Stay Safe This Winter!

Winter is a great time to have fun outdoors and spend time with family, loved ones, and pets. However, the season also brings cold weather and slippery conditions.

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) wants to remind everyone to stay safe and avoid getting too close to the edges of any waterways while enjoying winter activities.

ice on stream at Kortright Centre

With winter conditions and temperatures settling in this month after a mild start to the season, ice and snow will begin to accumulate in TRCA watersheds over the next few weeks.

Currently, there is a thin layer of snow on the ground and little to no ice coverage in rivers and watersheds. Ground conditions are frozen and unable to absorb water from rainfall or snowmelt.

As rivers and water bodies become ice-covered, rainfall and snowmelt can weaken ice cover, making it unstable and unsafe.

Frequent freeze-thaw cycles and sudden warm-ups can also create hazardous conditions, including ice jams and increased river flows from melting ice and snow.

drone image of an ice jam on the lower Humber River

Slippery and unstable streambanks combined with extremely cold water temperatures can be dangerous, especially when you are near any type of water body during the winter months.

Stay safe this winter and remember to:

  • Keep a Safe Distance: Keep away from riverbanks and all water bodies, even if the surface is covered in ice.
  • Avoid Iced-Covered Water Bodies: Do not attempt to drive or walk on iced-covered water bodies. Always obey safety signage.
  • Avoid Recreational Activities near Water Bodies: Avoid recreational activities in or around water, especially near ice jams or ice-covered water bodies, unless at an officially designated municipal facility.
  • Steer Clear of Stormwater Ponds: As fun as they seem, stormwater ponds were not made for ice skating. Road salt, snowmelt, and temperature shifts mean that stormwater ponds have more cracks and thinner ice than naturally occurring water bodies. Snow and ice, combined with steep slopes beside ponds, also make it more difficult to safely walk near ponds without slipping and falling.
  • Stay Cautious around Dams: Beware of thin ice that may develop around dams. Dam operators often lower water levels in reservoirs during winter and spring.
  • Seek Help in Event of Emergencies: Trying to rescue another person or a pet from ice is dangerous. If you see anyone who has fallen through the ice, call 911 for help immediately.

TRCA does not monitor ice safety conditions.

ducks surround an opening in the ice on the Humber River in winter

Winter activities at TRCA Conservation Parks and Lands and/or at your local parks are safer due to increased public presence. Residents looking for skating locations should seek information from their local municipality.

For more information visit and

For information about regional water levels and seasonal changes, please contact your local conservation authority:

About Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)

Since 1957, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), as enabled through the provincial Conservation Authorities Act, has taken action to enhance our region’s natural environment and protect our land, water, and communities from the impacts of flooding and increasingly extreme weather events – Ontario’s leading cause of public emergencies.

As the region’s first line of defence against natural hazards, TRCA maintains vital infrastructure and provides programs and services that promote public health and safety, protecting people and property.

TRCA mobilizes a science-based approach to provide sound policy advice, leveraging its position as a not-for-profit operating in the broader public sector to achieve collective impacts within our communities and across all levels of government.

TRCA’s jurisdiction includes nine watersheds and their Lake Ontario shorelines, spanning six upper-tier and fifteen lower-tier municipalities and representing almost five million people, approximately 10% of Canada’s population.

To learn more about TRCA, visit