Family-friendly city ice skating rinks and trails
This quintessentially Canadian experience is perfect for kids of all ages as the joy of skating doesn’t get old, even as your family grows.
Urban parks, ponds and canals are converted into scenic skate trails and rinks each winter, against the backdrop of snowy city skylines. Many of these public skating rinks are accessible by public transportation, making it easy to go skating without the hassle of finding parking.
Note: Always check the weather conditions before you go and make sure the skating rink is open.
Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
One of Toronto’s most photographed attractions, this downtown rink is located directly in front of City Hall and beside the famous TORONTO sign.
Rentals are available on-site, making it a great impromptu urban adventure.
Details: free; skate rentals are available
Location: 100 Queen Street West, Toronto
Don’t miss skating the über-cool 250-metre skate trail that snakes underneath the downtown Gardner Expressway.
Gather around the fire pit, relax on the comfy couches in the lounge area and enjoy snacks and drinks from the state-of-the-art bar just steps away.
Location: 250 Fort York Boulevard, Toronto
Channel your inner Olympian at this 5-metre-wide oval rink at College Park, named after the 1948 gold medal winner.
Conveniently located near the Toronto subway line, it’s easy to reach. Coffee and other hot drinks can be enjoyed at the plaza next door to the skating rink.
Location: 420 Yonge Street, Toronto
The Evergreen Brick Works Skating Trail was created with kids and beginners in mind, with a built-in refrigeration system that’s designed to keep the ice fresh and the conditions just right for new skaters to find smooth sailing.
The skating trial is sheltered from the wind by the nearby factory building, but you’ll still get plenty of fresh air thanks to the open roof above.
Head to the nearby Evergreen Marketplace for warmth and snacks after your skate.
Details: free; open December to March 2023; skate and helmet rentals are available; check website for times; paid parking available
Location: 550 Bayview Avenue, Toronto
Right in downtown Brampton, the festive Gage Park Skating Trail lights up each night to welcome winter visitors.
With holiday lights glowing, a cozy firepit where you can warm up your hands and music playing while you skate, it’s easy to see why spirits run high after an evening at Gage Park Skating Trail.
Location: 45 Main Street South, Brampton
The first skating trail in the city of Etobicoke, this figure eight loop is ideal for families with kids, as it’s open during the day.
Enjoy the beautiful shoreline scenery of Lake Ontario as you skate along.
Perhaps the most iconic skating trail in the country, this natural skateway opens each winter when the Rideau Canal freezes.
It stays open as long as the canal is frozen and stretches 7.8 kilometres between downtown Ottawa and the Hartwells Locks, making it the longest outdoor groomed skateway in the world.
Parking, rest areas and rentals make it a breeze. Like the city itself, you have to experience this firsthand to understand how cool it is. And be sure to sample the famous BeaverTail pastry.
Location: downtown Ottawa
The free downtown skating is just one more reason to visit Kingston. Watch the Zamboni clean the ice before you hop back on the rink.
Head across the street to the cozy Kingston Coffee House for a hot beverage to warm you up.
Location: downtown Kingston
Kawarthas and Northumberland
Look for the green flag at the Peterborough Lift Lock on the heritage Trent-Severn Waterway to announce the canal is open for skating.
It’s the perfect day-time family outing and evening date-night destination. Be sure to check the website for updates on skating days and times.
Location: Trent-Severn Waterway
The iconic kid-friendly amusement park at Storybook Gardens opens each winter to welcome Canada’s young skaters.
Families flock to this winter skating trail, which is extra wide to give even clumsy skaters room to wobble and just 250 metres long, so you don’t have to worry about small kids getting too tired.
Rentals are free on a first-come, first-serve basis, so make sure to get there early.
Details: registration is required; admission options include a day pass or an unlimited skating pass for the winter season; skate rentals are available
Location: 1958 Storybook Lane, London
York, Durham and Headwaters
Downtown Richmond Hill’s 250-metre looped skating trail offers outdoor excitement and fun on the ice.
Located on the grounds of the Richmond Green Sports Complex and Park, the trail offers visitors access to a heated change room and washrooms. Be sure to bring your own skates since no skate rentals are available.
Details: free admission; open daily December to March; parking is available on the property
Don’t miss out on this Muskoka winter staple—the skating trail at Memorial Park Winter Village in the downtown area of historic Bracebridge is a favourite for kids.
The trail wraps around a magical holiday-themed winter village where you can warm up with toasty beverages and tasty food after a day or evening of skating.
Glide up to the front doors of Science North in Sudbury on this 1.5-kilometre skating path. The heated change facilities at both ends of the path are a big bonus.
The skating path typically opens when the minimum ice safety standards are met. Historically, this has been mid-January to March.
Location: Ramsey Lake Road, Greater Sudbury
Located along Sault Ste. Marie’s scenic waterfront, this beautiful skating trail gives you and your family incredible views of the lake.
The trail is in the popular Clergue Park and welcomes thousands of visitors each year. You can skate throughout the day or check out the trail at night for a family evening out.
Location: 10 East Street, Sault Ste. Marie
Located northeast of downtown Kenora at Rabbit Lake, the site includes a pond hockey rink and a skating trail.
Washrooms, a shack and bench shelters are available for visitors to use.
Find cozy coffee shops and cafes to warm up with a hot chocolate or latte after your day of skating.
And for more fun places to skate, check out the countryside skating trails in Ontario.
Last updated: January 27, 2023