GREATER TORONTO – After an unseasonably warm month of December, ice skating fanatics across the GTA have finally been able to enjoy some prime ice conditions on many of the area’s beloved outdoor rinks.
When it comes time to head out and hit the ice, though, there are lots of questions you should ask when deciding on a rink — especially if the kids are coming along. For example, are there supervisors or rental facilities located on-site, or are safety-approved skating aids permitted?
Luckily, there are a few rinks around the GTA that go the extra mile to accommodate many different guests. Here are a few of our favourites:
Natrel Rink at the Harbourfront Centre
Skating Hours: 10 AM – 9 PM daily
Site Facilities: Heated change rooms, lockers, washrooms, skate sharpening, skate &helmet rentals
Accessibility: Wheelchairs permitted; assistive devices and service animals prohibited
A favourite of downtown condo residents, the Natrel Rink is located just south of Queen’s Quay West, giving visitors a chance to check out the recently-unveiled improvements to the roadway nearby.
The rink is home to a wide range of events, including “Learn to Skate” introductory sessions for various age groups, and popular “DJ Skate Nights” featuring the sounds of soul, hip hop, Caribbean music and more. The adjacent Lakeside Local Bar and Grill provides a warm-up spot where you can keep an eye on the skating action below.
Markham Civic Centre Ice Rink
Skating Hours: 10 AM – 10 PM Thursday to Tuesday (12 PM – 10 PM Wednesdays)
Site Facilities: Skate rental (open weekends only)
With several area favourites (including Cedarena, Toogood Pond, and Mill Pond) closed for the season, the Markham Civic Centre ice rink is this year’s best bet for families who’d like to skate outdoors on a professionally-maintained service, without having to leave York Region. It’s also located just steps away from the reinvented Downtown Markham – so you and your family have plenty of options for eating, shopping, or catching a movie after you hit the ice.
Mississauga Celebration Square
Skating Hours: 10 AM – 10:30 PM daily (not patrolled before 4:30 PM on weekdays)
Site Facilities: Skate patrol, skate & helmet rentals, skate sharpening
Accessibility: CSA-approved skating aids permitted; wheelchairs permitted
Located in the heart of Mississauga’s Square One neighbourhood, Celebration Square – a favourite summer destination for Canada Day festivities – is also home to one of the most popular outdoor rinks for residents of the western GTA.
With flexible accessibility rules and a routinely-enforced “Skaters’ Code of Conduct,” this rink is perfect for beginners who may require skating aids and a slower pace. It’s also conveniently located right across the road from Square One Shopping Centre – a must-visit family destination in its own right.
Whether you’re renting or bringing your own gear, it’s important to ensure children are wearing CSA-approved helmets – and that ice conditions are safe – before lacing up. For more tips on winter skating safety, check out the “Skating” section of this winter safety guide from Caring for Kids.