- Best for: those seeking an outdoor skating experience in a natural setting. It’s a fantastic spot for families, individuals, and anyone looking for a serene winter skating experience.
6. Colonel Samuel Smith Skating Trail
Embrace the serene beauty of winter at the Colonel Sam Smith Skating Trail in Toronto. This location offers a unique outdoor skating trail winding for 250 metres along a wooded shoreline. Skating on a large figure-eight-shaped trail, you’ll feel like you’re gliding through a winter wonderland.
Convenience is key here, with an indoor changing facility and washroom facilities available. Whether you’re a family or a solo skater, you’ll find ample parking and easy access right off the parking lot. The trail meanders through the trees, creating a magical experience.
What’s more, the skating trail is adjacent to the historic Power House Recreation Centre, a charming brick building built in 1888. It provides a warm place to lace up, especially on colder days.
You can even enjoy skating at night with the well-lit path and music to set the mood. So, if you’re seeking a unique, off-the-beaten-path skating experience in Toronto, the Colonel Sam Smith Skating Trail is a must-visit.
- Address: Colonel Samuel Smith Park, 3145 Lake Shore Blvd. W., Toronto, ON
Skate Rental: No
- Best for: those seeking a scenic outdoor skating experience for any skill level. With easy parking and an indoor changing facility, it’s well-suited for families and kids looking for a memorable winter activity.
7. Barbara Ann Scott Ice Trail at College Park
Immerse yourself in the heart of downtown Toronto at the Barbara Ann Scott Skating Trail at College Park. While there are no skate rentals, this beautiful ice trail offers a unique and serene skating experience. It’s conveniently located near the subway, making access a breeze, but keep in mind that parking can be a challenge. This rink also has a heated indoor area to change your skates and a washroom.
The real magic happens at night, as the trail is adorned with enchanting light decorations, creating a magical atmosphere for your evening skate. If you need a break or a snack, there are nearby shops to satisfy your cravings.
This lovely little ice skating trail at College Park offers a welcome escape from the crowds of Nathan Phillips Square, allowing for a more relaxed and enjoyable skating session. Plus, they ensure the ice conditions remain pristine with regular Zamboni maintenance, although there is no supervision.
So, if you’re seeking a quieter and more charming urban skating experience in Toronto, make sure to check out this hidden gem.
- Address: 444 Yonge St., Toronto, Ontario
- Skate Rental: No
- Best for: those seeking a charming skating experience in downtown Toronto. It’s a fantastic alternative to the bustling Nathan Phillips Square.
8. High Park
Discover the beauty of winter at the High Park skating rink in Toronto, one of the city’s most picturesque spots for outdoor skating. Nestled in the heart of High Park, this rink offers a serene and scenic experience that will truly enchant visitors.
While you may hear recommendations from other sites or social media to skate on Grenadier Pond, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Skating on Grenadier Pond and other open bodies of water within the park is not allowed for safety reasons. Stick to designated skating areas for a safe and enjoyable time.
For a magical and safe skating experience, the High Park skating rink is your best bet. So, if you’re eager to embrace the winter charm of Toronto, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely skate in this beautiful park.
- Address: High Park, 1873 Bloor St. W., Toronto, Ontario.
- Skate Rental: No
- Best for: those seeking a picturesque outdoor skating experience in one of Toronto’s most beautiful parks. It’s a perfect destination for individuals and families looking to enjoy the many winter activities that High Park offers.
9. Greenwood Outdoor Ice Rink
Get ready for an exciting skating adventure at the Greenwood Outdoor Ice Rink in Toronto. This dynamic rink offers not one but two skating options: a large ice hockey rink and a charming figure-8 skate pad right beside it.
The hockey rinks come with boards and a covered area, which is especially delightful on rainy days. You’ll find benches to comfortably put on your skates and even access to bathrooms if needed.
Street parking is available, and the warm indoor facility provides a perfect place to change and relax. Whether you’re into pick-up hockey (also known as shinny to us Canadians) or just gliding along, you’ll find a well-kept skating trail and a spacious outdoor rink to match your skating preferences.
And there’s more to Greenwood Outdoor Ice Rink—if you’re up for some tobogganing, there’s a great hill right in the park.
- Address: Greenwood Park, 150 Greenwood Ave., Toronto, Ontario
- Skate Rental: No
- Best for: those looking to enjoy outdoor ice hockey and recreational skating. It’s a versatile skating destination with options for both experienced skaters and those looking to play pick-up hockey.
