roller skates toronto

Roller skates might be Toronto's hottest new trend and they're suddenly everywhere

Roller skates are having a moment right now and they are reappearing all over Toronto. In fact, there is currently a worldwide shortage of roller skates.  

The origins of roller skates can be traced back to a theatre production in 1743 where actors attached wheels to the bottom of their footwear to mimic ice-skating on stage.

It wasn't long before investors saw potential and paved the way for the fun recreational activities of disco music, roller disco and roller derby. 

The result was a rich rolling-disco culture in Toronto. "Rolling's the rage," read a Sunday Star front page from July 22, 1979. 

The vintage trend has since gained major popularity and has formed a community in Toronto that celebrates the sport and culture while sharing tips and tricks. 

New this summer, Retro Rolla has popped-up at The Bentway offering rental skates by the hour as well as protective gear. Beginners and experts are all welcome to join in on the fun. 

The service is presenting people with the chance to safely skate through the streets of Toronto in retro style.  

Toronto roller skating enthusiast, Michka Moon discovered her passion for the sport in 2018 when she attended a session at Roller Palace. "I fell in love with it right away and then bought my own skates in 2019," she explained.  

Due to the rinks being closed during lockdown, Moon bought a matt from Ikea and started roller skating in her bedroom. "You can do a lot in one spot, including dance moves and the more you practice in a small space, the more control you can get." 

Moon now streams Beginners Basics lessons on here Instagram live.

Perhaps it is the glamorous viral TikToks we can thank for the surge in the trend or maybe Torontonians are simply looking for another way to get outside and be active this summer, regardless skaters can be spotted gliding all over the city. 

Earlier this week, staff at a local film festival were spotted at Ontario Place roller-skating to and from parked cars with goodie bags in true retro-diner style. 

After a year and a half of lockdown and with so much closed in the city, there is a need for fun socially-distanced summer activities which has created the perfect storm to lace up and I'm not complaining. 

Lead photo by

Retro Rolla/Brockwunder


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