EXPLORING DOWNTOWN TORONTO ICE RINKS DURING COVID

Nathan Philips Square, Downtown Toronto
Nathan Philips Square, Downtown Toronto

If you live Downtown Toronto or are just visiting, here are my top four ice rinks in the the Downtown Toronto area. They are as follows: Nathan Philip Square, Paul Quarrington Ice Rink, Barbara Ann Scott Ice Trail, and Trinity Bellwoods Ice Rink.

Before you come down, a couple of things you need to do. Firstly, you need to reserve your spot on the ice rink. Reservations come out every Thursday morning 8 am. Reservations are done on a week to week basis.

Secondly, you will need a Family PIN and Client Number to make a reservation online or call 416-396-7378 for assistance Monday to Friday, 8 am to 8 pm, Saturday to Sunday, 9 am to 3 pm.

To make a reservation online. Click on Leisure/Public Skate (Outdoor Rink).

Thirdly, skating is for 45min increments. Ice rink staff take 10 walk-on skaters with no appointments. So it is possible to skate without making reservations. Just remember, if you are from out of town, you are risking your trip if there are no openings.

Fourthly, children under the age of 6 years old are required to wear a CSA helmet. Masks are required for all skaters and must adhere to social distancing on the ice.

1. Nathan Philips Square -100 Queen St W, Toronto, ON

View of Nathan Philips Square Ice Rink, Downtown Toronto
View of Nathan Philips Square Ice Rink, Downtown Toronto

At the major intersection of BayStreet and Queen Street, we have Old City Hall, New City Hall and Nathan Philips Square come together. Moreover, Eaton Centre is roughly 200 meters away. Just a number of things you need to know before coming.

One, you can find parking under Nathan Philips Square. Major intersection is Bay Street and Queen Street, north of Queen Street.

Two, you can rent skates at Nathan Philips Square for a fee of $10 dollars per person. A photo license or personal identification card per person is used as collateral upon returning the skates.

Three, you can purchase food in the snacks shop. The snacks shop is a Hero Burger establishment. You can pick up a hamburger combo (hamburger, fries and drink) for $9.98 + tax. You also have food vendors on Queen Street selling foods.

Four, you have a TD branch on the corner of Bay Street and Queen Street. Just in case you needed an ATM.

Five, Eaton Centre is located nearby making this ice rink an ideal place to explore and skate.

2. Paul Quarrington Ice Rink-61 Dockside Drive, Toronto, ON

View of Paul Quarrington Ice Rink, in Sherbourne Park, Habourfront, Downtown Toronto
View of Paul Quarrington Ice Rink, Habourfront Downtown Toronto

Paul Quarrington ice rink is located in Sherbourne Common Park, just off of Queens Quay East.

Parking can be found across the street from the Paul Quarrington ice rink. You have Municipal Parking in front of George Brown College Waterfront Campus and across the street at a private parking lot. Parking should not be a concern.

Great thing about this location, is its close proximity to Sugar Beach and access to waterfront trail. After your skate, there are chairs and benches to relax and enjoy the waterfront.

Pathway from Paul Quarrington Ice rink facing south toward the lake.
Pathway from Paul Quarrington Ice Rink facing waterfront

Adhere to social distancing and ice rink procedures and protocols. Most importantly, dress warm by the lake, as the change rooms are closed. Washrooms are open.

There is a Loblaws which serve hot meals, washrooms are open and available. There is a Starbucks in the Loblaws. There are many more fast food places along Queens Quay East. Just head west on Queens Quay Street from the ice rink (meaning toward the CN Tower).

3. Barbara Ann Scott Ice Trail-420 Yonge St, Toronto, ON 

Located on Yonge Street, north of Gerrard, south of College Street, you will find a nested ice rink situated between soaring skyscrapers. The ice rink can also be accessed from the Bay Street, north of Gerard St. W. entrance.

This ice rink has beautiful skyscrapers and scenery. That is to say, if you were not looking, you would probably miss the ice rink. Once again, washrooms are open for use, while change rooms are closed. Check in with staff before use of facilities.

There is a Farm Boy grocery store just north of the rink, literally 150 meters away. There you have the option to make your meal or order hot meals already prepared, if you are hungry.

If the kids are hungry there is a McDonalds on Yonge Street, south on Gerrard Street W. You also have Taco Bell and Wild Wings North on Yonge Street , north of Gerrard St. W, heading toward Yorkville.

Tim Hortons, Subway, Pizza Pizza can be found on Bay Street and Gerrard St. W area. Although not health choices, it gets the job done. More importantly, you will have the time to burn those calories off.

Traveling on Bay Street towards Yorkville (heading north), you will have many restaurants and coffee shops to choose from. I just wanted you to have an idea of what to expect.

View of Barbara Ann Scott Ice Trail, Downtown Toronto
View of Barbara Ann Scott Ice Trail

Situated just 1.2 km north of Barbara Ann Scott Ice Trail, you have Yorkville-Bloor Street West. You can take either Yonge street or Bay Street to get there.

Yorkville-Bloor Street West is known for its premium high end stores such as Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Coach, Cartier, Holt Renfrew, and Nordstrom Rack to mention a few. It is high luxury boutique shops that span along Bloor Street West.

Moreover, you also have the Royal Ontario Museum, located on Avenue Road and Bloor Street. Across the street, you have a McDonald’s and Louis Vuitton not too far away. Come by and see for yourself!

4. Trinity Bellwood Park -790 Queen St W, Toronto, ON

Trinity Bellwood Park, Downtown Toronto, view of the CN Tower
Trinity Bellwood Park, Downtown Toronto, view of the CN Tower

Trinity Bellwood Park ice rink is located on Queen Street West. Ice rink is a hockey rink. Same covid rules and procedures are in effect. No skating rentals.

Queen Street West is known for their trendy boutique clothing and shoe stores. You will have a variety of choices to choose from. As a result, making this a great way to tour the area and experience Downtown Toronto.

Parking will be can be found at 81-95 Stanley Terrance. It is situated just south of Queen Street West, and Walnut Ave.

However, before venturing to this location, you should be aware that there are homeless tents and shelters in the park. Cops on horseback can be spotted circulating the park. Many people are out and about in the park. Note that CAMH Outpatient Centre is just down the street, west of Trinity Bellwood Park. In other words be cautious and aware of your surroundings.

There are two other ice rinks that are closed for the 2020-2021 winter season that are worth noting. They are The Bentway (250 Fort York Blvd, Toronto) and Harbourfront Centre Rink (235 Queens Quay W, Toronto).

By and far, these two ice rinks would be great to skate. If they reopen in 2021-2022 season, I would suggest to explore Harbourfront Centre ice rink. Skating by Lake Ontario, views of the CN Tower, walking and biking pathways along the waterfront and close proximity to small shops makes this a day trip unto itself. In my humble opinion, this would rank up there with Nathan Philip Square.

Hope this helps.

Please leave me your comments or suggestions below.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.