The top 25 outdoor skating rinks in Toronto by neighbourhood
Outdoor skating rinks in Toronto are the perfect opportunity to embrace winter and get outside. While the colder months can frequently bring out the desire to hibernate, we're lucky to live in a city that has a generous amount of outdoor rinks with a variety of scenery and activities to nudge us out of our warm houses.
Here are my picks for the top outdoor skating rinks in Toronto by neighbourhood.
The rink at the Hodgson Public School grounds was rebuilt in 2014, and with that came a bright new change room overlooking the double ice surface. There's a well equipped rink for shinny and one for pleasure skating.
With less generous hours than other Toronto rinks, Kew Gardens has a list of amenities to make up for it. They have specific shinny schedules available for men, women and family. Pleasure skating is also available.
Feel like a game of shinny followed by a less competitive, leisurely skate? You can do both at Dufferin Grove Park, with two side by side rinks appealing to both sides of the skating spectrum.
Rennie Park has a hockey rink and a skating trail. The skating trail is built around a tree, with no fences allowing for late night adventures. The hockey rink has proper boards, a scoreboard and sound system. There's also a large change room and observation room.
Regent Park is equipped with washrooms, cubbies, benches and matting. The rink, located at Shuter and Sumach, has a decent schedule for shinny, with lights and fencing for improved playing.
The Giovanni Caboto rink has two ice pads available, offering a good schedule for shinny and public skating.
The rink at Withrow Park is a busy spot with a robust shinny schedule. While the change rooms are on the small side, the atmosphere is relaxed and has great leisure skating as well.
The Wallace Emerson Park rink is bright and friendly, with schedules with for public skating and shinny for adults and youth. The pleasure skating side isn't fenced in, so it's great for late night skates.
The rink on Bathurst just south of Dundas in Alexandra Park boasts two surfaces, one for pleasure skating and one for shinny. The hockey rink, which is a skate park in the summer, is just as busy in the winter with well populated games of shinny with players of all levels.
The skating trail at Colonel Samuel Smith Park is busy, but it's worth it. It is located next to the historical Power Plant building and there are large change rooms to store your things. The figure 8 trail offers a change of pace compared to many Toronto rinks.
Given Nathan Phillips Square's proximity to the Eaton's Centre and other tourist attractions, it's natural this rink runs on the busier side. However, it's one of the best equipped in the city, with change rooms, snack booths, skate rentals and food trucks.
While the Natrel Rink can be a bit more touristy than the rest, its location and amenities make for an enjoyable skate. With the CN Tower facing North and brisk Lake Ontario facing South, there's plenty of photo ops and scenery to gaze at as you loop around.
Campbell Avenue Playground offers the neighbourhood feel many of us have grown to love in Toronto's community rinks. There's a snack bar available featuring traditional snacks and hot beverages to warm up after your skate. The change rooms are spacious.
If you're looking for a game of shinny while enjoying a view of the city skyline, head to Christie Pits. Located near the northwest corner of the park, there's a well maintained hockey rink with pleasure skating, shinny and generous hours, all while overlooking the park.
The rink at Greenwood Park has a bright, welcoming warming room allowing non-skaters to still hang out and watch. Most notably, the rink has a covered roof over the hockey pad allowing for less snow build up and better conditions overall.
Markham Civic Centre boasts one of the largest outdoor skating rinks in the GTA, and is a gorgeous rink for pleasure skating. While shinny isn't available here, it's a great rink to go for a skate outside of the Markham Civic Centre.
Mel Lastman Square is the place to go for a quiet uptown skate (except during official events when it gets busy), and is conveniently walking distance from North York Centre subway station.
From December 8 to March 18, Toronto will be treated to a free winter festival right on the lake. Dubbed Winter at Ontario Place, the festival will include a synthetic skating rink on the grounds of the old amusement park.
Ramsden Park has two outdoor rinks allowing for the perfect schedule with ample shinny and open skating. It also offers a larger indoor space for staff and guests.
Nestled in the courtyard between the Scarborough Town Centre and Scarborough Civic Centre, Albert Campbell Square is another excellent rink to get outside and practise your skating.
The rink at Cedarvale Park has a large warming area and well maintained ice surface to allow for a pleasurable shinny experience.
While Trinity Bellwoods Park is a wildly popular spot in the summer, this rink is relatively quiet, offering the perfect atmosphere to go for a skate or play some shinny without the crowds.
Ryerson Community Park is the closest you'll get to pond skating in Toronto. It's a common spot for late night shinny players, as there are no fences for it to ever really be closed off.
Two outdoor rinks can be found at the North Toronto Memorial CRC (Eglinton Park), and have a generous options for pleasure skating and shinny. The rink is well equipped with lockers and change rooms.
Otter Creek may have a well-used warming area and change room area, but the rink itself is a great surface with a variety of skating opportunities scheduled. High schoolers from Lawrence Park keep the shinny games on the competitive side.
Hector Vasquez. With files from Meghan Jeffery.
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