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Hold off on hibernating, lace up your skates: Rinks near CityPlace

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There’s a tendency to hibernate when the temperatures dip below zero, but it’s a healthy and fun idea to dress in layers and get some exercise and fresh (chilly) air. Thankfully, there are several skating rinks near CityPlace that allow you to do just that.

The Bentway Skate Trail is the newest rink, only a few days old, under the Gardiner Expressway between Strachan Avenue and Bastion Street, for a length of 220 metres. Future plans extend it right to Bathurst Street.

Hundreds of Torontonians embraced the -20 degrees cold temperature on Sunday to join Mayor John Tory at The Bentway Skate Trail Grand Opening Skate Party at the Fort York Visitor Centre located right next to Concord CityPlace! The 220-metre skating trail is part of the 1.75km Bentway public space recreation project, which will eventually be extended near to the Concord Canada House site in Concord CityPlace on Spadina Avenue. If you missed The Bentway Mayor’s Skate Party on Sunday, there will be more family friendly events coming to the Concord CityPlace Canoe Landing Park Skating Rink! The latest version of the Canoe Landing Park Skating Rink has been installed with an ice rink refrigeration system to help extend the skating season for as long as possible! . . #concordcityplace @blogto #torontolife @dailyhiveto #toronto #lovetoronto #mytoronto #Repost • • •

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It’s open Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. and Sundays, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. until March.

There are free skate rentals on Mondays from 6 – 9 p.m., provided by Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

Otherwise, skate rentals are available Monday – Friday, 4 p.m. – 9 p.m., Saturdays 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Two hours of an adult skate rental is $10. Skates for kids 12 and under are $5 for two hours. Helmets are $5.00; skate sharpening is $8, and lockers are $2.

There are several events planned, such as DJ parties on Friday nights, DJ and ice-breaking workshops on a biweekly basis, and pop-up 15-minute lessons on Monday nights.

The rink is the first part of a project to turn 1.7 kilometres under the highway from Spadina Avenue to Strachan into a cultural and recreation area with green space, an amphitheatre, outdoor galleries, pedestrian trails and cyclist paths.

The CityPlace Rink is open every day at 9 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. until March, with time slots for free skate, kids skate and hockey.

Posted by CityPlace Fort York BIA on Thursday, January 4, 2018

There hasn’t been a lack of cold so far this winter, but there is still a new chiller in place to keep the rink open even if it warms up.

Seats and lights are also in place, making the rink a fun and welcoming feature of Canoe Landing Park.

There’s also a synthetic ice rink at Ontario place, located on the west island with views of the lake.

It’s open on weekends on Fridays, 6 p.m. – 11 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. and Sundays, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

The rink features a concession stand, skate rentals and sharpening and music.

Another view of the lake is available at the rink at the Harbourfront, the Natrel Rink, which has been around for more than 30 years.

The rink is open Sunday – Thursday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. It has an indoor change room with lockers and rentals.

Rentals are affordable. Adult skates for two hours are $12.50, and skates for kids under 12 are $6.25. Helmet rentals are $6.25. Skate and helmet combos are available for adults at $15 and kids at $10. Skate sharpening is $10.

Boxcar Social is a restaurant right next to the rink with amazing coffee — they have a rotating list from all over North America, as well as booze and food.

And of course what everyone is talking about is skating right on Lake Ontario, which is not recommended at all. The Toronto police, Toronto Fire and first responders say it’s extremely dangerous since the ice is not frozen all the way through and there is constant movement of water under the ice. Not to mention that icebreakers breakthrough, which is not always visible on the ice a few hours later.


Diana Pereira

Diana Pereira is a journalist, a university journalism teacher, a world traveller, a fair-weather kayaker, and a frequent bruncher. She's working on her mermaid status, travelling to as many countries as she can that include a body of water and when she's home in Toronto, you can find her in a kayak on Lake Ontario.