Last day for skating at City of Toronto’s outdoor ice rinks will be Sunday, March 19

A skater on the ice at the Kew Gardens outdoor rink on Thursday afternoon. The last day for skating before the ice goes out at City of Toronto outdoor rinks will be on Sunday, March 19. Photo by Alan Shackleton.

By AMARACHI AMADIKE, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

After more than 500,000 visits during nearly 62,000 hours of operation, the City of Toronto’s outdoor skating rinks will close for the season this Sunday, March 19.

As the summer approaches, Toronto will begin to close down its 54 outdoor artificial and natural ice rinks—as well as skating trails—for the winter.

“With a few days left this March Break, I invite residents to enjoy a skate one last time before the season concludes after Sunday,” said Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee Jennifer McKelvie, who is also the councillor for Scarborough-Rouge Park.

“Thank you to the City staff who kept the rinks and programs running throughout the skating season.”

Once the winter sport spaces are closed, some of the locations will then be converted into spaces for spring and summer activities such as tennis, pickleball and skateboarding.

The City of Toronto’s outdoor artificial ice rinks provided various activities including free public leisure skate, leisure figure skating, instructional learn to skate and beginner instructional hockey programs.

This winter, the City of Toronto also introduced a drop-in ringette pilot program at six rinks and increased opportunities for women’s shinny “to help grow and encourage women’s participation in hockey” said McKelvie in a news release.

In collaboration with Desjardins Group, the City of Toronto also introduced a mobile skate lending library at select outdoor rinks, which supported more than 1,400 residents by providing access to skates, helmets and skate aids.

“Our outdoor skating rinks provide a great opportunity for residents and visitors alike to embrace Toronto winters,” said Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee and Don Valley North Councillor Shelley Carroll.

“This season, we welcomed over 500,000 visitors to rinks all across the city. A huge thanks to the Parks and Recreation staff and community groups who kept local rinks running throughout the season. Their hard work and dedication helped family, friends and neighbours get outside and enjoy our great city during our coldest months.”

To ensure that there were enough ice rinks for all Toronto residents, City of Toronto staff worked with community groups in order to approve 50 applications for natural ice rinks.

These applications enabled volunteers to open rinks in their own neighbourhoods whenever temperatures permitted, which admittedly was not very often given the relatively mild weather over most of the winter.

Although the winter spaces were staffed by 800 part-time workers and 120 permanent employees, the news release said recruitment and hiring is underway for new staff as the City of Toronto continues plans for spring and summer programs.

These new hires will include instructors in fitness, arts, music, sport and learn-to-swim programs; pool and waterfront lifeguards; wading pool attendants; special needs program staff; and camp leaders.

Recreation jobs are available in after-school recreation and Toronto Island, said the City of Toronto in the news release.

More information about positions and upcoming information sessions is available on the City of Toronto’s Recreation Jobs webpage at https://www.toronto.ca/home/jobs/information-for-applicants/recruitment-initiatives/recreation-jobs/new-applicants/how-to-get-hired-in-recreation/

Amarachi Amadike is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro Community News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.


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