Why is skating banned on Grenadier Pond?

There are yellow signs all around Grenadier Pond in High Park.  Some say “Danger.  Ice unsafe.  Keep off.”

Even though these signs warn of the risk – many still venture out onto the ice.

“Beautiful.  It’s beautiful,” said Adrian Gonzalez, who was out for his first skate on the pond.  When asked if he worried about his safety he said, “yes, but it’s worth it.”

He’s not alone.  People have skated past the warning signs for years.

However, according to city officials, Toronto’s Parks Municipal Code – 608 and the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Activities on Frozen Open Bodies of Water Policy, prohibit skating and other recreation activities on frozen open bodies of water in city parks, including Grenadier Pond.

Here is the by-law, according to the Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 608, Parks:

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608-21. Skating.

A. On a natural ice surface posted and designated for skating, or an artificial ice surface located in a park, no person shall:

(1) Use speed skates unless authorized by permit or in a posted area in accordance with posted conditions;

(2) Skate or act in a manner as to interfere with or endanger any other person using the surface;

(3) Use a stick of any kind except in accordance with posted conditions; or

(4) Disregard the instructions or information provided by designated ice patrollers, rink guards or supervisors.

B. No person shall access or skate on a natural ice surface in a park where it is posted to prohibit it.

The fine for violating the by-law and accessing or skating on a natural ice surface where prohibited in a park is $125.

According to city officials, before amalgamation, the former Metropolitan Toronto had an ice monitoring service and a portion of Grenadier Pond was maintained as part of a Natural Ice Rink Program.

In an email, Donna Kovachis, Manager Parks – Etobicoke York District explained, “Skating on Grenadier Pond was discontinued in approximately 2001 for many reasons including staffing requirements to meet required standards to monitor and maintain ice thickness for safety are cost prohibitive, fluctuation in temperatures contribute to inconsistent formation of ice on open water, use of road salt makes its way into water systems increasing ice instability, storm water sewers drain into Grenadier pond and the average temperature in Toronto does not normally allow for extended periods of -15 degrees Celsius or colder which is the optimal weather condition for ice freezing.”

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City officials add, there are still many places to skate in Toronto, including artificial outdoor ice rinks, natural ice rinks (on parks land) and indoor arenas.

Here are some ways to find somewhere to skate in the city of Toronto:

  • Residents can call 311 for the nearest location in their community
  • Check their local FUN Guide
  • Check the city’s website at