Getting Outside in The Winter: Ajax Winter Activities for All to Enjoy

January 10, 2022 Marilyn Crawford 1453 views

It is no secret that getting outside and enjoying the sunshine and fresh air is always a positive, especially in the winter months. People tend to remain indoors during the winter avoiding the cold weather however, doing the exact opposite is better for your physical and mental well-being.

Getting outside in the winter months gives your body a boost in Vitamin D from the sunlight, fresh air and sunshine. These are the perfect healthy combo! Canadians, in general, can suffer the "winter blues" more so than people living in warmer climates. About 15% of the people in Canada experience the "winter blues", while about 2-3% of Canadians suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) [1]. The winter blues are described as a wave of low emotions caused by cold, dark days.

How to break free from the winter blues in Ajax

Throughout the pandemic, the Town of Ajax has promoted safe outdoor activities that encourage physical and mental wellness. You can visit https://www.ajax.ca/en/play-and-discover/winter-toa.aspx for a list of various activities, spaces, and amenities available to residents.

Here are the highlights for safe activities available to residents to get outside this winter:

Pat Bayly Square Outdoor Rink (55 Bayly St. W.)

Safely enjoy free outdoor skating (refrigerated ice surface) with family and friends Monday to Sunday from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.! No pre-registration is required.

Call 365-885-3848 to check rink status before heading out to skate.

Find out more:  https://www.ajax.ca/en/play-and-discover/skating.aspx#Outdoor-Skating---Pat-BaylySquare-55-Bayly-St-W

Neighbourhood Ice Rink Program

Neighbourhood Ice Rink program is available. To learn more about the program, contact Operations at 905-683-2951 or operations@ajax.ca.

Trails and Greenspaces

  • Explore 50 km of maintained trails&sidewalks, including our popular 7 km William A. Parish Waterfront Trail. All parking lots along the Waterfront are open with the exception of parking lots with permeable pavement, excluding the west parking area at Paradise Park, it will remain open.
  • Play in one of Ajax's 95 parks
  • Discover our 925 hectares of open spaces, including outdoor fitness equipment
  • Hike 6.5 km of trails at Greenwood Conservation Area (Bring your own equipment to bird watch or and cross-country ski). Please note, only 50 parking spots are available at Greenwood Conservation Area. On-street parking is also available on the east/west stretch of Greenwood Road off of Westney Road. The Town's standard parking by-laws and practices will continue to be enforced.

Snowshoe Loan Program

This program is weather dependent.

Snowshoeing is a great way to get outside and enjoy winter! Snowshoes (up to 4 pairs at one time) are available for loan for up to 3 days at no cost (deposit required) so that residents can enjoy outdoor recreation and physical activity this winter.  

Remember that adults should accumulate a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week. Children need 60 minutes per day!

Snowshoes are available through March (weather permitting) from the McLean Community Centre at 95 Magill Dr., Ajax.

Snowshoe Loan Form - https://forms.ajax.ca/Recreation-Culture-and-Community-Development/RPAL/Fitness/Snowshoe-Loan-Program-Request-Form

Snowshoeing Tips from the Town of Ajax

  1. Dress the part - Make sure you are prepared with the correct clothing for your outing. Always dress in (or bring) multiple layers: a base layer, a mid-layer, and an outer layer.
  2. Prepare - Your heart rate is likely to climb as you start moving. You may even break a sweat! Make sure you are prepared with the essentials:
    • Water - Even though it's cold, you still need to keep hydrated as you expend energy.
    • Snacks - Bring snacks that will boost your energy like apples, trail mix, etc.
    • Sunscreen - Light reflects from off the snow, making sunburn likely, so be sure to apply sunscreen to any exposed skin.
  3. Bring your phone or camera - No matter the trail you take, snowshoeing will open your eyes to a beautiful winter wonderland. Don't forget to take your phone or camera and share your photos and stories with us through Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
  4. Bring a family member from your household - Weather conditions can change quickly. It's a good idea to be as safe as possible.
  5. Have fun!

Trails and Conservation Areas

Throughout the Town, there is an abundance of trails and conservation areas offering an escape to nature, perfect for snowshoeing, walking, hiking, running and cross-country skiing. Find out more: https://www.ajax.ca/en/play-and-discover/parks-trails-and-conservation-areas.aspx

Take Your Dog for a Long Walk or Play Off-Leash in One of Our Designated Parks

Walking your dog can be the most relaxing thing you do all day. You get to get outside and share exercise time with your canine companion. Whenever you are walking your dog, whether it is on the streets, parks, or leash-free designated parks, remember to always be a good neighbour and have control over your dog and clean up after them. This will keep our town safe and clean.

Off-Leash Parks in Ajax

There are four (4) designated off-leash areas located in Ajax:

  • Bottom of Hermitage Park
  • Greenwood Conservation area - Parking at Church St./ 5th Concession
  • Anglers Parking Area - Westney Rd. (North of Clements Rd., west side)
  • Audley Recreation Centre - West of baseball fields

Please help us keep our outdoor amenities safe by following all public health Covid-19 advice, including practicing the 3Ws: wash your hands, watch your distance, and wear a mask when around others.

As a reminder, please keep our neighbourhood streets and parks clean. Do not litter and place your garbage and pet waste in a proper garbage receptacle. This includes disposable masks that you may be wearing outside when you are near other people. Our parks are the gems of our Town and with consideration for others, we all can enjoy them safely.

If you discover a cool thing to do in the wintertime, please let me know and I will add it to this brief list.

Getting outside does not need to be a destination type of event. You can walk around your neighbourhood, visit your local park, go out into your yard, and just experience the winter fresh air. Whatever your choice of activity, do something daily. You may feel the urge to stay in and binge something on Netflix, however, your body and mind will thank you for having as little as thirty (30) minutes outdoors in the crisp air and sunshine and maintaining a normal sleep schedule. Healthy habits will make the winter blues manageable and before you know it, spring will be around the corner.

If you are experiencing larger-than-life issues surrounding your mental health, please be kind to yourself. Spend extra time on self-care and have regular check-ins with yourself. Visit https://cmha.ca/find-info/mental-health/check-in-on-your-mental-health/ to check in on your mental health. If you are battling low moods on a regular basis, please speak with a doctor or Mental Health Professional to help you with your moods.

Should you find you are feeling overwhelmed or experiencing suicidal thoughts and need immediate help, please call 1-833-456-4566 toll-free or visit https://crisisservicescanada.ca


Footnotes: Citations and Sources

[1] Levitt, A.J., Boyle, M.H., Joffe, R.T., & Baumal, Z. 2000. Estimated prevalence of the seasonal subtype of major depression in a Canadian community sample. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 45(7), 650-654. VIA https://cmha.ca/winter-blues-10


Keyword tags:Ajax winter Activities, Town of Ajax Winter Amenities, Winter Family Fun in Ajax, Ajax Winter Activities for All to Enjoy

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