toronto ice skating history

What skating used to look like in Toronto

Time to put away that fall gear - the skating season is officially upon us. Toronto's public rinks are now open for shinny and the first Bambi-like forays onto the hard stuff, despite a recent uptick in temperatures.

Unfortunately, there's no more skating on the Don or the Toronto Bay, as there was until around the 1930s and 40s - the temperatures don't get low enough and it was probably never all that safe anyway.

In winters of old, however, every patch of frozen water became prime real estate for skaters, even shallow puddles in vacant lots. Here's a look back at when skaters in Toronto looked like subjects in an L. S. Lowry painting.

toronto ice skating

Skaters on the Toronto Bay

toronto ice skating

A frozen Don River near Riverdale Park, looking south to Gerrard

toronto ice skating

Skaters at Christie Pits

toronto ice skating

Figure skaters put on an outdoor show

toronto ice skating

A group of girls take to the ice between 1910 and 1912

toronto ice skating

Women lace up beside Grenadier Pond in High Park

toronto ice skating

Skaters on Grenadier Pond

toronto ice skating

Nervous skaters cling together in High Park

toronto ice skating

Moss Park skating championships race

toronto ice skating

Another view of a skate race at Moss Park

toronto ice skating

Women on the ice at Riverdale Park

toronto ice skating

Wide shot of a frozen Riverdale Park

toronto ice skating

A makeshift rink on a vacant lot

toronto ice skating

Figure skaters show off for the camera at Varsity Arena

toronto ice skating

Heavy winter coats on display at Varsity Arena

toronto ice skating

Rinks at Christie Pits, then Willowvale Park.

toronto ice skating

Skaters at Withrow Park

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: City of Toronto Archives


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

Someone found a lost pond on an old map of Toronto

Toronto police seized this gun over the weekend and people have questions

U of T historians just flamed the Ford government in an open letter

Vaccine pop-up clinics in Toronto are resulting in ridiculously long lines

Here's why Toronto's streets may end up being a lot dirtier than usual this spring

A Toronto pharmacy just celebrated 1,000 vaccine shots with confetti cannons

Here's what Toronto's long-awaited pedestrian bridge looks like now that it's open

Doug Ford confirms that paid sick days are coming for Ontario workers