Toronto’s winter recreation programs include an expanded list of activities

TORONTO – Winter in Toronto is shaping up to be a lot more “fun” this year with the return of previously canceled outdoor activities and the relaxation of capacity limits for outdoor rinks, said Mayor John Tory.

Tory officially unveiled the city’s winter recreation program for 2022 in Greenwood Park on Thursday morning, where he highlighted the expanded list of activities that will now be allowed, including shinny, a more casual form of hockey than the mayor called it a “bench” in previous years. due to the pandemic.

“This is another indication of the rewards for the hard work people have done to follow public health guidelines, to get vaccinated, that we are able to announce a winter program that is returning to normal for. winter 2022, “he said.

“Things are looking up. This winter is going to be a lot different from last winter and I hope that means it will be more fun.”

Online reservations for outdoor skating will be phased out this year after the province announced capacity limits would no longer be required.

Thirty-eight of the city’s ice rinks will open for the season on November 27, and 13 more are slated to open on December 4, weather permitting. While vaccination is not mandatory for those using the outdoor rinks, visitors must complete a COVID-19 screening form in advance.

“Our concern for safety is just as acute as last year and the year before, but adapts (…) to the fact that many of these public health restrictions are lifted,” Tory said.

“This year’s program roster includes everything from skating and sledding to skiing, disc golf, snow loops and winter tennis.”

Tory said even with public health restrictions last year, the city recorded 800,000 visits to outdoor rinks last season.

Infectious disease specialist Dr Isaac Bogoch said increasing the capacity of the rinks “would make life a lot easier” for Torontonians this winter.

“A lot of people in town struggled to register for the outdoor ice. We know that, for example, outdoor activities like skating pose an extremely low risk of transmitting COVID-19, ”he told CP24 on Thursday morning.

“We know that the vast majority of eligible people in the city have been vaccinated against COVID-19. It is a very reasonable thing to do. I think it will make life much easier for many people in the city to enjoy the outdoors this winter while doing so in a very safe environment. “

RESERVATIONS ARE NO LONGER NEEDED

In a press release issued on Thursday, the city also said that from November 29, online reservations will no longer be offered at fitness centers, weight rooms, indoor playgrounds or for women. recreational swims in indoor pools.

“In line with the provincial government’s lifting of capacity restrictions at many sports and recreational facilities, online reservations will soon no longer be necessary,” the statement said.

“This morning, the last batch of bookings for these city programs will be available at 8 am for next week. During this week, walk-in spaces will be added to increase capacity. “

Reservations will continue to be available for lane swimming and Aquafit, but additional walk-in spaces will be added.

The city first introduced online reservations for equipment in 2020 after public health restrictions in place to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 drastically reduced the capacity of recreation facilities.

Last month, the Ford government announced that capacity restrictions would be lifted at most sites where proof of vaccination is required.

“As the need for reservations has been lifted and capacity increases, Ontario law requires proof of vaccination to enter indoor sports and recreational facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools,” the city said.

“When visiting premises requiring proof of vaccination, people can present either the electronic version of the certificate with a QR code or a hard copy. “


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Richard V. Johnson