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a different sort of skating setting: toronto’s skating trail

February 13

If I had to choose between Toronto’s hot, humid summers and its cold, damp winters I would undoubtedly pick the former. I’m one of these women who are always cold, only ever feeling fully cozy in 30C+ humidity. But alas I am a Torontonian and as such I need to find a way to work through winter, and I embrace this snowy, cold season with skating. I don’t do any other winter sports, but I really do love to skate. With Harbourfront’s fantastic rink by the lake just down the street from where I live, I never have to travel far for a skating fix. But recently I did go a little further afield, a venture west well worth it to Toronto’s Skating Trail in Colonel Samuel Smith Park on Etobicoke’s lakefront.

skating trail 2 - saf affect

The setting is absolutely gorgeous for its natural beauty, the views of Toronto’s skyline, and the stunning Victorian architecture. The park is on the site of a former lunatic asylum that opened in 1889. Humber College has repurposed and reinvented many of the original Victorian buildings for its Lakeshore campus, while the restored 1888 Power House Recreation Centre, which originally generated heat for the asylum, is now a beautiful space in which to change into your skates and keep your boots warm while on the trail.

skating trail - saf affect

skating trail 3 - saf affect

susan forint skating trail - saf affect

The figure-8 trail is 250m long and is a welcomed change to the counterclockwise directional round rinks, meandering to and fro. Open daily from 9am to 10pm, there is a paid parking lot beside the rink until 3pm weekdays, but it is free all weekend or travel just a little further down the park road towards the lake for a no-charge parking lot. BYOS – bring your own skates. And after a skate, be sure to take a wander down to the lake for a spectacular view of downtown Toronto. A fun and beautiful destination for a Family Day weekend outing.

humber college lakeshore 8 - saf affec

humber college lakeshore 5 - saf affec

humber college lakeshore 3 - saf affec

humber college lakeshore 6 - saf affec

humber college lakeshore - saf affect

humber college lakeshore 2 - saf affec

humber college lakeshore 4 - saf affec

toronto - saf affect

9 Comments leave one →
  1. February 13 8:57 am

    This looks awesome! I love hearing about new things to do in the winter months! I have a tendency to hibernate unless I have concrete plans 🙂

  2. Anonymous permalink
    February 14 12:06 am

    I didn’t know about either of these! Thanks for sharing Susan. Nancy G.

  3. February 14 8:40 am

    What a terrific find! The only thing I’ve seen similar to this is a lakeside loop on Lake Magog in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Now you’ve made me even more determined to buy a pair of skates and bring them with me on my next TO visit…

    • February 14 3:39 pm

      You should! Skating is such a fun way to enjoy winter in Toronto.

      Thanks for the tip re Quebec’s Eastern Townships…

  4. March 6 6:49 pm

    We used to film there quite a bit back in the mid/late 80’s. Blue Monkey, the Police Academy movies and Murder by Night (to name a few). The buildings were all connected by a series of very creepy underground tunnels, perfect for horror films.

  5. Tina permalink
    March 19 11:29 pm

    I’ve heard of the park but never seen photos, nor known about the amenities. Thank you for identifying and de-mystifying a terrific outdoor activity. If only someone would set up hot chocolate booths alongside the ice…

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