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Photo Credit: Brendan Church
Skating is a wonderful winter activity with Nathan Phillips Square being the most popular location to skate in Toronto.
The square is equipped with the Toronto sign which definitely helps its popularity ranking as one of the top attractions.
Many, including ourselves, have taken our first glides (or should we say slips and slides) across the skating rink, here.
It's always nice to see families and friends skating and having a good time at Nathan Phillips Square, so it's definitely worth the visit.
Skate rentals and skate sharpening are available at this location and range from $10-15 (conditions apply, access website for details: https://nathanphillipssquareskaterentals.com/index.html).
The skating rink can get crowded, though.
If you want to try skating elsewhere, here are a couple alternative skating rinks in Toronto that have skate rentals for you to choose from:
Photo Credit: Better Then Blog
Located just south of Fort York, this skating rink is in the shape of a figure eight in comparison to Nathan Phillips's oval.
The Bentway has many special events including the Polar Bear Skate (raising awareness and donations for those living with limited access to warm clothing), free* hot chocolate Fridays, and free* skate rental Mondays.
*Transportation to and from events not included. Other charges may apply. Free at the time of writing this article. For accurate and up to date info please refer to organizations' / event organizers' websites / social accounts.
Note: images are for illustration purposes only and do not represent the actual events, products, or items
Cultural events are also held, here, year round which can be found from time to time in our Free* Things to Do in Toronto This Week article.
Evergreen Brickworks is such a wonderful location to visit with young families or beginner ice skaters of all ages who enjoy nature and are eco-friendly.
Skate rentals and skate sharpening are about $5 each but prices and conditions may vary.
Double check website for more details: https://www.evergreen.ca/evergreen-brick-works/explore/recreation/skating/.
Since Evergreen is a charity, all proceeds go to nature play for children as this is a not for profit organization.
It feels good to know that what you're contributing towards the greater good.
The skating rink is partially indoors and partially outdoors with the roof open to the sky, but there are walls around the rink along with a bit of trees in the middle creating an intimate setting.
The skating rink is connected to the indoor Saturday Farmers Market and Sunday Vintage Market which we cover in our Ongoing Free* Things to Do in Toronto article.
Eats, drinks, and items are, of course, for sale but the markets are free* to attend in case you’re curious to see what’s available.
Photo Credit: Matthew Fournier and Kelli Mcclintock
Having so much fun skating that you want to get into the sport but don't know which kind of skate to choose from?
Depending on your comfort level, you can choose from figure skates or hockey skates.
Both have pros and cons.
Personally speaking, figure skates are easier to learn how to skate with because the blade is longer which helps when learning to balance as there is more contact surface between the ice and the blade.
One thing to watch out for is the pick in front which is mainly used by figure skaters for their tricks.
Hockey skates are good to graduate to but everyone learns differently, so it all depends on personal preference, really.
Hockey skates have less blade to ice contact because both the front and the back of the blade are rounded off.
This allows for faster gliding and manoeuvres as noticed during hockey games.
The trick is to keep your weight balanced and centred on one foot while you push off to the side with the other foot.
Practicing by rollerblading (during the off seasons) or by simply doing pilates, barre, yoga, or other independent exercises that activate and strengthen key target muscles can help prepare you for ice skating especially when doing the action mentioned above.
Photo Credit: Ali Kazal
Want to take your skating to the next level without leaving the city?
Why not skate along the Colonel Samuel Smith Park trail.
The trail is in the shape of a giant figure eight and has the Toronto city line far into the backdrop.
It's one of the great spots to see the sunrise or sunset in Toronto.
Unfortunately, there aren't any skate rentals, here, though.
Speaking of sunsets and figure eights, we love Riverdale Park East for skating and tobogganing because it has both an albeit smaller figure either skating rink than Colonel Samuel Smith Park but it also has a beautiful Toronto sunset locations, as well.
It's also a lot less crowded.
No skate rentals available, here.
Photo Credit: Klara Kulikova
Another one of our favourites for being less crowded is Toronto Metropolitan University Square.
We like that it's centrally located which makes for a great date idea.
Go skating and grab something to eat or go skating and watch a movie.
The combination possibilities are endless.
No skate rentals available, here.
The city is peppered with neighbourhood skating rinks, so if you want to get into the sport, definitely search “skating rinks near me” or go onto the City of Toronto's website for list of locations (https://www.toronto.ca/data/parks/prd/facilities/outdoor-rinks/index.html).
Who knows, maybe you'll go skating rink hopping! :)
Photo Credit: Designecologist
Did you know you can rent a skating rink?
Ideas that come to mind for renting one are hosting a part of some sort or making a proposal :).
For more information on how to book a skating rink, access website: https://booking.toronto.ca/booking/Facilities/FacilitiesSearchWizard.asp?SearchForReset=Y&SearchFor=B&facil_grp=icerinks
Winter in Canada is usually cold, so it's always a good idea to be properly dressed.
Check out our Ultimate Winter Jacket for Men and Women article to learn more about how you can stay warm during the winter.
All winters are not equal, though.
There are some winters that are quite mild, which further reinforces the above jacket article since you remove or add layers depending on how cold or wet the weather is.
What's also good to note is that if the winter is mild, skating rinks are still open usually up to around 8 degrees celsius.
Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema
It's good to know that even though the snow may have melted, skating rinks are still open.
Do double check ice conditions before embarking on your skating adventure: https://www.toronto.ca/data/parks/prd/facilities/outdoor-rinks/index.html
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