Stay off Lake Simcoe's ice, police warn
KESWICK, ONT. -- The marine unit with York Regional Police is warning people not to be fooled by the ice on Lake Simcoe.
Lake waters near Keswick usually freeze over first, but police don't think it's safe to venture out just yet.
"There's all kinds of inconsistencies. It can look safe in one area, and in the next, it's not as thick," explains Sgt. Will Mccue.
Jack Hayward tracks ice conditions for locals and visitors on his YouTube channel, The Blue Ice Report.
"This year is the worst I have ever seen in the 30 years I've been here," Hayward says. "There's just not enough safe ice."
Sgt. Mccue has seen some risky behaviour in the last few days.
"There are people out on snowmobiles, ATVs, and we even saw someone in a small Jeep driving on the ice."
While police do not want you heading out onto the ice yet, they remind people to be dressed for the lake. Be prepared for the unexpected and always head out with the proper safety gear and a fully charged cell phone, just in case.
You should also always check in with local ice hut operators beforehand.
People who live near the lake say mild temperatures have prevented more solid freezing, and the wind keeps breaking up what little ice there is.
"I'm an old man. I've been here for almost 60 years," says Brad Simmons, who lives near the lake. "I'm not going out there now."
Across the water in Gifford, there was just one person ice fishing Monday afternoon in an area where there would typically be hundreds of people at his time of the year.
Most locals are staying off the ice, and hope out-of-town visitors follow their lead.