Monday, January 28, 2013

Mississauga Fire Department Rescue Training

Port Credit Marina Water, Ice Training Venue

The sunny, windless days this past weekend proved the perfect opportunity for Mississauga Fire Department to practice pulling each other out of the frigid Credit River waters.

And though these pictures show large burly men in full gear walking on the ice, please do not attempt this yourself. With temperatures fluctuating from sub-zero to balmy, ice conditions change rapidly. And the firemen were already on scene in case real rescue was needed; it may take them a bit longer to come pull you out.

Credit River at Snug Harbour restaurant views across Marina to Port Credit Lighthouse, Mississauga, ON.
Port Credit Lighthouse at Marina
The warm (for winter) weekend days drew dozens of visitors to the Port Credit waterfront, including the couple pictured feeding the ducks and gulls sunning themselves on the river ice. The frigid temperatures earlier in the week allowed the river to freeze solidly in shallower sections.

Group of firemen in safety gear inflate rescue boat at Port Credit Marina near Snug Harbour.
Fire Department Inflate Rescue Boat at Marina Port Credit
Wearing safety gear, the firemen open and inflate the boat to be used in practice rescue.
 Overheard: "Who put the boat away wet?"
[The building visible top right is Snug Harbour restaurant, currently closed for renovations. I've been informed re-opening is slated for February 21.]

Firemen probing ice thickness of Credit River at Snug Harbour, Mississauga, ON
Mississauga Firemen Testing Ice Thickness Credit River 
 While the boat is being inflated, two firemen walk across the ice to a previously-created hole, and the edge of the ice sheet. Behind them, interested onlookers watch from the pier outside Snug Harbour. As soon as the firemen began to cross the marina ice, the ducks and gulls took wing, though you can see the birds' tracks on the snow-covered ice.

Mississauga Fire Department launch inflatable boat from Port Credit Marina dock.
Inflatable Boat Port Credit Marina Dock
 Meanwhile, boat inflated, the firemen move it onto the ice, near the open water. The buildings center background (see One Port Street) are part of the (private) Port Credit Harbour Marina, slated for extensive redevelopment over the coming months and years.

See Inspiration Port Credit for aerial view of affected lands. The area pictured in this post is in the blue area between the red.

The blue railing, foreground, marks the end of the pier that separates the Credit River from the (public, city-owned) Credit Village Marina.

Kneeling on river ice, fireman uses rope with float to pull another fireman from Credit River.
Chilly Swim for Mississauga Firemen
Credit River water temperature is about 3C (36F), which, this day, is only a little warmer than the air temperature. The fireman kneeling on a sled on the ice hauls in a colleague, while the third fireman swims away from them, across the clear ice sheets.

Bright orange inflatable boat launched by Mississauga Fire Dept at Credit River in front of Snug Harbour restaurant.
Launching the Inflatable ~ Credit River 
One fireman swims away from the ice edge in preparation for a water rescue using the inflatable boat. To enter the open water of the river, most of the firemen knelt or crouched on the ice edge, then rolled over and slid into the water.

To the delight of onlookers, one fireman bravely stepped off the edge, and entered with a splash that gave him a good dunking, and sent a stream of icy water into his suit.

One fireman in orange inflatable boat pulling in two firemen from Credit River in winter.
Winter Water Rescue Training Mississauga Fire
 Snug Harbour patio pillars reflecting in Credit River are testament to the calm winds and water that provided a perfect opportunity for training exercises. Several different teams took part, as the training covered two sessions each day (Saturday and Sunday).

A Mallard Duck stands on river ice, Port Credit Marina Park, ignoring three firemen and a rescue boat, part of a training exercise.
Firemen? What Firemen? Mallard Preens on Credit River Ice.
All firemen safely ashore (or should it be 'on ice?), and inflatable pulled from the water. Intent on his preening, a Mallard ignores the activity behind it.

Following the weekend's ideal winter weather, Monday (today) saw early morning wet snow fall that turned to freezing rain and ice pellets before turning into rain. The forecast calls for  unseasonably warm temperatures for today through Wednesday, with heavy rains on Wednesday.

