Toronto is catching hundreds of people for forbidden skating and tobogganing

The City of Toronto has a new enemy, and it's not COVID-19: it's people taking to skating rinks after hours, playing games of shinny hockey and breaking into shuttered ski hills to toboggan.

Despite reminders that skating sessions need to be pre-booked through the City's online system, that shinny hockey is currently not permitted and that residents looking to toboggan should only do so on one of the city's sanctioned hills, enforcement officials continue to catch around 100 people a night on our outdoor ice rinks, and another 100 or so per day at our ski and snowboard centres at Centennial and Earl Bales Parks.

Toronto Fire Chief and pandemic response lead Chief Matthew Pegg revealed before the New Year that security presence at these sites was being ramped up, and that Toronto police and bylaw officers had been issuing scores of formal warnings and trespassing tickets.

"While we continue to do all we can do support safe outdoor activities, the use of closed ski and snowboard hills poses a significant risk of injury," he cautioned at a press conference last Wednesday.

And, the City today confirmed that people have already been hurt while partaking in such unsupervised activities.

"Tobogganing on ski hills and parks slopes that are not designated for tobogganing can, and in some cases has already led to the need for emergency medical attention," a representative from the City told blogTO.

They also advised people to avoid even authorized toboggan hills if they are as busy as they have been in recent days, which may pose its own health risks as far as COVID-19 transmission is concerned.

With ski hills and other businesses deemed non-essential now forcibly shut down, the holidays in full lockdown meant citizens, especially those with young children, were trying to get out of the house as much as possible within the extensive restrictions we are now living under.

It's safe to say that the city's crackdown on pretty innocent winter fun — one of the few things we have left to do these days — has not been well-received by the general public.

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