Nathan Phillips Square ice rink is back with a spectacular opening weekend

The wait is over! As the weather cools and the holidays quickly approach, you can finally lace up and hit the ice at Nathan Phillips Square – one of Toronto’s most iconic destinations – this Saturday, Nov. 26.

The quintessential Toronto spot is the perfect outdoor excursion for a little extra festive cheer in the heart of the city and this year the city of Toronto has really upped the ante. Kicking things off on opening night and running daily until Jan. 7 is the Cavalcade of Lights, an installation featuring a light-up tunnel, a stunning 55-foot Christmas tree and more.

Skate circles with your group, set against a backdrop of twinkling lights, a picturesque holiday tree and the iconic glowing “Toronto” sign and then step off the ice for a stroll through the lunar lanterns with sparkling ice sculptures to awe at. You can also enjoy Holiday Fair in the Square, happening from Dec. 2-23 from Tuesdays to Sundays and featuring an artisan marketplace, fireside lounge and more.

Need more of a reason to come out this Saturday? The list of activities is absolutely stacked and features something for every age, making this a versatile outing perfect for families, couples, friend groups or even those looking to pop by solo and see what all the fuss is about.

The outdoor rink officially opens Nov. 26, weather permitting, and will offer rentals until March 19 starting at 10 a.m. But don’t get carried away zooming laps around your friends and family – skates have to be returned by 9:45 p.m.

Opening day events

Join the crowd at at 100 Queen St. W. this Saturday and see below for some of the highlights of the exciting events and performances happening throughout the afternoon and early evening. The Christmas tree lighting is set for 8:30 p.m.

  • Lunar Lanterns of Indigenous Lights, in partnership with Lunarfest GTA, connecting Asian traditions and Indigenous cultures
  • Global Vision by artists Nargiza Usmanova and Maxim Zinchuk, embodying the theme of immigration from Europe and Asia to North America
  • The ECHO, an interactive installation that will allow participants to explore the power hidden behind their voices produced by Desjardins
  • கோலம் (Kolam): A Parallel Coexistence featuring a glowing mandala of thousands of illuminated threads
  • Collective Dreams, a collection of lanterns created by Toronto locals
  • The Barricade Cover Project, where artists transform barricade covers into stunning works of art

Performances on and off the rink

  • Ice-skating performances by North Toronto Skating Club, Forest Hill Figure Skating Club, Trinity A1 synchronized skating team, Toronto Metropolitan University varsity figure skating team,  Central Toronto skating club and Olympic gold medalist Canadian figure skater Gabrielle Daleman
  • Canada’s top a cappella talent Countermeasure Holiday Singers
  • Contemporary African dance music with Asiko Afrobeat Ensemble
  • Performances by Indigenous artists: Hoop Dance by Theland Kicknosway and Abenaki and Franco-Ontarian folk music by Mimi O’Bonsawin

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO