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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Ice Days

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There was some talk recently about skating on Grenadier Pond in High Park, and what the ice might be like. Today we discovered the ice was very cold and windy but brilliantly sunny. It wouldn’t be Toronto without warning signs, but once on the pond all officiousness dropped. People had cleared away a large area to skate in, and there was a steady stream of people out until they couldn’t take the cold anymore. There were some weird homemade shovels laying around that people seemed to have left for others to use and clear more if they wanted. The ice below the snow was remarkably smooth and thick looking.

There were a few long ice paths cleared as well, that snaked north. It would be sort of neat if more people went and created more paths, crisscrossing one another. The temperature is supposed to rise above zero in a few days, but until then don’t believe the signs, there is access and there is skating. The Grenadier Cafe at the top of the hill is open too, and it’s quite nice, though the sullen teenagers working there don’t appear to be enjoying their jobs — but they do squirt a fair amount of whipped cream onto the hot chocolates, so it balances out.



  1. What a wonderful post, and great pictures, too! Pity I have to teach today, or I’d head over to the pond. I haven’t skated in years, mainly because there’s not usually a natural ice surface in the city. I grew up skating on frozen creeks and mill ponds … in a Toronto suburb, no less.

  2. Global news just showed footage of someone falling through the ice on Grenadier pond today. Be careful if you’re going out!

  3. My mom watches Global news in Windsor and constantly asks me about the shootings and mayhem. I tell her not to watch Global.

    Be careful though ya — was warmer out today.

  4. Looks amazing! I should take a trip down to High Park this week, especially since it’s reading week. Have to buy some batteries for the digital camera though because I’m sure there’ll be lots of picture taking.

  5. I love it. Grenadier pond will be forever one of my favorite childhood memories. Where else can you skate with your dog?

    It’s so simple and timeless, but sort of silly-looking as well. It makes me think of those Netherlandish paintings of skaters during the seventeenth century (?). I guess it’s not difficult to capture the beauty of skating on a lake, whatever the century.

    Also, there was a recent discussion of funding the monitoring of the conditions of Grenadier (and safety) on CBC radio, but i got the impression that the City isn’t willing to pay for this. Does anyone know how that is progressing?

  6. Yes, I also have the fondest memories of winter skating on Grenadier Pond, as well as the boathouse and going out for a leisurely weekend paddle. Stinginess and extreme risk-aversion on the part of the government appear to have killed off both these pastimes.

    I applaud the efforts of the City in the ’90s to rehabilitate the Pond, but they made a tragic mistake in completely banning human activity from the Pond. Why? Because in this new mega-Toronto, we are more in need of oases than ever before!!

    City of Toronto: Bring back winter skating and the boat rentals please!