grenadier pond

Man issues warning to others after falling through ice in Toronto park while skating

Grenadier Pond in High Park has long been one of Toronto's favourite spots for ice skating in the winter, but being a natural rink, its safety has been contested and not always guaranteed — as proven by one unfortunate incident over this weekend.

After barring residents from skating on the rink back in 2001, the City began monitoring the ice each day in 2015 to let people know if they could strap on their skates and venture out onto the frozen body of water.

That program was ceased in early 2020 for budgetary reasons and due to the fact that the City found there were very few days — only around 17 per season — that the ice was actually skateable. This effectively rendered skating on the pond illegal until the City decided to begin its monitoring once again in January 2021.

But despite the pond currently being deemed by the City as "not safe" and the the danger signs that line the water's edge, it's apparent that not everyone is heeding the warnings.

Take, for example, the man who fell through the ice on Grenadier on Saturday night, and the second skater who was trapped out on the ice while trying to provide assistance, necessitating a full-on marine rescue by Toronto police and fire crews.

Both individuals were fortunately rescued by emergency personnel shortly before 11 p.m., with authorities saying that by 11:05 p.m., "all appear[ed] to be in order."

After the scare, one of those involved in the incident took to social media to caution others, writing in a Reddit post that the pond is, indeed, unsafe for skating.

"This afternoon, I fell through in the middle section... I am an experienced pond skater, learning to test the ice since I was a little boy. I had been testing several different areas around Grenadier Pond, and skated for a few hours at the north end where the ice is smoothest," the man wrote on Sunday.

"But going back to the south end where I had entered, I went through the ice up to my neck. There is a hidden pocket of thin ice under a coating of shell ice that I had skated past before... Friendly warning: even for experienced adventurers -- for now, stick to the shore in High Park."

The accident came just days after a dog had to be rescued by passersby after also falling through thin ice on a High Park pond.

Still, skating on natural rinks around the city, like around Taylor Creek trail and on ponds in Woodbine Park, remains a popular pastime this year, especially now that temperatures have dropped to more seasonal lows

The City advises citizens that ice conditions on these rinks "can vary throughout the winter based on weather and volunteer maintenance" and to "use at your own risk."

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