10. Kew Gardens
Prepare for a delightful skating experience at Kew Gardens Ice Rink in the east end of Toronto. This lovely rink can be found in the heart of the Beaches neighbourhood and offers heated indoor change rooms, ensuring you stay warm and comfortable during your visit. What makes it truly special is the view of the beach as you skate, creating a unique and picturesque setting.
You’ll appreciate the convenience of restrooms and changing facilities right beside the rink, and they’re open all year, providing a cozy escape from the elements. Keep in mind that, being located on the beach beside Lake Ontario, it can get a bit chilly, so be sure to dress warmly.
The outdoor artificial ice rink at Kew Gardens is well-maintained and a favourite spot for pick-up hockey (shinny), adding to its fun atmosphere.
While you are in the area, I highly recommend taking a walk along the 3.5-kilometre boardwalk at Woodbine Beach, a walk through Glen Stewart Ravine, or a stop at one of the many local restaurants and cafes on Queen Street.
So, if you’re looking for an enchanting outdoor skating experience on the beach in Toronto, this is the place to be.
- Address: Kew Gardens, 2075 Queen St. E., Toronto, Ontario
- Skate Rental: No
- Best For: those seeking a unique outdoor skating experience with a view of the beach while skating. It’s a perfect destination for individuals and families looking for a picturesque and active setting.
☞ See Also: Discover Kew Gardens Park, Toronto
11. Withrow Park
Get ready for a winter wonderland at Withrow Park in Toronto. This neighbourhood park, located on Logan Avenue just south of Danforth Avenue, offers a fantastic outdoor skating experience that’s sure to excite visitors. Glide along the ice within the beautiful surroundings of the park.
But that’s not all; Withrow Park is a winter playground, offering tobogganing for an extra dose of fun. For those with furry friends, there’s an off-leash dog park to enjoy.
Convenience is key, as the park is located close to the vibrant Danforth area, known for its restaurants and shops. Plus, the subway is just a stone’s throw away, making access a breeze.
So, whether you’re into skating, tobogganing, or simply enjoying the winter ambiance, Withrow Park is the place to be for an unforgettable Toronto winter experience.
- Address: Withrow Park, 725 Logan Ave., Toronto, Ontario
- Skate Rental: No
- Best For: families, individuals, and anyone looking to enjoy outdoor activities close to the subway and Danforth neighbourhood during the winter season.
12. Paul Quarrington Outdoor Ice Rink at Sherbourne Common
Discover the hidden gem of downtown Toronto at the Paul Quarrington Outdoor Ice Rink at Sherbourne Common. This small yet serene outdoor Toronto skating rink promises an intimate and uncrowded experience.
While there are no amenities or skate rentals available on-site, you’ll find the convenience of a nearby Tim Hortons to satisfy your cravings. The rink is ideal for kids who want to learn to skate, offering a perfect setting for beginners to gain confidence on the ice.
The 920-square-foot rink, set against the stunning backdrop of Lake Ontario and the downtown skyline, provides a lovely waterfront view that’s sure to captivate visitors. If you’re looking for a peaceful and unique outdoor skating experience in Toronto, this is the place to be. Don’t miss the chance to skate with a view that blends the cityscape and the beauty of Lake Ontario.
- Address: Sherbourne Common, 61 Dockside Dr., Toronto, Ontario
- Skate Rental: No
- Best For: individuals, families, and kids who are learning to skate. The rink provides a stunning waterfront view, making it a perfect place to enjoy the beauty of Lake Ontario and the downtown skyline.
13. Mel Lastman Square Rink
Enjoy a thrilling winter skating experience at the Mel Lastman Square Rink in Toronto. This dynamic outdoor rink is located in a bustling square, creating an exciting and lively atmosphere for skaters.
While skate rentals are not provided on-site, you can bring your own skates to take full advantage of the ice. The rink is beautifully illuminated at night, adding a touch of magic to your skating adventure.
Located in North York, it’s a vibrant area with shops, restaurants, and easy access to public transportation. Mel Lastman Square Rink is the perfect spot for an active, urban skating experience. So, if you’re eager to embrace the winter vibes of Toronto, this is the place to be for an unforgettable skating session.
- Address: Mel Lastman Square, 5100 Yonge St., North York, Toronto, Ontario
- Skate Rental: No
- Best For: anyone who wants to enjoy skating in a bustling square surrounded by shops and restaurants with easy access to public transportation.
14. Union Station
Experience the thrill of outdoor skating in the heart of the city at Union Station in Toronto. This fantastic rink offers free skate rentals, making it accessible to all visitors.
