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December 21, 2009
Use your head - wear a helmet at the City’s alpine centres this season
The City of Toronto invites residents to get stoked this winter by heading to Toronto’s two ski and snowboard centres. Centennial Park Ski and Snowboard Centre at 256 Centennial Park Rd. and Earl Bales Ski and Snowboard Centre at 4169 Bathurst St. are now open with limited runs.

The opening of the ski and snowboard centres also officially launches the City’s ski and snowboard helmet initiative. Approved helmets are now mandatory for ski and snowboard activities for the following groups and participants of all ages: Board of Education program and group participants, instructional program participants, freestyle and ski race program participants and instructional staff, on-hill supervisors and ski patrol members.

According to Dr. David McKeown, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, “Traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of ski and snowboard related injuries and death. Implementation of comprehensive prevention programs, including the helmet use policy, makes Toronto a leader in ski and snowboard safety, especially for children and youth.”

Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death (50 to 80 per cent, estimated) from both skiing and snowboarding. Concussions represent 9.6 per cent of injuries in skiers, 14.7 per cent of injuries in snowboarders and 5.7 per cent of injuries in snowbladers. A number of research studies have shown that ski and snowboard helmets are effective at preventing head injuries. It is estimated that for every 10 people who wear a helmet, up to six may avoid head injuries.

“The Helmet Policy is the leading component of an effective strategy to prevent and reduce ski and snowboard deaths,” said Councillor Janet Davis, Chair of Community Development and Recreation Committee (Ward 31 Beaches-East York). “Education, awareness raising, skill development, role modeling by staff and site signage and safety barriers all add up to safer ski and snowboard participation.”

Starting today, 1,500 helmets will be available to rent for all participants of the ski and snowboard schools. Reusable hygienic liners will be available at both centres for a nominal price of $2. For many children and youth, the City’s ski and snowboard centres are an entry point to the sport where they not only learn ski and snowboard skills, but also learn good safety practices

“Ski and snowboard-related injuries are predictable and preventable,” said Dr. Warren Goldstein, Consulting Neurologist, Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and York Central Hospital Department of Neurology. He noted, “Mandatory helmet use by all instructional staff, on-hill supervisors and ski patrols is an effective safety message to all alpine sports enthusiasts. This may influence the young skier/snowboarder to continue wearing a helmet into adulthood and prevent serious injuries over the course of the child’s lifetime.”

Regular hours of operation at Centennial and Earl Bales ski and snowboard centres:
Mondays to Fridays: 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Saturdays: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sundays: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

During the regular ski season, the Centennial Park location operates a T-bar and Magic Carpet lift with a total of three beginner/intermediate runs while the Earl Bales Park location features one beginner hill with a rope tow and three intermediate hills with a double chairlift.

Both facilities will operate on a special schedule for the holidays:
Dec. 21-23: 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Dec. 24: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Dec. 25: Closed
Dec. 26: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Dec 27: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 28-30: 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Dec. 31: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
January 1: 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Both facilities are operated by Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation and offer snowboard and downhill skiing equipment rentals including helmets and instructional programs for people of all ages, including private lessons. Limited space is currently available in ski and snowboard programs for the winter 2010 season. Visit to check on program availability.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation media line, 416-560-8726,



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