In the middle of October, just as the weather was starting to get cold and Torontonians were starting to think about the impending snow and chilly nights, it truly was getting icy and chilly in one particular place in the city. But all with the best of intentions and the desire to bring a city closer together and foster a “gathering place for today’s Toronto.”
Welcome to Bentway Skating Rink. Formerly known as Project: Under Gardiner, the area underneath Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway has been turned into a skating rink which will open to the public on January 6. Called the Bentway, ice has been manufactured to create a space for skating, with the focus on turning unused land into a public space that will encourage the people of Toronto to get outside, get active and come together.
The Bentway skating trail however, is just the first part of this ambitious project being undertaken by the city. It comes with thanks to a $25 million dollar donation from Toronto philanthropists Judy and Wil Matthews, and was named The Bentway after a naming contest. The undertaking was started two years ago, with the rink being just one of several projects the privately funded space will offer: plans are already underway to create a green amphitheater for public performances next summer.
For the winter season though, residents are encouraged to lace up their skates and come join in on the fun, starting on January 6th. There will be special musical performances, presentations by the Toronto Ice Skate Group, art installations and food and drink to keep you energized for a full day on the ice. The opening weekend will also play host to the Mayor’s Skate Party on Sunday January 7, and will launch a season of winter programming, with plans to run into mid March. Future events to watch out for include Friday night skate parties, a skating village, free Monday night skate rental, and regular appearances of your favourite food and drink options via a curated food truck program and the Strongbow Lounge.
Get ready for a winter of fun on the ice and be sure to mark your calendar for the January 6th kick off!