Mayor John Tory hosted his fifth annual skate party — for the first time at Mel Lastman Square — on Sunday to celebrate the beginning of 2019 in Toronto.
Participants were able to skate on the ice rink, drink hot chocolate, eat maple syrup taffy, and enjoy music mixed by a DJ.
The annual event was originally added in 2015 to celebrations that already included the mayoral New Year’s levee. It had previously been held at Nathan Phillips Square, in Scarborough, and at The Bentway rink under the Gardiner Expressway.
“I’m just delighted that it’s such a beautiful day. It’s cold, but it’s a beautiful sunny bright day,” Tory said in a speech at the event “It makes you happy to be a Canadian and to be able to celebrate the winter together.”
Tory himself couldn’t join skaters on the ice rink since he is still recovering from an achilles tendon injury he suffered in late 2018.
Most of the many people at the event seemed to enjoy it.
“A lot of people come out to interact with each other, to take part in the activities going on, and they always seem to have a fun time,” said Lucinda Rajaselvan, a woman attending the event. “I think more events like this in the city of Toronto would be ideal. I grew up in a time where it didn’t seem to have this many events, and I would say this is the better way.”
Alongside Tory, councillors James Pasternak of Ward 6 and John Filion of Ward 18 were also in attendance.
Filion was set up at a stand that was serving free maple syrup taffy cooled on a bed of snow. “[I’m] just here to meet people, introduce people to maple syrup taffy, a lot of people including me hadn’t tried it before,” Filion said.
Tory said being together in events like this are what makes Toronto special.
“There is room for everybody. Everybody is embraced here. We get along, we get the best out of each other… and that is something to work hard on in 2019,” he said. “And that’s why a gathering like this… sends the right kind of message in terms of us all being together.”