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winter city: skating at harbourfront

February 9

What better way to spend a cold, yet bright winter’s day but skating in the heart of the city? The Natrel Rink at Harbourfront in the centre of Toronto’s waterfront has long been my favourite rinks in the city. Sadly, I’ve been living in the ‘hood for years and it took me until last season to get up the guts to take a stroll down the street and skate all by my lonesome. But once I did it’s once again become one of my favourite ways to enjoy the winter more and get a little move on.

Although this is an artificial rink, its location directly beside the lake offers the impression of almost skating right on the lake. Skating is such an inexpensive past time that healthily gets the heart pumping. To purchase skates is  a relatively low outlay of funds, even if you go for the full-on properly constructed figure skates like I did – not due to my expert figure skating skills (believe me I’m far from expert) but for the insulating properties that allow me to skate a lot longer than in those single layer leather, less expensive versions. And it can be even cheaper, if one is only a now and then skater, via rentals which Harbourfont offers.

Additional offerings include an indoor change room with lockers and washrooms, three outdoor fire pits to warm by, skating lessons for a variety of ages, and hot food and drinks at the rinkside restaurant, Lakeside EATS. I have yet to experience DJ Skate Saturday Nights that apparently showcase some of the country’s hottest DJs, spinning hip hop to house and everything in between.

If you’re taking public transit, the 509 Union/Exhibition and 510 Union/Spadina streetcars drop you off at the ‘front door’. And there’s plenty of public parking nearby.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9 8:45 am

    You’re making me homesick for Toronto!

    I now live just outside NYC and one of the loveliest things to do here in the winter is go for a skate at Bryant Park (with the Empire State building lit up a few blocks south!) or at Wollman Rink in Central Park. If you can tolerate a postage stamp space, and the fishbowl effect of everyone staring down at you, Rockefeller Center has a rink as well.

    The only problem? NYCers don’t ice skate very well….not like Canadians!

    • February 9 9:09 am

      Torontonians certainly are fortunate to have this gem in the heart of the city. Thanks for the tips on skating in NYC.

  2. February 9 9:07 am

    I believe you have hit a chord Susan…as this has been one of my favourite locations to skate for a long time. All of the amenities that you mentioned like washrooms, food, toasty fires (and did I mention washrooms!) make The Natrel Rink a very family-friendly and stylish destination for us. For those who have not experienced this gem, I highly recommend giving it a try.

    • February 9 9:08 am

      You’re right – this is a fabulous destination for all ages…good point, washrooms! Essential on a family outing! 🙂


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