SkatingwithkidsIt’s perfect skating weather. Air is crisp but not too cold to spend time outdoors with the family. Toronto has tons of places to skate (50 outdoor rinks – closing February 28; some extended to March 20) and the ever-popular ice surfaces like Nathan Phillips Square and Natrel Rink at Harbourfront Centre. Best part – they’re free.

But there is something about a loop, a wide-open trail that takes you outside the boxed in shinny-ready rectangle – and sometimes right through the forest. Here are some places where you can lace up and really glide in and out of the city:

Greenwood Park

This mini-trail in Greenwood Park is located north of Dundas Street E west of Greenwood Ave and open daily for public skating. Next door is a covered outdoor rink with lots of shinny and learn-to-skate programs.

Dieppe Park

Also in the east end (Cosburn Avenue just east of Greenwood), Dieppe Park has a small path great for little legs.  

Evergreen Brick Works

Probably the smallest but the prettiest spot to skate in the city is at Evergreen Brick Works Skating Rink. The tiny natural ice surface loops within an old brick building next to the Winter Market (fun place to shop and eat on weekends.) And of course, there is always lots of playing in the Children’s Garden and exploring in the Don Valley Brick Works Park.

Shops at Don Mills

During the winter months, a skating oval takes over the public space at the centre of the Shops at Don Mills, an outdoor shopping mall at Lawrence and Leslie. Open during mall hours.

Colonel Samuel Smith Park skating in Etobicoke

The 250-metre figure-eight skating trail sits next to a historic building in Colonel Samuel Park in Etobicoke just south of Lakeshore Boulevard. (Also in Etobicoke, Rennie Park has a small skating path next to its outdoor rink. This is just west of High Park, where you can now legally skate on Grenadier Pond.)

Richmond Green

Another 250-metre outdoor skating trail is located on the west side of Richmond Green (behind Tom Graham Arena) in Richmond Hill (Elgin Mills Road East and Leslie Street.)

Gage Park

Brampton’s outdoor skating path is located at Gage Park. On weekends there is a DJ and fire pit.

Arrowhead Provincial Park

Okay, this one is 2.5 hours north of the city. It’s a trek well worth taking for this 1.3 km skating trail through Muskoka forest at Arrowhead Provincial Park. Stay until sunset as the trail is illuminated by hundreds of tiki torches. Admission is $17 per vehicle

MacGregor Point Provincial Park

This 400-metre trail winds through snow-covered trees at MacGregor Point Provincial Park (three hours northwest of Toronto along Lake Huron.) It’s $7.50 per vehicle for four hours or $11.25 per vehicle for a full day.

Do you know of anymore? Please let us know – leave a comment below.