Winter Safety Message: Stay Off the Ice

Hazardous Conditions On and Around Lakes, Rivers, Streams, Reservoirs, and Ponds

January 13, 2021, Toronto, ON – With unusually mild weather and increased interest from citizens on recreating and exercising on public lands during the COVID pandemic, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is reminding residents to stay off of lakes, rivers, reservoirs, ponds, and stormwater facilities, as the ice may not be safe.

With many people enjoying the great outdoors this year more than ever, TRCA reminds all nature seekers to be extremely cautious when outside. Even if the weather has been cold, other factors such as water flow, fluctuating water levels, and snow on the ice can contribute to unsafe conditions.

Slippery and unstable streambanks and extremely cold-water temperatures can also lead to dangerous conditions close to any body of water. In addition, even if the ice at the water’s edge seems safe, it can get weaker further out.

Ice is never 100% safe. Please STAY OFF local TRCA rivers, streams, ponds, and reservoirs. Conditions are not being monitored and ice may be unsafe.

Venturing out onto the ice is not a permitted activity at TRCA parks. Do not put yourself and others at risk.

TRCA asks that you be safe this winter and remember the following tips:

  • Keep family and pets away from the edges of all bodies of water.
  • Avoid all recreational activities including skating, snowshoeing and skiing in or around water, especially near ice jams or ice-covered water bodies.
  • Do not attempt to drive or walk on iced-covered water bodies.
  • Stormwater ponds/facilities were not built for ice skating. Water levels on these ponds can change due to road salt, snow melt and changing temperatures causing cracks and dangerously thin ice.
  • Avoid walking close to/across riverbanks and ice-covered water to prevent falling through. River banks can become unstable in the spring due to snowmelt and erosion.
  • Rescuing another person or a pet from ice is dangerous. If you see anyone that has fallen through the ice call 911 for help immediately.

Obey any safety signage that has been posted.

TRCA also reminds residents about safety around dams. Dam operators often lower water levels in reservoirs during winter and spring. Beware of thin ice that may develop due to dam operations. Stay off ice-covered waterbodies near dams and channels.

For more information about dam safety please visit:

About Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)

With more than 60 years of experience, TRCA is one of 36 Conservation Authorities in Ontario, created to safeguard and enhance the health and well-being of watershed communities through the protection and restoration of the natural environment and the ecological services the environment provides. More than five million people live within TRCA-managed watersheds, and many others work in and visit destinations across the jurisdiction. These nine watersheds, plus their collective Lake Ontario waterfront shorelines, span six upper-tier and 15 lower-tier municipalities. Some of Canada’s largest and fastest growing municipalities, including Toronto, Markham and Vaughan, are located entirely within TRCA’s jurisdiction.

Media Contact:
Michael Tolensky
Chief Financial and Operating Officer
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)
416-706-9093 |