TRCA Issues A Winter Safety Message: Stay Off The Ice

With this season's unusually milder weather and an increased interest from families getting out on public lands during the COVID pandemic, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is reminding residents to stay off of lakes, rivers, reservoirs, ponds, and stormwater facilities, as the ice may not be safe.

More people are enjoying the great outdoors this year than ever before, and the TRCA reminds all nature seekers to be extremely cautious when spending time outdoors. Even in cold weather, other factors such as water flow, fluctuating water levels and snow on the ice, can contribute to unsafe conditions. Slippery and unstable streambanks and extremely cold-water temperatures can also lead to dangerous conditions close to any body of water. In addition, even if the ice at the water's edge seems safe, it can get weaker further out.

Ice is never 100% safe, and the TRCA is requesting that everyone please STAY OFF local TRCA rivers, streams, ponds, and reservoirs. Conditions are not being monitored and ice may be unsafe. Venturing out onto the ice is not a permitted activity at TRCA parks, so don't put yourself and others at risk.

TRCA is reminding us of the following tips to stay safe this winter:

• Keep family and pets away from the edges of all bodies of water.

• Avoid all recreational activities including skating, snowshoeing and skiing in or around water, especially near ice jams or ice-covered water bodies.

• Do not attempt to drive or walk on iced-covered water bodies

• Stormwater ponds/facilities were not built for ice skating. Water levels on these ponds can change due to road salt, snow melt and changing temperatures causing cracks and dangerously thin ice.

• Avoid walking close to or across riverbanks and ice-covered water to prevent falling through. River banks can become unstable in the spring due to snowmelt and erosion.

• It's dangerous to rescue another person or a pet from ice. If you see anyone that has fallen through the ice, call 911 for help immediately.

Obey any safety signage that has been posted. TRCA also reminds residents about safety around dams. Dam operators often lower water levels in reservoirs during winter and spring. Beware of thin ice that may develop due to dam operations. Stay off ice covered waterbodies near dams and channels.

About Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)

With more than 60 years of experience, TRCA is one of 36 Conservation Authorities in Ontario, created to safeguard and enhance the health and well-being of watershed communities through the protection and restoration of the natural environment and the ecological services the environment provides. More than five million people live within TRCA-managed watersheds, and many others work in and visit destinations across the jurisdiction. These nine watersheds, plus their collective Lake Ontario waterfront shorelines, span six upper-tier and 15 lower-tier municipalities. Some of Canada’s largest and fastest growing municipalities, including Toronto, Markham and Vaughan, are located entirely within TRCA’s jurisdiction. Visit trca.ca for more info.

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