Toronto nordic skating makes use of your winter shoes and a detachable, elongated steel blade that clips on and off your boot using quick-lock binding. You can put on your winter boots at home, drive to the lake, then just clip on the blades and go. No need to expose fingers or toes to the sub-freezing temperatures at the lake shore. The blades have ready-made holes for cross-country bindings so you can also use the blades with your ski boots if you wish.
Always bring a set of ice spikes with you when you go skating on natural ice - they are known to have saved lives in situations where ice strength was misjudged.