Best places to skate outdoors in the GTA

With the winter months ahead most likely spent in our respective bubbles, and not much to do indoors, we can take advantage of the great outdoors and enjoy the fresh air.

Ice skating is one of the safest and most enjoyable ways to stay social and active this winter the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has several great rinks and trails.

Here are some of our favourite rinks around the GTA that are open for skating this winter. Bundle up and enjoy!

All photos below were taken prior to COVID and do not reflect
proper physical distancing, which should be followed at all times.

You probably know Evergreen as a popular nature oasis in the middle of the city. Come winter, visitors come not only for the hiking trails but the aesthetically pleasing ice-skating trail circling a winter garden. The rink is open to the public again on December 27, with a maximum of 25 skaters per hour to maintain physical distancing.

Book through the Evergreen website.

*As of December 22, 2020 Evergreen has postponed their public skating until further notice due to COVID-19, click here for updates.

Colonel Samuel Smith Park

Photo by @cityofto

Colonel Samuel Smith Park is one of Toronto’s largest waterfront parks, spanning nearly 200 acres – and in it lies one of the best skating trails in the city. The figure-eight shaped trail is 250-metres in length and loops around trees for a magical winter experience.

Book through city website.

Photo by @towaterfront

Named after late author and musician Paul Quarrington, this rink boasts a beautiful waterfront view overlooking the city. After you’re done skating, you can enjoy a (physically distanced) stroll around Queens Quay to take in the city views.

Book through city website.

Paul Quarrington Ice Rink at Sherbourne Common

The Bentway

Photo by @impatrickt

This trail that weaves underneath the Gardiner is a popular spot for young urban dwellers and families alike. The trail is open from December 18, 2020 to January 31, 2021, and registration is mandatory to ensure they stay under their maximum limit of 25 skaters per hour. Unlike other rinks in the city, you have to register for ice time through Eventbrite. Registration is free but you have the choice to donate to help make winter care kits for those experiencing poverty and homelessness.

Book through their website.

Home to the first covered-outdoor skating rink in Toronto, regardless of the weather you’ll still be able to lace-up for a skate here. There is also a figure-eight skate trail to enjoy adjacent to the covered rink.

Book through city website.

Greenwood Park

Cranberry Ice Trail

Bonus: Cranberry Ice Trail

Photo by @thetravelduoo

For those who don’t mind a bit of drive up north, there are breathtaking skating trails in the Muskoka region. The popularity of Arrowhead Provincial Park’s forest skating trail means it can be quite hard to get a booking. For another beautiful option, the Cranberry Ice Trail located in the Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery is a great option. The 1.2km loop allows hot beverages and there is plenty to do on the farm including shopping and wine tasting.

Skating will be opening on December 27, weather permitting with bookings on a rolling basis starting December 21.

Book through their website.

In certain areas, including Toronto, there’s a 25-person limit on outdoor rinks due to COVID-19 restrictions. You can secure your spot on the rink by booking ahead of time through the city’s online booking tool, eFun.

Even though outdoor rinks are open, facilities like washrooms have reduced hours/capacity due to COVID-19 and you can check the status of each park here. Most skate rentals are also closed this year, so bring your own pair along with your mask to make sure you don’t miss your reservation.

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