Seeing Themselves on Skis

By Ron Fanfair

Ron Fanfair


31 Division
52 Division

Constable Niruban Ganeshalingam is helping to get teens on the ski slopes just as he was introduced to the sport he now loves as a student.

“Growing up in Sri Lanka, I was not exposed to the sport,” Ganeshalingam said. “When I came here, I thought it was too expensive for someone like me.”

Years later, he is helping connect kids to the sport.

Since 2019, he and other police officers – two of whom are certified ski instructors – have been accompanying middle and high school students to ski resorts just outside the city but often a world away for many teens who just don’t see themselves on skis.

Each year they bring kids from different schools, and in 2022 brought kids from Donwood Park Public School.

“The cool thing about that school was that there were a group of Syrian refugees at the time that came out with us. They skied before and they ended up enjoying it. It’s just amazing to give young people an opportunity to learn a skill that they build on to have more great experiences,” he said.

Two people on a ski run
Constable Niruban Ganeshalingam with a new skier

Parkdale Public School students went on the skiing trip in 2023 and St. Andre Catholic School students relished the experience this year.

“We take about 30 kids three times during the winter every year,” said Ganeshalingam, noting the importance of giving them the opportunity to find their edge over a couple of sessions. “If you take them once, they might not like it. It usually takes three times for someone to like something. Some of them are frustrated at the beginning but by day three, they are actually skiing with us.”

Ganeshalingam is motivated to expose people to the sport just as he was as a college student when his Police Foundations program classmate Jessica Bennie, who is now a South Simcoe police officer, invited him to try the sport alongside her sister Laura, who is now a Media Relations Officer with Toronto Police Corporate Communications.

“One day Jess asked if I wanted to go skiing and I told her it was too costly,” Ganeshalingam recalled. “She told me it was affordable and I should give it a try. She and Laura taught me how to ski and I fell in love with the sport.”

Starting his policing career at 41 Division, he later became a School Resource officer so was working directly with young people. He later became a member of the Public Safety Response Team, followed by 52 Division and is now seconded to the Emergency Management & Public Order Unit.

He started the program for students in 2019 with L’Amoreaux Collegiate Institute but had to pause it during the pandemic.

ProAction Cops & Kids provide funding for the bus and food while the Canadian Ski Council gives significant funds for the lessons and other costs.


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