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Skating on Lake Ontario

Skating on Lake Ontario, KingstonMy Facebook page has been flooded with photos of people skating on Lake Ontario this past week. It almost seems like there are more Kingstonians heading out onto the seemingly endless rink this year than others. Perhaps it is because of the Ice Yacht Racing Championships that took place here last week, perhaps it’s because there wasn’t any snowfall, or maybe it’s simply because my route to work last week took me past Breakwater Park more than usual, so I was more aware of the number of people venturing out. Whatever it is, it is a magical thing to see.

Rumour has it that it’s also quite the magical thing to experience. A friend of mine told me it was “exhilarating, freeing and terrifying all at the same time.” I wouldn’t know because I haven’t worked up the nerve to try it myself. Skating on lakes is a great Canadian tradition but it also brings with it some very serious dangers that need to be considered before setting foot on the ice. It’s important to know the proper strategies to making sure the ice is thick enough to withstand our weight. I think it’s safe to assume that skaters this past week enjoyed perfect conditions with -20+ temperatures. It’s also pretty safe to assume that the yachters took all necessary precautions before heading out. I still don’t know if I can bring myself to do it though. What about you? This week we want to know:

Have you been skating on Lake Ontario?

  • No, that's terrifying! (45%, 21 Votes)
  • No, but I'd really like to. (23%, 11 Votes)
  • Yes, it's amazing. (17%, 8 Votes)
  • Yes, but not this year. (15%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 47

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Did you answer yes? Tell us about your experience. Did you take any precautions before heading out such as checking the colour of the ice, drilling a hole to check ice thickness and keeping a rope nearby?  Or do you throw caution to the wind and just go for it? Should you choose to attempt a skate to Wolfe Island or just play a pick up game of hockey, take the time to learn the safety basics when it comes to lake skating. Here are a few quick tips:

  • Clear blue ice is the strongest
  • Grey ice is the weakest
  • Ice should be at least 15cm thick for walking or skating

Visit the Red Cross’s website for more tips on when to skate and what to do should the ice break.  The more prepared we are, the more we can focus on having fun!  Stay safe, Kingston!

Thanks to hbakkhansen for today’s photo.

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Danielle Lennon

Danielle Lennon is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. She was the Editor, Community Event Coordinator and Contributor at-large (2008-2018). She is otherwise employed as a section violinist with the Kingston Symphony, violin teacher, studio musician and cat lover. Learn more about Danielle...

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