In the spring, the City of Toronto introduced ActiveTO, an initiative that opened 57K of streets to pedestrians as a way to get residents outside and active during the pandemic. With COVID-19 cases surging more than ever, Mayor John Tory has launched a similar program called Welcome T.O. Winters. Among the many plans for this initiative is the maintenance of 60K of paved paths around the city, as well as eight “snow loops” at five Toronto golf courses, which will be groomed trails, 1K to 2.5K in length.
— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) November 25, 2020
Another running boom
“The city and its residents continue to adapt and respond to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic,” Tory said in a press release. “Torontonians made great use of the city’s parks and other recreation activities over the summer and we expect that interest to continue through the winter.” Tory noted the importance of staying home to help flatten the curve of COVID-19, but he added that the City of Toronto wants “to encourage people to safely get fresh air and exercise to maintain both their physical and mental health.”
Canada and the rest of the world saw a running boom earlier in the pandemic when gyms and other athletic facilities were closed. While these businesses have been able to reopen around the country, certain areas have been forced to shut them down again. With winter upon us, it’s quite possible that even more people will get into running, and an increased number of paths and trails around the city will only help this cause.
Not only will Welcome T.O. Winter give Toronto residents more places to run, but it will also present cross-training opportunities. The golf course snow loops will be open to snowshoers (as well as walkers and runners), which is a great way to work in some snow-based training. There will also be up to 30 ice rinks around the city, giving runners the chance to skate some laps on off-days throughout the winter.
To learn more about the Welcome T.O. Winter initiative, click here.