Skating at Union Station is more than just gliding on ice; it’s a celebration. DJ skate nights on Fridays and Saturdays bring a lively atmosphere that’s sure to get you moving to the music.
If you’re new to skating, don’t worry. Weekly free skating lessons are available, helping you gain confidence on the ice. Union Station is not just a transportation hub; it’s a hub of winter excitement in the heart of Toronto. So, if you’re eager for an unforgettable and vibrant skating experience, make sure to visit this iconic spot.
- Address: Union Station, 65 Front St. W., Toronto, Ontario
- Skate Rental: Yes
- Best For: those looking for an exciting outdoor skating experience right in the heart of the city. The availability of free skate rentals makes it accessible to all visitors.
Is Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel Rink Open?
No. Unfortunately, Harbourfront’s outdoor ice rink permanently closed in early 2023 as Harbourfront Centre works to revitalize the area. It is anticipated that there will be temporary Harbourfront skating opportunities in the future, but at the moment there is no longer an outdoor skating rink at Harbourfront.
Former Address: 235 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2G8
Tips for Outdoor Leisure Skating in Toronto
Wear a Helmet
Safety first! Many rinks require skaters to wear a helmet.
- For children aged 6 and under, it’s mandatory to wear a CSA-approved helmet that covers the back and sides of the head on city rinks.
- For those 7 and over, a CSA-approved hockey helmet is recommended.
Take Advantage of Free Drop-in Programs
Many outdoor skating rinks in Toronto offer free drop-in programs, allowing you to enjoy skating without any cost.
Check Schedules and Hours
Be sure to check the schedules and hours of operation for the rink you plan to visit, as they can vary from one location to another. Many are also weather-dependent. This will help you plan your visit accordingly.
Arrive Prepared: To make the most of your skating experience, it’s a good idea to arrive fully dressed for your skate. This includes wearing appropriate clothing for the cold weather. Not all Toronto rinks rent skates, so you will want to confirm skate rental is available before you visit the rink.
Skating in Toronto FAQs
How many outdoor skating rinks are there in Toronto?
There are over 50 outdoor skating rinks all across Toronto. The majority of rinks are maintained and run by the City of Toronto.
The City of Toronto website provides all the information you need, including hours of operation, amenities, and address.
Is ice skating free in Toronto?
Almost all skating is free in Toronto. The City of Toronto maintains over 50 outdoor skating rinks across the city.
When is the best time of year for skating in Toronto, Ontario, Canada?
The best time for ice skating in Ontario is typically during the winter months, from late November to early March. This period offers the most reliable and enjoyable ice skating conditions.
However, the specific timing can vary from year to year based on weather conditions, so it’s a good idea to check with individual rinks for their opening and closing dates. If you’re looking for a classic winter skating experience, aim for the heart of the winter season.
Do you have to pay to skate at Nathan Phillips Square?
Skating at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto is free. However, skate rentals may be available for a fee if you don’t have your own skates.
The rink is usually open to the public during the winter months, and if you have your own skates, you can enjoy the ice without any additional cost.
Can you rent skates at City Hall, Toronto?
Yes, you can rent skates at Toronto City Hall, specifically at Nathan Phillips Square. The rental service allows visitors to enjoy ice skating at the iconic rink without the need to bring their own equipment.
Keep in mind that rental availability and fees can vary, so it’s a good idea to check with the specific skate rental facility at Nathan Phillips Square for the most up-to-date information.
Leisure Skating in Toronto: Final Thoughts
Toronto’s ice skating scene throughout the winter, including the holiday season, offers a fantastic blend of skating rinks and urban charm, providing plenty of options for outdoor winter fun. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or lacing up for the first time, Toronto welcomes ice skaters of all ages and skill levels to try skating in a Canadian winter tradition.
From skating at the iconic Nathan Phillips Square to the lesser-known gems tucked away in various neighborhoods, Toronto’s ice skating rinks are a place to try skating for the first time, spend time with family and friends, or perhaps head out on that first date!
So, whether you live in Toronto or are a visitor eager to experience winter in this vibrant city, don’t miss the opportunity to try ice skating in Toronto. It’s a timeless tradition that allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the season while creating memories that will warm your heart long after the snow has melted.
Before You Go: Learn More About Visiting Toronto
Now that you’ve read this post outlining the best places to skate in Toronto, you may be interested in reading my complete list of winter activities in Toronto and my review of the Sheraton Centre Hotel, located right across the street from Nathan Philip’s Square.