With milder temperatures and the increased popularity of the Town’s outdoor spaces and amenities, Ajax Fire reminds residents to stay off ice located on stormwater ponds, lakes, creeks and rivers.

Ice is unpredictable and many factors affect its thickness, such as the depth, size of body of water, location and the time of year. A number of factors can cause rapid and significant changes to ice conditions.

Those enjoying recreational activities near water are responsible for their own personal safety. We encourage residents to be aware of their surroundings when outdoors and help reduce the risk of accidents. Through the Town’s Winter TOA program, skating opportunities are available at Pat Bayly Square outdoor rink, pop-up natural ice rinks at McLean Community Centre and Audley Recreation Centre (weather dependent), and Neighbourhood Rink Program. For more information on how to enjoy the outdoors safely and responsibly, visit ajax.ca/WinterTOA.


“Stormwater ponds are particularly dangerous. The ponds are engineered to collect stormwater runoff including sediment, debris, road salt and pollutants which help to reduce localized flooding, control downstream erosion, and ensures cleaner water flows into our environment. Stormwater ponds should not be used recreationally (skating, hockey) at any time. The constant flow of water, road salt and other contaminants in the pond may affect the quality of the ice, making the thickness unpredictable and unsafe.”
- Dave Lang, Fire Chief, Town of Ajax

Quick Facts

  • The colour of ice may be an indication of its strength. Clear blue ice is strongest. White opaque or snow ice is half as strong as blue ice. Opaque ice is formed by wet snow freezing on the ice. Grey ice is unsafe. The grayness indicates the presence of water.
  • No ice is without risk. Even thick ice may be weak if it has frozen and thawed repeatedly.
  • Most drownings occur in water less than 20 degrees Celsius.
  • Cold weather doesn’t guarantee the ice will be solid and safe. A sudden drop in air temperature can create cracks in the ice.
  • Snow does not strengthen the ice. It acts as an insulating blanket and can hinder ice formation.

Safety 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 walk on iced-covered water bodies.
  • 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.
  • When walking your dog, please keep them safe on a leash at all times.

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