Roller skating resurgence takes off in Toronto during COVID-19


There’s no question roller skating has exploded in Toronto and throughout the GTA and while roller skating never really went out of style, its popularity skyrocketed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as people stuck at home, looking for something active to do outdoors, saw their social media feeds swell with joyful videos of trail skaters and roller dancers.

Brampton’s Jared “Rollerouge” Kerr only began roller skating in May 2020. But after sharing videos of his progress on social media, Kerr now has more than 41,000 followers on TikTok and another 22,400 followers on Instagram.

“I found my dad’s old roller skates in the garage, put ’em on, put the headphones on. Just skating in the street and I was like, I like how this makes me feel,” said Kerr.

When Renelle Collins wanted to find some people to go roller-skating with in the early part of 2020, she said she started the Facebook group “Roller Skate Toronto.” The group has grown to nearly 3,000 from just a handful of members.

On any given evening, you’ll find roller dancer Keegan Shim at College Park, an outdoor roller skating hot spot in Toronto.

“Roller skates were just flying off the shelf but with people buying roller skates, they need a place to skate,” said Shim.

With indoor and outdoor rinks closed due to pandemic restrictions, the smooth College Park trail made it a go-to for newbies, families and experienced skaters who will often come together to create roller dance routines in front of an appreciative audience.