harbourfront centre

Toronto's most scenic skating rink is gone forever but here's what's replacing it

Toronto residents may be largely unhappy with the loss of what was undeniably among the city's most scenic and lively skating rinks, but it looks like they will soon be able to at least try and enjoy the public plaza replacing it.

Photos recently taken of the Harbourfront Centre, which used to be home to the Natrel outdoor rink with its unrivalled views of both the lake and the CN Tower, shows that construction on the former site of the attraction is nearing completion, if not fully done.

It appears, based on a snapshot shared to a local community Facebook group, that the paving stones have been laid on the newly-levelled ground, with built-in wooden bench seating now installed along the edge of the space.

The landscaping work also looks to be complete, though the area is still surrounded by temporary fencing.

harbourfront centre

A photo shared to a Queen's Quay community Facebook group shows the public plaza looking pretty much finished after more than a year of construction.

The upgrade (or downgrade, some would say) comes after some 1.5 years of construction that shut the rink down permanently last winter.

Though Harbourfront Centre assured residents at the time that "there will be opportunities for temporary winter skating activations within the new space," some see the new square as "useless empty space."

Unfortunately, it was a lack of funding that led to the closure, as the rink apparently had too many issues to repair while the institution is navigating a dire financial situation that has it making cuts and struggling to operate

Still, the rink's demise is part of something positive too: a larger overhaul of the property, which entails this new year-round piazza with the potential for a range of programming and events, an improved concert stage, new signage and other renovations to the centre's buildings.

harbourfront centre

City of Toronto documents show some of the facelifts coming to Harbourfront Centre in the form of signage.

Though the plaza construction was originally due to wrap up in summer 2023, hopefully it will be debuting to the public soon.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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