skating toronto

People are still skating outdoors despite frigid Toronto weather

The city is currently in the cold grip of a deadly deep freeze,  but despite the frigid temperatures, Toronto's ice rinks are still seeing their share of skaters willing to brave the deadly winds.

Despite the bone-chilling weather, popular skating hotspots like Nathan Philips Square, the Natrel Rink and Grenadier Pond are still getting some action, albeit significantly fewer visitors than on days with less extreme temperatures.

And with the The Bentway Skate Trail only open for a few more weeks, a few dedicated gliders have committed to skating their favourite icy figure eight beneath the Gardiner Expressway. 

Downtown Toronto's largest skating trail will remain open to the public until Feb. 18, and according to a rink attendant on-site Wednesday, the number of skaters has hovered between 5 to 20 people in the evenings for the past few days. 

That may seem low, but considering temperatures have been dipping below -40 C with wind chill for the past few nights, a skate session on the 1.75-kilometre trail this week seems like a toe-numbingly ambitious excursion. 

So what constitutes as too cold to skate? It takes extreme circumstances for the Bentway to close its trail to the few brave souls looking to skate its figure-eight loop.

"During our winter season we keep The Bentway Skate Trail open and accessible as long as the ice is safe to skate on," said Kasia Gladki, the Bentway's Manager of Communications. 

Unusually warm weather is more likely to close the Bentway than cold temps, since melting ice could prove to be unsafe. And unless it's in the case of an unusually brutal blizzard, like the one that happened on Monday, the trail leaves it up to skaters to decide whether to come out on extremely cold days or not.

"Most people take notice of the City's weather advisory and don't come out on extreme cold days, but as a public space we feel it is our duty to be open and accessible whenever possible and when it is safe to do so." 

Hopefully the weather will warm up a little—but not too much—before peak skating season on the Bentway ends for the year. Make sure to check the skating trail's website or Twitter account to keep updated on closures. 

Photos by

Rebecca Pinkus


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