Nathan Phillips Square ice rink is back and better than ever 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 Friday, Nov. 27.

It’s an exciting time after a slower winter last year, when visitors had to book time slots to maintain social distancing during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, with vaccination rates increasing and cases slowing, the rink is open to all who wish to attend, with no strict capacity or time limits.

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 day and running daily until Jan. 2 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. is the Cavalcade of Lights, an installation inspired by various cultural festivals, a light-up tunnel 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 “enchanted forest” with sparkling ice sculptures to awe at.

Nathan Phillips Square will also feature several different skating events throughout the season. 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. 27, weather permitting, and will offer rentals from Dec. 4 to March 21 starting at 12 p.m. But don’t get carried away zooming laps around your friends and family – skates have to be returned by 7:45 p.m.

Opening day events

Join the crowd at at 100 Queen St. W. this Saturday and see below for a run-down of all the exciting events and performances happening throughout the afternoon and early evening:

  • Klezmer-inspired musical performances by Beyond the Pale
  • Aerial and hand balancing performances by Duo Erick and Christa
  • Chinese lion dancing by Northern Legs Southern Fists
  • Fire performances by Zola Molotov Opens in new window with Circus Drummer and Dancing Glow Guy
  • PassioN’strings flamenco performances with Carmen Romero Company and Jonathan Garabedian (violin)
  • Songs of the season by Tower Brass, funded by The Recording Industries Music
  • Performance Trust Fund with Local 149 Musicians Union and the city of Toronto
  • Bollywood dancing by Kanushree Jain
  • DJ Dre Ngozi
  • Live ice sculpture carving
  • Luminous Garden lantern display by Muse Arts – pick up a free lantern-making kit while stock lasts or learn how to make your own lantern at home

On the rink

  • Contemporary ice-skating performances by Montreal-based Le Patin Libre
  • National ice-skating champions and world bronze medalists Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier
  • Performances by Toronto’s Trinity Synchronized skating team

Article exclusive to Streets Of Toronto