Late night skating is a Toronto tradition, whether it be in the form of an energetic game of shiny or a romantic twirl on an abandoned rink. While the majority of Toronto's outdoor rinks are locked down after 9 p.m. or so, there are a host of exceptions spread across the city.
Here are my picks for the top rinks for late night skating in Toronto.
Nathan Phillips Square
The most obvious rink for late night skating in Toronto is still its best. The backdrop of city hall and the Financial District make up for the snowy ice and the likelihood that you'll be accompanied by other people with the same romantic idea as you.
Late night skates at Harbourfront can be chilly affairs on windy nights, but the view of the black lake to the south of the rink is worth the extra layer of clothing you'll inevitably have to wear. They even host free DJ skate nights for your partying pleasure throughout the winter.
Ryerson Community Park
The outdoor rink found on Gould St. is not gated and is unsupervised. While the maintenance of the rink may not be the best, it's a great place for impromptu games of shiny after midnight.
Mel Lastman Square
One of the best bets for those who live north of the 401, the centrally located Mel Lastman Square often plays host to a small contingent of post-midnight skaters. If you head there late enough (say after 2 a.m.), you might just get the entire pad to yourself.
Like a number of other rinks on this list, the hockey side of the double pad at Bathurst and Dundas is protected by a fence and not easily accessible after hours. The pleasure skating side is, however, one of the nicer sheets of ice to hit at night thanks to then end of day Zamboni.
Here's another quiet rink, though you might occasionally find a few North Toronto kids out for game of shiny in the wee hours. The rink is, however, long enough to accommodate hockey players at one end pleasure skaters at the other.
Wallace Emerson Park
The hockey rink side of Wallace Emerson is fenced-in (though sometimes you might get lucky and find it unlocked), but the pleasure skating pad is accessible at all hours, which attracts both late night pleasure skaters and shiny types.
You will be cold at this outdoor rink, but the view of the skyline to the west and the near guarantee that the rink will be abandoned should prove a draw for those after some quiet one on one time.
Colonel Sam Smith Park
This Toronto skating trail - soon to be rivaled by the trail under the Gardiner - is unsurprisingly accessible at all hours of the day. The lighting is a bit low late at night and the snow buildup can be a bit annoying, but it's still one of the prettier places to skate in the dark.
Rennie is another double pad rink in which the hockey area is protected by a fence, and thus typically inaccessible after hours. The pleasure skating pad is, however, unique for its central tree, which serves as a natural focal point for folks to skate around.
by Derek Flack via blogTO
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