bentway skating 2020

Popular Toronto skating trail will reopen this winter with new restrictions in place

The Bentway will officially reopen its large figure-8 ice skating trail under Toronto's Gardiner Expressway this winter, but things will operate a bit differently in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

First off, you can't simply lace up and hit the ice: Registration will be required when the popular, 220-metre-long skate trail opens up on Friday, December 18.

Registration opens this Saturday, December 12, at midnight, but you don't have to wait in an online queue for a chance to experience Toronto's version of winter wonderland under a roaring highway.

Six one-hour-long timeslots will be available every day that the Bentway is open this season, with a maximum capacity of 25 skaters at a time. Registrations will be accepted until the day before and are available on a rolling basis via Eventbrite.

Every Saturday at 10 a.m., a new crop of timeslots will come available for the following week. This is the time to hit refresh every 10 seconds until the calendar goes live (but only if you plan on skating within the next seven days.)

Walk-up registration will be available only when there are unclaimed timeslots, and cannot be guaranteed.

While still a free activity, The Bentway is asking patrons to help support vulnerable people in Toronto by donating a small amount ($5 is suggested) to "the creation of Winter Care Kits for our community members experiencing poverty and homelessness."

You can tack your donation onto the Eventbrite ticket when reserving a spot.

"We are excited to be able to open our skate trail under the Gardiner for fun and safe skating this winter season," reads a notice posted to the Bentway's website late last week.

"We know that this winter won't be easy, and we know how important it will be to find a way to get outside get outside for fitness and recreation. That's why we are taking all precautions necessary to ensure that the winter skating experience is both safe and fun."

In addition to following all of the City and province's public health guidelines, The Bentway is implementing a number of its own pandemic-time skating rules. 

They are summarized on the organization's website as follows:

Fingers crossed that Toronto's wildly-fluctuating weather doesn't cut skating season short this year.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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