Despite the extreme cold snap that sent Canadians indoors and cut short New Year’s Eve celebrations across the country, Alec Sutherland couldn’t help but take advantage of the weather and bring out his skates.
The 33-year-old rug weaver from Montreal was visiting family in Toronto over the holidays. With an aunt and uncle who have been living on the island for the last 30 years, skating on lagoons by the island and the inner Toronto harbour is a tradition for the family.
“It was so beautiful,” he said. “It’s just a great way to escape the winter blues and find a reason to get outside.”
The video was filmed by Sutherland’s cousin Tyler Hnatuk on Dec. 28, when temperatures dipped down to -22.5 C, breaking a record dating back to 1960, according to meteorologist Ross Hull.
Sutherland said despite the cold, he and his family were outdoors for up to three hours that day (he also stressed that he took his coat off only to film the clip).
“It was just a lovely day on the ice,” he said, noting that it was rare to see the ice freeze over like glass without a milky texture.
Sutherland said his family is always sure to take extra precautions to ensure it is safe to skate on the water.
“When the ice is clear like that, you can see how thick it is,” Sutherland said. “When we skate, we stay pretty close to the shore. We always stay in groups and my uncle passes out these things called ice picks, which we carry around on our neck so that in the event anyone does fall in, you can use these to drag yourself out.”
The weather in Toronto doesn’t seem to be thawing out anytime soon. Forecasts say temperatures will dip down to a low of up to -27 C this weekend before it warms up next week.