City of Toronto launches annual Welcome T.O. Winter with opening of outdoor ice rinks

ice skating

News Release

November 25, 2022

Starting tomorrow, the City of Toronto is bringing back its popular Welcome T.O. Winter program in full, frosty force. Throughout the next two weeks, Welcome T.O. Winter will open 52 outdoor ice rinks across the city, offering family favourites including free public leisure skate, shinny, leisure figure skate, instructional learn to skate and beginner instructional hockey programs as well as new ringette and women’s shinny opportunities.

Thirty-eight ice rinks will open tomorrow and operate until March 19, 2023. On Saturday, December 3, 14 additional rinks will open, operating until February 26, 2023. Two locations, Dufferin Grove Park and Ledbury Park, will open once capital construction work is complete. Outdoor rinks will operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Permits and school bookings are also available. Natural ice rinks will open in January 2023, weather permitting.

As weather fluctuates, skaters are encouraged to check the status of their local rink before heading out at Toronto.ca/skate.

New this year as part of Welcome T.O. Winter, the City is introducing a ringette pilot program at six locations. Participants six years old and older can drop in and try an exciting sport rapidly gaining popularity. Ringette is a non-contact sport played on an ice rink with a ringette ring and ringette stick. Pre-enrollment is not required and, beginning in early December, participants will be able to borrow equipment from select locations.

To help grow and encourage women’s participation and excellence in hockey, the City is also increasing the number of locations and time slots offering women’s shinny. This winter, 29 locations across the city will have dedicated time slots available for women’s shinny.

More information on skating and ice programming in the city, safety requirements, locations and hours of supervised skate, are on the City’s Skating webpage.

This year, the City, in partnership with Desjardins Group, is introducing a new mobile Skate Lending Library at select outdoor ice rinks. The program supports residents and families who are learning to skate by providing access to skates, helmets and skate aids. The program will include:

  • 150 skate aids, including two accessible skate aids
  • 60 pairs of skates and 60 helmets added to the City’s skate lending library
  • A dedicated, customized van that will travel to different locations

The program is free for all and no reservations are needed. More information and skate lending locations is available on the Skate Lending Library webpage.

There are many ways to enjoy winter in Toronto. Through the City’s popular natural ice rinks program, residents and neighbourhood groups come together every year to build and maintain natural ice rinks in parks across Toronto. The City supports communities by providing access to water, snow shovels, lighting (where available), public signage as well as instructions on how to build and maintain rinks.

As part of Welcome T.O. Winter, many of the City’s park amenities will remain open throughout the winter season:

  • More than 1,500 parks
  • 28 toboggan hills in neighbourhoods across Toronto
  • 54 artificial outdoor ice rinks and skate trails
  • Seven snow loops for walking and snowshoeing at four of the City’s golf courses
  • Skiing and snowboarding at Earl Bales Ski and Snowboard Centre, 4169 Bathurst St. (weather and snowfall dependent)
  • 143 locations with park washrooms available through the winter months including 52 park washrooms, 47 outdoor rink washrooms and 44 locations with portable toilets
  • 70 outdoor table tennis and 60 outdoor chess tables
  • 30 parks with outdoor fitness equipment and the archery range in E.T. Seton Park, 73 Thorncliffe Park Dr.
  • 24 fire pits available for booking
  • Outdoor sports courts, including 50 tennis courts with nets in place for winter tennis (snow is not cleared from courts)
  • Seven disc golf locations open year round
  • Five outdoor bake ovens available for booking

The 56th annual Cavalcade of Lights presented by Desjardins Financial Group will kick off at Nathan Philips Square on Saturday, November 26 and run until Saturday, January 7. This Saturday, family-friendly special programming will begin at 3 p.m. and run until 11 p.m. A tree and Square lighting ceremony will take place at 8:30 p.m. Complete event details are available at the City’s Cavalcade of Lights webpage.

Residents can learn more at the City’s Welcome T.O. Winter webpage.

The City continues to hire for parks and recreation positions, including, gardeners, handy workers, skate program instructors, rink guards, facility attendants, sports, fitness and swimming instructors and lifeguards. More information about available positions and upcoming information sessions is available on the City’s Job Portal or on the City’s Recreation Jobs webpage.

Quotes:

“I’m delighted the City’s Welcome T.O. Winter program is back this year. We want people to be able to enjoy our parks and other outdoor spaces as much as possible year round. This year, there are many exciting winter activities residents can enjoy including skate trails, toboggan hills, outdoor rinks and much more. I welcome and encourage everyone to explore and experience Toronto’s beautiful parks and recreational activities through the winter months.”
– Mayor John Tory

“This year, the City is expanding its skate lending library in partnership with Desjardins, by providing access to skates, helmets and skate aids. We’re pleased to support residents and families who are learning to skate, so they can enjoy a quintessential and beloved Canadian past time.”
– Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park), Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee

“I hope residents are ready to uncover the secrets of winter in Toronto! The City has more than 1,500 parks and many great winter activities so people of all ages can enjoy the snowy season. I encourage everyone to get outdoors during the winter months and experience all Toronto has to offer.”
– Councillor Shelley Carroll (Don Valley North), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee

Note: correction was made at 1:45 p.m. on November 25 to fix a broken web link and list a date correctly as Saturday, December 3, not Tuesday. 

Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter Instagram or Facebook .

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