That means most of the ice will be gone, as will any snow, before the next freeze on Thursday. Keep in mind it takes many days of consistently below freezing temperatures to before ice is thick enough to support your weight.

For information about Mississauga Fire, see the City of Mississauga.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

First Snow of Winter in Port Credit ON

A White Christmas was a day or so late in Port Credit this year, but a White Day or so After Christmas is just as good.  Once the snow fall tapered off, I headed out to see what the village looked like with a light blanket of snow.

Man on paddle board surfing the waves at the mouth of the Credit River in Port Credit, off Saddington Park.
Paddle Boarder Riding the Waves.
Just hours before the snow started falling, I spotted several very hardy and obviously experienced paddle boarders on the Credit River, just off Saddington Park. Strong winds heralded the approaching snow storm, setting up large waves on Lake Ontario and into the river, crashing ashore at the stone breakwater.

Snow is still falling as a cross-country skier heads through Saddington Park in Port Credit.
Skier Saddington Park Port Credit
 Just enough snow to entice a few cross country skiers to take to the slopes and trails at Saddington Park. Though fine weather and warm temperatures bring most visitors to the park, it's a good place to come in winter, too. With the arrival of snow and cold temperatures, this fairly compact city park has also drawn sledders to its low manmade hills and skaters and hockey players on its now-frozen shallow pond.

Snowfall blankets evergreen trees around the Waterfront Trail sign at the Port Credit Marina.
Waterfront Trail Port Credit Marina 
 New snow lays heavy on the evergreens at the Port Credit Marina, now closed for the season. In the picture, it looks as if it could be located out in the woods, but busy Lakeshore Road and the Port Credit library are behind the trees about 10 feet away.

Snow-covered grasses at Lake Ontario St Lawrence Park frame the gazebo.
Gazebo St Lawrence Park Port Credit
 The Waterfront Trail continues from the marina to Port Street East along the Lake Ontario shoreline to St Lawrence Park, where new snow covers the tall grasses and the gazebo. The trail had not been cleared as yet, as it was still snowing light flurries

Canada Geese Credit River in Winter
Along the jetty that separates Port Credit Marina from the Credit River, a small flock of Canada Geese took shelter from the windy, wavy lake. Nearby, mallards, long tail ducks and assorted seagulls and pigeons kept each other company.

Port Credit lighthouse, home of the BIA, rises at the west end of a pedestrian bridge across the Credit River.
Bridge and Trail to the Port Credit Lighthouse
A dreary day brightens with the light of the Port Credit Lighthouse seen here from across the pedestrian bridge that takes the Waterfront Trail over the Credit River. The total snowfall was about 8 cm (3 inches), just enough to remind us all to hone our snow-removal skills that had been eroded following two winters with little to no snowfall in the area.

This small sign relating the history of the Port Credit lighthouse is fastened to a cherry tree at the edge of Marina Park.
Port Credit Lighthouse History Sign
 A sign originally put up, perhaps for Doors Open Mississauga or one of the various Walks in Port Credit is tied to a cherry tree at the edge of Marina Park. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Cheery orange bike with basket of snow-covered greenery in front of Paint the Town Red trailer, Marina Park, Port Credit.
Decorated Bicycle Marina Park Port Credit
The Paint the Town Red trailer is behind fencing in the seasonal parking lot south of Marina Park. These decorated bicycles, place and maintained by volunteers for TOPCA  are found around Port Credit.  See TOPCA page for details.

The skies stayed overcast much of the day, but the snow flurries stopped by evening. Following days saw mostly bright sun and blue skies,  and a rare glimpse of the full winter moon.

The clear weather brought out more visitors to Saddington Park, a mix of  photographers, dog walkers and skaters, sliders and  skiers and families out for a New Year's Day stroll. A perfect week to have calm, cold weather, while the kids are still on Christmas break.

While sunny skies brought out the photographers, I wanted to show you how the village looks when the weather is overcast and stormy.