Duck ponds closed to skaters, city warns people to stay off ice

The first official day of spring brings with it the end to a winter past time and a warning to stay off the ice.

The skating season at the Riley Family Duck Pond is over, Assiniboine Park said Wednesday, adding that a melt brought on by warmer weather has made the ice on the pond unsafe.

All outdoor pleasure rinks and skating ponds managed by the City of Winnipeg have also closed for the season due to the changing weather.

First responders issue ice warning

The City of Winnipeg passed on a message from first responders, urging parents and teachers to talk to kids and students about the potentially-deadly dangers of waterways.

It said last year, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service responded to more than 150 water and ice rescue calls.

“As we move into spring, no one should be going on any ice surface,” said Fred de Groot, public education officer with the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service, in a news release.

De Groot said first responders are also put at risk during ice rescues and, “The ice thickness is unpredictable on all waterways and ponds so we encourage all citizens to steer clear of these surfaces, as well as the banks surrounding them.”

The city noted that while some areas are marked with “Danger – Thin Ice” signs, unmarked ice is also unsafe.