Skating outdoors: as Canadian as paintings of wooly habitants peeling cooled maple taffy from lumps of snow. Not that you need snow for skating outdoors here: Toronto has more artificially cooled outdoor rinks than any city in the world. (So maybe Rome’s not seething with jealousy but you know Montreal hates it and what else really matters?) With 49 outdoor locations, you can skate, date or play hockey in pretty much any neighbourhood.
Right now, only the Harbourfront and Nathan Philips Square rinks are open. Most others open on December 8, but some sooner. They’d all be closed until January if it wasn’t for the generosity of MasterCard. (“Seeing your corporation’s name in the Wyre? Priceless.”)
Each rink serves local needs. Some disallow hockey; others boast organized leagues. But they’re all free.
Many rinks offer skating instruction – call your local rink for details. Be warned: All across the city, registration for lessons happens December 10. They’re well subscribed by aggressive, coach-strangling hockey dads, so don’t be late if you want a spot.
Impress your late-night date by bringing her to the Barbara Ann Scott rink in College Park. It’s open for pleasure skating 24/7 – but maybe do the skating before any alcohol.
If you’re still playing, you probably already know about the abundant availability of pick-up shinny and local leagues. Check your local rink for details. The calibre of ‘friendly’ pick-up gets competitive and you still have to work Monday. Game on!