Best Outdoor Family Skating
Looking for a winter outdoor activity for the entire family? It's time to sharpen those ice skates. Many of Toronto and GTA outdoor rinks are opening for family family winter fun. Here are some of the top outdoor rinks and skating trails to explore...
The Bentway Skate Trail
Between Strachan Ave. and Bathurst St.
The Bentway Skate Trail is located under the Gardiner Expressway right beside the Fort York Visitor Centre (250 Fort York Blvd.) between Strachan Ave. and Bathurst St. It is 220m and stretches from just east of the Visitor Centre to Bastion St. Winter Season runs from January 6 to mid-March (weather permitting). More info
Colonel Sam Smith Skating Trail
3131 Lakeshore Blvd. West, Toronto
This is Toronto’s first ice trail and a one-of-a-kind outdoor rink that expands into a figure-eight shape and covers 250 metres of pure Winter fun. It is linked to the park's greater trail network providing visitors with an immediate walkway connection to enjoy the trails. The facility features a rink change area which includes a large change room with benches and washrooms. Free.
Dufferin Grove Park Rink
875 Dufferin Street, Toronto
Dufferin Grove Park is public neighbourhood park located in Toronto, just south of Bloor, on the east side of Dufferin. There is a wonderful and family-friendly facility at Dufferin Grove Park Rink. If you don't have your own skates, you can borrow a pair. Visit their site for skate lending info. There are 2 rink pads so pleasure skating is always possible (check website for schedule). Typically one side is used for pleasure skating, and the other for shinny. They are close to parking, the subway, the Dufferin Mall, and they have a little indoor clubhouse with a wood stove to warm yourself with hot chocolate after skating.
Evergreen Brick Works
550 Bayview Avenue, Toronto
Bring your skates for free public skating! The Skating Trail is the perfect place to enjoy fresh air, exercise, and Winter fun—in nature—in the city. Imagine the snowflakes falling as you glide over the ice under the open sky with only the rafters of the former industrial building overhead. The ice rink is open weather permitting. Skate rentals are available. Children under 12 must be supervised and those under 6 years old or younger must wear a CSA approved helmet. Free. Note: Evergreen’s skating rink will be closed for the season due to ongoing restoration and redevelopment of the historic kiln building.
Main St. S. & Wellington St.W., Brampton
In the Winter, a temperature-controlled skating trail attracts families and skating enthusiasts from Brampton and beyond to experience skating through the trees of this majestic park. Designed in an irregular ‘canal’ shape, it features natural bends to allow skaters of all abilities to practise their skills, while maintaining a comfortable flow. Seating is also available along the trail. The trail boasts more than 2000 sq. meters of ice surface and can accommodate up to 500 skaters.
Markham Civic Centre Ice Rink
101 Town Centre Boulevard, Markham
The City of Markham maintains this outdoor skating facility (weather permitting) for you and your family to enjoy. Shinny hockey is not permitted. Located at 101 Town Centre Boulevard, north-west corner of Highway 7 and Warden Ave. Skate Rentals are available at the Markham Civic Centre. Free.
Mel Lastman Square Skating
5100 Yonge Street, North York
In the Winter months, the pond is frozen to become an outdoor ice rink - open from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. Call 3-1-1 for daily status information for your local rink. Free.
Mill Street, Richmond Hill
The Town's natural spaces offer residents many recreational opportunities year-round. Enjoy the crisp Winter air while skating on the natural ice of the Mill Pond or Lake Wilcox. But be sure the check that the ice is safe before you venture out for a leisurely skate or game of pond hockey. Signage is posted. Free.
Mississauga Celebration Square Rink
300 City Centre Drive, Mississauga
Call 3-1-1 for daily status information for your local rink.
Mississauga Celebration Square is a premier destination for Mississauga residents who can enjoy the location with free outdoor events, arts, culture, and heritage. In the Winter time, visitors take advantage of the outdoor ice rink which is one of the largest in the GTA. The rink is open seven days a week from 10:00 am to 10:30 pm all Winter long. Bring your skates and join in the fun. Free.
Nathan Phillips Square
100 Queen Street West, Toronto
Skate under the lights at Nathan Phillips Square's famous outdoor ice rink. Weather permitting, the rink is usually open daily from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm by mid-November, until February. Skate rentals and indoor change rooms are available to visitors. The three solid arches that stretch over the ice rink are officially named the "Freedom Arches" to signify the belief that "only in freedom can the Human Spirit soar." Skating is free, except for skate rentals. Call 3-1-1 for daily status information for your local rink.
Harbourfront Natrel Rink
235 Queens Quay West, Toronto
Toronto's favourite outdoor rink is lacing up for another great season. The Natrel Rink will open in November (weather permitting). Beautifully situated on Toronto's harbour. Open 7 days a week - check website for schedule. Free admission. Skate rentals and sharpening available. Music while you skate. Indoor change room. Easily accessible by TTC and plenty of parking.
Richmond Green Skate Trail
1300 Elgin Mills Road East, Richmond Hill
Richmond Green, located at Elgin Mills Road East and Leslie Street, provides a wide range of activities covering all four season's of the year. Did you know there is an outdoor Skate Trail on the west side of the park, behind the Tom Graham Arena? Lace up your skates (ice in Winter and in-line in the Summer) and set out for an enjoyable glide through the 250 metre looped trail's natural setting! The trees surrounding the trail are native to the area and many were transplanted from other areas of the park during the park's redesign. With the twinkling lights in the trees and music in the air, this is an outdoor Winter tradition you'll want to experience! Call first to confirm schedule. Lights for evening skating, heated washroom and changeroom, ample parking. Free.
Sherbourne Common Skate Pad
61 Dockside Dr., Toronto
Call 3-1-1 for daily status information for your local rink.
Sherbourne Common is a new waterfront park that has transformed an industrial area into some much needed public green space just off the lakefront. During the Winter, the park includes a 920 square metre skating rink featuring stunning views of Lake Ontario and Toronto’s downtown skyline. A seating wall surrounds the eastern and western edge of the rink and rubber mats have been installed to make it easier to lace up. Free.
Editor's note: The Bronte Creek's Outdoor Skating Rink has unfortunately been closed permanently. Due to the age and repairs required for both the facility and equipment, the operation of the olympic size ice skating rink was no longer feasible. The picturesque outdoor skating rink Cedarena in Markham will also not open for the season.
*This article was updated as of December 2017.
Know of another great place to take the family skating? Please share below!