While we Torontonians like to complain about the cold, many of us have a soft spot for winter. This time of year provides the perfect opportunity to brew some tea, cuddle up under a blanket, and indulge in a favourite book or television show. Of course, there are also days when fresh air and exercise holds more appeal than hibernating. If this sounds familiar, you’re in the right city!
When it comes to winter activities in Toronto, I’m partial to skating. The local rink is a great place to get the blood pumping—and if you have little ones, few things are as rewarding as helping them learn a new skill. If you’re looking to lace up your skates this winter, try one of these popular rinks in Toronto’s west end…
1) High Park
Was there any doubt that High Park would find a place on this list? In the spring and summer, this sprawling green space is ideal for trail walks, tennis matches, and even bird watching. In winter, there are just as many activities to enjoy—and skating is one of the highlights.
The ice-thickness monitoring program is no longer in effect at Grenadier Pond, which means the artificial rink is your best bet. But don’t worry: your High Park surroundings will be just as beautiful! Enjoy the towering evergreen trees and expansive skies above as you take a spin around the rink (you’ll find it where the tennis courts are located in the summer).
2) Dufferin Grove Park
Dufferin Grove Park is close to the hearts of many west enders. This beloved outdoor space is all about community, and that warm feeling extends into the colder months. The rink, which features two ice pads (one for hockey and one for leisure skating), is a very friendly place to be on a cold day.
Inside the cozy clubhouse, you’ll find skaters of all ages enjoying hot chocolate, soup, slices of organic bread, and other treats from the snack bar. There are toys and board games at hand for visitors with kids, and on-site staff are available to sharpen skates. Don’t have a pair? Luckily, you can borrow some for a suggested donation of just $2.
3) Trinity Bellwoods Park
Looking for something fun to do with friends or family? Trying to come up with a cute idea for date night? If you’re planning to get out and enjoy winter in the Trinity Bellwoods area, you should consider hitting the ice at the park. Since the 1960s, this neighbourhood rink has been the perfect meeting place for locals who love to skate.
The on-site change rooms are clean, and the ice is well-lit once the sun starts to set. If you’re around during the day, one of the biggest draws will be the picturesque settings (anyone who’s ever been to the park will know what I’m talking about). To top it all off, you can explore one of the city’s hippest neighbourhoods after your skate session!
4) Colonel Samuel Smith Park
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill rink. In fact, this Etobicoke skating hotspot is more of a trail. Shaped like a figure eight, the curves at Colonel Samuel Smith Park are perfect for gliding. The stretches of uninterrupted ice and nearby wooded areas also allow for moments of solitude.
From its charming lampposts to its proximity to the shoreline, there’s a lot to love about Toronto’s first ice skating trail. The only real downside is, you’ll have to bring your own skates. If that’s not a problem, head down to Lakeshore Boulevard West and Kipling—you won’t be disappointed!
5) Wallace Emerson Rink
Wallace Emerson has seen a ton of revitalization in recent years, and soon the area will be home to a brand new community centre. The proposed plans will include a beautiful skating trail, which I can’t wait to check out. In the meantime, the Wallace Emerson Rink serves the community well!
On Dufferin, just a stone’s throw from Dupont, you’ll find this community skating space. It shares many of the features that make some of my other favourite rinks in Toronto so great. First off, it’s split into two ice pads—one for shinny and one for leisure skating. It also offers a snack bar, books and games, and equipment rentals. If you’re new to Wallace Emerson, be sure to check out the rink before the seasons change!
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