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Residents encouraged to stay active outdoors this winter

Posted on Thursday January 13, 2022

The City of Orillia encourages residents to take advantage of trails and parks within the community to stay active this winter.

“Staying active is essential to maintaining our physical and mental health. With the current COVID-19 restrictions in place, it’s now more critical than ever to find ways to remain active,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “In order to avoid crowding and provide more opportunities for residents of all ages and fitness levels to remain active and enjoy our trail system, we are clearing additional trails that are not normally cleared in the winter.”

Trails

In addition to regularly maintained trails, this winter the Lightfoot Trail along the waterfront at Moose Beach in J.B. Tudhope Memorial Park and the Terry Fox Circle at Couchiching Beach Park will now be cleared. This is in addition to a number of other trail sections and loop trails that were cleared beginning in 2021, including the loop trails at Foundry Park, Homewood Park and Walter Henry Park. For an updated list of cleared trails in Orillia, please visit orillia.ca/trails. Additionally, Scout Valley, a 230-acre naturalized park, is a popular area for both snowshoeing and hiking during the winter months.

Outdoor Ice Rinks

With the recent snow accumulation and cold temperatures, Orillia parks staff are preparing outdoor ice rinks throughout the City this week and will be prioritizing opening based on past usage and conditions.

“Outdoor ice rinks require a significant amount of snow in order to create bases, followed by consistent cold weather of -10 C or below for at least a week. The recent snow accumulation and drop in temperatures provides the appropriate conditions to begin the preparation of our outdoor ice rinks,” said Kyle Mitchell, Manager of Source Protection and Operations. “Staff are working diligently to get rinks prepared for everyone to enjoy. We ask that residents please remain off the rinks until they are officially open as early use can compromise the bases.” 

Hockey games are prohibited on outdoor ice rinks when they are occupied by pleasure skaters. Skaters should wear helmets at all times. For a list of outdoor rink locations and their status, please visit orillia.ca/outdoorrinks.

Toboggan Hills

In addition to trails and outdoor ice rinks, the City of Orillia has three toboggan hills open for use. They are located at the Couchiching Golf Course (370 Peter St. N.), Clayt French Park (114 Atlantis Dr.), and Homewood Park (68 Woodside Dr.).

While outdoor recreation amenities have no capacity limits at this time, face coverings must be worn when distancing cannot be maintained. Please be aware that there is a risk of people congregating close together and spreading COVID-19.

The following are recommendations from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 when visiting outdoor public spaces:

  • If you are feeling ill or displaying symptoms (i.e. fever, cough, difficulty breathing, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat, runny nose) or if you have come into contact with someone who has shown symptoms or has tested positive, you are not to visit the outdoor public space. 
  • Read all posted signs, including screening signs at all entrances, and ensure everyone self-screens before entering the space. 
  • Maintain a physical distance of at least two metres (six feet) from others at all times and especially while in places where people tend to congregate, such as parking lots, trailheads and scenic overlooks. 
  • If physical distancing is difficult to maintain in the outdoor space, wear a face mask.
  • Avoid close contact with people outside your household, such as shaking hands, hugging, high-fives, or games involving shared items. 
  • Wash or sanitize your hands as you arrive. 
  • Do not share equipment with people outside of your household. 

 

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Kyle Mitchell
Manager of Source Protection and Operations
705-325-2284
kmitchell@orillia.ca

Melissa Gowanlock
Manager of Communications
705-330-1951 (Cell)
magowanlock@orillia.ca