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Video of worker salting Thornhill ice rink sparks outrage

Shot days after Vaughan announced closure of outdoor amenities to contain COVID-19 spread
Jan. 19, 2021
Bryan Passifume

Video of a City of Vaughan employee spreading salt on an outdoor ice rink has sparked outrage online.

Posted to Twitter Sunday night, the short video clip of the worker salting the rink outside Garnet A. Williams Community Centre in Thornhill has been viewed nearly 50,000 times and garnered hundreds of retweets as people made their views known.

“They are going to cause a revolt of all people,” wrote one Twitter user.

“I can understand health-wise, but mentally -- the cure may be worse and more deadly than the disease!”

Another lamented the impression such actions leave on city children.

“This is how we teach our kids to see value in Civic duty,” the user tweeted.

“The conversation that will NEVER be heard at the kindergarten lunch table, ‘When I grow up, I want to be like the guy who put salt on our skating rink.'”

One day after Queen’s Park announced the province’s new state of emergency and stay-at-home order, the City of Vaughan announced the immediate closure of all city toboggan hills, dog parks and outdoor rinks as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The local resident who took the video told theSun he had taken his daughter to play at an adjacent playground on Saturday when he noticed the man salting the rink.

“It was disappointing to see, since it came without a good explanation and neighbouring cities haven’t done the same,” Keith said.

“The outdoor rinks were one of the very few things -- it seems heavy handed.”

Vaughan is the only GTA city so far to take this step.

While Toronto skating rinks remain open, Mayor John Tory said last week the new provincial orders will prompt officials to review that decision.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown took to Twitter Monday morning, describing outdoor physical activities like skating to be low-risk and beneficial for mental health.

“We will NOT be closing these outdoor amenities regardless of what some municipalities have been doing on their own accord,” Brown tweeted, stating the city had recently opened four new artificial outdoor skating rinks.

An invitation for comment has been made to Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua.