Our Mississippi Lake ice has been forming in starts and stops this month. Soon enough, the lake will be ready for winter activities. And winter safety!
There are many different ways people take advantage of the lake ice through the winter months. We go skating on carefully maintained rinks, or some years on the freshly frozen lake. We go hiking or cross-country skiing near our shores. We go ice-fishing in huts that get towed out to safe areas. We go snowmobiling around the lake, preferably not too close to people's shoreline homes. And when the ice gets thick, there's even a marked OFSC trail across Second Lake.
All of our winter sports require a careful understanding of ice thickness. Drill through the ice, then use a long hook (like a coat hanger) to measure thickness in various places. Bring a long stick, used to test the ice in front of you (or to rescue someone who has fallen through). Don't assume the ice is uniformly thick! Our lake has many narrow or shallow areas where the current keeps the ice thin. Stay far away from any open water.
Over the last few winters, first responders have been called to deal with tragic breakthroughs on our Mississippi Lake ice, between Father Point and Craig Shore. In January of 2019, a local resident died when a small car plunged through the ice. And in January of 2021, a man fell through thin ice and was stuck in freezing water until rescuers arrived. That rescue was filmed by a drone camera, with the footage broadcast all across the country
Get out and enjoy the winter lake safety. Don't be the next person to have an accident! Talk to your friends and neighbours about the safe season on the ice and the safest areas of the lake. Let's enjoy the ice without putting ourselves (and our rescuers) in danger.
The Canadian Red Cross has potentially life-saving information on their Ice Safety page. Take a look