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Ice Skate Like a True Canadian at Nathan Phillips Rink

Nathan Phillips Square is home to one of Toronto’s biggest seasonal ice skating rinks. The park is a popular gathering place for residents and visitors who want to experience one of Canada’s favourite pastimes.

It’s winter in the City of Toronto and what better way to embrace Canadian culture than by gliding across the ice at Nathan Phillips Square’s seasonal skating rink. Situated in the heart of Old Toronto, this iconic winter wonderland is the place to be when it’s cold outside. You can rent ice skates, snack at the nearby food stalls, improve your skating skills and mingle with the masses.

One to Toronto’s top attractions!

Out of more than 100 indoor, outdoor and natural ice rinks in and around Toronto, this one easily takes the gold for the most scenic and photogenic. Skating is one of the most popular activities for visitors to Canada and we’ve got everything you need to know about Toronto’s famed ice rink. Nathan Phillips Square’s Skating Rink is a favourite with locals and tourists alike, so lace up your skates and get outside to check out why Nathan Phillips Square is filled with winter fun.

skaters at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto
A Guide to Nathan Phillips Square Skating Rink | Skyscanner Canada

Everything you need to know about skating at Nathan Phillips Square and Skating Rink

How to get to Nathan Phillips Square Skating Rink

The ice skating rink sits on the south-east corner of Nathan Phillips Square, which is located at the intersection of Bay Street and Queen Street West in historic Old Toronto. The plaza spans approximately 12 acres, making it Canada’s largest city square. And the backdrop of Nathan Phillips Square couldn’t be prettier, with the views of the CN Tower and Toronto City Hall making you fall in love with Canada’s largest city. Plus, it’s only about 2 kilometres from Harbourfront Centre and the East Bayfront along Lake Ontario.

There are bus and rail stops on all surrounding streets, the closest being the number 1 bus, which drops you off on Bay Street across from the plaza. Subway riders can take the train to Queen Street Station.

Further reading: Our top 7 outdoor rinks in Canada

What to bring when skating in Toronto

Skating at Nathan Phillips Square is free and for all levels of skaters. If you’re new to skating or don’t own your own, you can rent ice skates and helmets for a small fee so bring some cash or bank cards and photo ID for a deposit. For rates and times for skate rentals, check their website here. There are lockers available to securely store anything you don’t want on the ice. If you do own a pair of ice skates bring them along. The kiosk offers skate sharpening at a cost. Definitely bring something to take photos with: a decent camera or a smartphone. And remember to dress for the cold weather. Winter in Toronto can be brisk, to say the least. Above all, bring your sense of adventure and fun!

Best times to visit Nathan Phillips Square Skating Park

Ice skating usually begins in November and continues until mid-March, depending on temperatures and weather. Once open for the season, the ice rink welcomes skaters from 9 am until 10 pm daily. If you want to avoid large crowds, then generally, the best time to go is early morning, midday or later in the evening. The rink is busy on the weekends; late morning, afternoon and early evening are also busy during the week.

Skating fun for the whole family

As one of the city’s busiest public gathering spots, the park is filled with locals and visitors of all ages. Skating for the first time is an exciting experience that kids and adults will relish. You won’t need to rush off for food; there are food trucks and casual eateries dotted around the ice pad. The Square also offers a skate rental kiosk, an observation deck, a playground, chess tables and a spectacular elevated walkway that gives a good view of the park. The Peace Garden is another family-friendly site to see within the square. And remember to get a photo in front of the famous Toronto sign. You could easily spend the whole day at the park without getting bored, but you’ll probably want to check out the rest of Toronto too.

Toronto highway with the CN Tower in the background
A Guide to Nathan Phillips Square Skating Rink | Skyscanner Canada

Nathan Phillips Square highlights at a glance

• Nathan Phillips Square features a large reflective pool that turns into an ice skating rink during the winter months.
• The park is located at the intersection of Bay Street and Queen Street West in Old Toronto.
• A variety of activities, events, and amenities make this a public space suitable for all ages.
• Visitors should remember to bring appropriate winter clothing and gear, such as winter jackets, knit hats, gloves, and scarves. Skate and helmet rentals are available at the park.
• The ice rink opens for winter skating November through mid-March, weather permitting.

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