Ontario Place offers warm welcome throughout winter

Winter is an acquired taste in Toronto, especially if you’re stuck in the city.

But if you enjoy outdoors activities and art, both are on offer down at Ontario Place’s west island on the city’s waterfront starting Friday (Dec. 8).

Running until March 18, Winter at Ontario Place, as its called, includes the Winter Light Exhibition featuring 12 light art installations by local artists, skating for 150 on a synthetic rink, an outdoor bonfire on weekends complete with smores, a Beaver Tails food truck, and holiday themed-film weekend screenings at the newly re-opened Cinesphere with Polar Express running right now.

“This is the first event of its kind in a very long time,” said Ontario Place spokesperson Matt Ryan.

“Ontario Place was partially closed between 2012 and 2017 and we reopened in the spring and had a whole bunch of events here in the summer but this is Winter at Ontario Place – the inaugural year.”

One of many art installations at the launch of Winter at Ontario Place. (VERONICA HENRI/TORONTO SUN)

Both the art and the rink are free and open from 5 a.m. until midnight, although the light installations really come alive after the sun comes down after 5 p.m. and often change colours like Kizmit’s Future Light Mural or Matt DesLauriers, Steven Mengin, and Jean-Michel Gariepy’s Lumos.

“We want people to dress warm, that’s for sure,” said Ryan of encouraging people to come at night.

“But we have this beautiful site on the waterfront that has been under-utilized during our closure so now we’re just welcoming people back to use the space like it’s their own backyard.”

The skate rentals ($10 for adults and $5 for children for two hours) and sharpening ($5) are only available on weekends with lockers and a concession, as is the bonfire, which features Adirondack chairs in a circle and can accommodate about 30 people sitting and another 100 standing.

Another pretty open area with birch trees lit up in sparkling white lights is called Moose Hollow and features a light art installation called The Crunch of Snow Underfoot by Josh Collins and Andrew Maize.

“It’s all about the revitalization of Ontario Place and making it a cultural event space for people to come and enjoy again,” said Ryan.

Hours of Operation

Winter Light Exhibition/Skating Rink

Daily 5 a.m. – 12 a.m.

Skate Rentals/Sharpening

Friday 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Saturday and Holiday Weekdays 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Sunday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Christmas Eve 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Christmas Day Closed

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day 10am – 4pm

Family Day Monday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Bonfire

Friday 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Saturday and Holiday Weekdays 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Sunday 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Christmas Eve noon – 4 p.m.

Christmas Day Closed

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Family Day Monday noon – 4 p.m.

Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies