The end of skating season mired by closures due to weather

Rinks officially closing after March 19 but likely to be vacant for last few days

Withrow Park skating rink
A rainy afternoon at the Withrow Park outdoor skating rink on March 17. (Deerick Tablon/Toronto Observer) 

The winter season is going out with a whimper as sub-optimal weather is disrupting end-of-season activities like ice skating.

During the season, Toronto’s 54 outdoor rinks supported by the city have had 500,000 people visit them, according to a city press release.

While that’s an enormous quantity, the figures would likely be a lot higher if not for the many closures inflicted by the unpredictable weather this winter.

The middle of March has already seen its fair share of rainy days. Despite this, the city put out a news release encouraging skaters to enjoy the ice on while it lasts.

However, rain makes skating on ice dangerous because it lessens the friction. Due to that, parks often would close to avoid accidents.

Withrow Park has posted a notice beside its ice rink indicating the park being closed due to unsafe conditions. (Deerick Tablon/Toronto Observer)

On March 17, the city has 11 rinks are closed, while two others are being serviced.

During the past month three people were seriously hurt while skating on Lake Ontario. While falling through is unlikely to happen in a controlled and city-run outdoor rink, accidents are just as likely to happen should the park ignore the telltale signs of an unsafe surface to skate on.

Horrible weather or not, after March 19, all outdoor rinks will be closed.

“At the end of skate season, the refrigeration systems are shut down,” says Ashika Theyyil, city communications adviser. “Parks operations staff shift their focus to preparing for spring maintenance and activities.”

But you can still enjoy skating after this. Theyyil suggests skaters consider indoor skate arenas, which are open year-round. To find out more, visit

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Posted: Mar 17 2023 12:31 am
Filed under: News