TORONTO: The City’s Welcome T.O. Winter parks plan welcomed skaters to 54 outdoor artificial ice rinks and 46 natural ice rinks this season.
The outdoor skating season closed as planned on March 21 due to increasingly warmer weather.
The City’s outdoor artificial ice rinks were popular this past season, with more than 800,000 visits during almost 60,000 service hours. More than 35,000 family accounts were also created or updated, enabling more individuals and families to make a reservation at one of these rinks.
More than 900 recreation staff supported rink operations during the 2020/2021 season. The City expanded customer service hours into evenings and weekends to assist residents with skate reservations.
The City also worked with community groups to facilitate 46 natural ice rinks in parks across Toronto this winter. Every winter, residents build and maintain natural rinks on parkland, with the help of City staff who provide access to water and shovels, as well as instructions on ice preparation and maintenance.
The City worked with Toronto Public Health to develop guidelines for artificial and natural ice rinks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
At artificial ice rinks, these measures included an online reservation system, additional staffing, signage and mask requirements. At natural ice rinks, signage was developed and installed to remind skaters of physical distancing and mask-wearing.
Toronto’s outdoor artificial ice rinks opened on Saturday, November 28 and remained open seven days a week throughout the winter until Sunday, March 21.
Natural ice rinks are typically open each year between January and March, weather permitting. More information about the City’s Welcome T.O. Winter parks plan that provided Torontonians with safer opportunities for outdoor recreation this winter is available on the City’s website.
Mayor John Tory said: “Outdoor skating was one of the few, safe, family-friendly recreation activities available to Torontonians this winter, providing a bright light during an otherwise challenging season. I’m proud that, working together with Toronto Public Health, City staff
were able to keep outdoor artificial ice rinks safely open this winter to provide joy and activity for residents.”
Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee, added: “Natural ice rinks depend on the dedication of community volunteers who step forward to create safer outdoor activities for their neighbourhoods.
“Such partnerships between the City and its residents are helping us take care of each other and get through the current pandemic. I want to congratulate all of this year’s volunteers and thank them for their countless hours of service.”
Councillor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park), Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee, said: “Toronto residents love outdoor skating, and this year they demonstrated that love more than ever. The response we received to outdoor skating was tremendous and we will continue to work together with our partners in Toronto Public Health to provide safer, outdoor recreation opportunities for residents.”