Council considers ice skating in High Park

The City of Toronto's parks committee has figured out a way to allow skating at Grenadier Pond in High Park, but it won't happen until next winter at the earliest.
One argument against allowing skating at Grenadier Pond is that the city maintains more than 50 safe outdoor skating sites across the city. (CBC)

The City of Toronto's parks committee has figured out a way to allow skating at Grenadier Pond in High Park, but it won't happen until next winter at the earliest.

On Monday the committee unanimously voted to create a $50,000 "ice-monitoring program" in which an employee of the city called an "ice engineer" checks the ice to see if it's safe for skating. 

The city's ice engineer would test the ice every day in winter. If the ice is deemed unsafe, a red flag will be flown to let people know the ice is unsafe. A yellow flag will indicate the ice has been deemed thick enough for skating, though anyone who ventures on the ice does so at their own risk. 

The proposal comes from Coun. Sarah Doucette, whose ward includes the park.

As it stands now, skating at Grenadier Pond is illegal and skaters who head onto the ice are technically trespassing. Doucette said the flag system will end the current cat-and-mouse game that happens as skaters try to evade bylaw officers. 

She said new signs will warn skaters that the city will not clear the ice of snow or resurface it. 

"You will be skating on Grenadier with all the bumps and humps," she said. 

In recent winters, people from the community tested and resurfaced the ice themselves. 

The new program won't be in place until the winter of 2016-17 if it's approved by council.

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