Toronto skating rinks may start reopening this weekend if weather permits
Toronto residents and visitors skating at Toronto residents and visitors skating at Nathan Phillips Square, one of the city's most popular rinks. (Pexels)
TORONTO -- The City of Toronto says it might reopen its skating rinks this weekend if weather permits in order to help residents cope with the recently imposed COVID-19 lockdown.
Mayor John Tory announced the city’s winter recreation plan at a news conference on Wednesday, saying that it is important for people in the city to take care of their mental and physical health by going outdoors safely.
“We’re committed to giving people more things to do outside safely,” Tory told reporters. “All 54 of the city's outdoor ice rinks will begin opening for free, leisure skating as early as this weekend if the weather will allow it.”
The mayor said that a maximum of 25 people could skate on the rinks at one time due to provincial capacity limits. He said people can make reservations on the city’s website but space will also be available for people unable to register online.
“We're really encouraging people to register online so that they know that they have a spot and so that we can avoid any unnecessary crowding that would be contrary to our health advice,” Tory said.
Grenadier Pond in High Park is one of the rinks expected to reopen this winter, Tory said, adding that all participants should be wearing a mask while on and off all skating rinks.
“We will also have 30 natural ice rinks up in running weather cooperating,” the mayor said. “Ice making for our artificial ranks began last night, and we hope that the weather will permit openings for as early as this Saturday.”
In addition, the city said it plans to maintain 60 kilometres of paved recreational trails and pathways in parks throughout the winter in order to ensure that they are accessible to people.
Residents can also take advantage of the city’s 23 toboggan hills, as well as snowshoeing and walking at the city’s eight snow loops. Fifty-seven tennis courts with nets in place for winter will remain open, the city said.
“We want to remind people as well as the fact that many of our parks amenities will remain open,” Tory said. “More than 800 playgrounds and 30 parks with outdoor fitness equipment will remain open to the winter.”