Statement on Cancellation of 540 City Recreation Programs

3,800 Families Affected by Cancelled Swim, Skate, Arts and Fitness Classes

Toronto – The City of Toronto announced today that approximately 540 recreation courses must be cancelled due to the City’s failure to hire enough instructors. The cancelled swim, skate, arts and fitness classes will affect approximately 3,800 registrants. 

“Far too many parents will have to tell their children today that their swimming or art classes will be cancelled because of John Tory’s inability to manage our recreation programs,” said mayoral candidate Gil Penalosa. “Providing recreation programs is the basic expectation everyone has of their city government. Torontonians deserve better.”

Today’s unfortunate announcement is part of a worrying trend that saw swimming classes cancelled and wading pools closed earlier this summer due to a lack of lifeguards. Cancelled classes are just one of many recent problems in the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department under John Tory. Earlier this year, washrooms were locked and water fountains turned off well into June. 

Gil Penalosa’s Parks for Everyone plan will improve essential parks and recreation programs and functions by:

  • Increasing pay for lifeguards and instructors to ensure there will be enough qualified staff to keep swimming, sports and art classes from being cancelled, and wading pools from closing.
  • Winterizing washrooms in large parks to ensure Torontonians can use park washrooms and water fountains all year round.
  • Leaving park washrooms open longer in summer months by shifting a ward-based closing schedule from 8-10pm to 9-11pm on a rotating basis.
  • Emptying waste more frequently instead of dumping additional unattractive waste bins across parks.

To learn more about Gil Penalosa’s Toronto for Everyone mayoral campaign, focused on more affordable housing, safer streets and better public services that actually work for everyone, please visit

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