Last year I figured out the secret to enjoying the winter — have fun. This year I’ll be adding tobogganing, snowshoeing and other child-like activities into the mix, but I’ve already found my favourite thing to do on a Friday, head to Dufferin Grove Skating Rink for their Friday Night Suppers.

I discovered Dufferin Grove (875 Dufferin St.) last year and although I’ve only been twice, I’ve kinda fallen in love with this place. It’s got a very community oriented approach, something there’s not much of where I live in downtown Toronto. There’s a rink for shinny as well as a public ice skating pad that everyone just piles onto as soon as the Zamboni machine is done. You can rent skates for a mere $2 (with government-issued ID as deposit, helmets are free). Plus, there’s a little kitchen that serves delicious homemade meals with a big dose of love.

Supper is available from 6-7:30 pm for a suggested donation of $6, though you can pay less depending on your financial situation or barter labour and time for your meal. Most of the groceries are bought at their organic Farmers’ Market held on Thursdays and cooked in the outdoor wood-fired bake-ovens. There’s always a vegan/vegetarian option and a meat option, and their current menu is posted here.

On this day I pulled double duty. First I tried the Curry Chickpea and Vegetables on rice, with a side of coleslaw (shown in top photo). I felt this could be more spicy, but I understand the need to keep it mild for the kiddies and general public. The meat choice was Pulled Pork ‘N Beans with grits and coleslaw. The pork was very sweet and accentuated the beans, and the grits were a good balancing side.

After 40 minutes of skating, I came back inside because my ankles were hurting. Well, that and I couldn’t wait to try the dessert of Chocolate Cake with Ice Cream ($3). This was the kind of dish where your eyes bug out after the first bite because you can’t believe how frigin’ delicious it is. Seriously, the cake was moist and chocolately and yet still light and fluffy. The ice cream was the perfect accompaniment.

Everything is served in reusable dishware, and there isn’t a plastic utensil or Styrofoam container in sight. This Friday night out includes exercise, fresh air and lots of laughs. For a mere $10 (skates, a meal and dessert) this really is a bang-up deal.

Dufferin Grove / 875 Dufferin Street (across from the Dufferin Mall), Toronto
416-392-0913 / Ice Skating: Mon-Sun 9am-9pm, Friday Night Suppers 6-7:30 pm