TORONTO – The city opened many of its outdoor skating rinks Saturday, including Toronto’s first-ever outdoor covered ice rink at Greenwood Park.
Close to 200 eager Leslieville residents finally got the chance to hit the ice at the east-end park after Councillor Paula Fletcher officially opened the long-awaited rink with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
“This fantastic new rink and skating path are landmark additions to the city of Toronto and a stunning new showpiece in the Greenwood community,” said Fletcher.
Construction began in 2011 and was to be completed for the 2012 ice skating season. However, a rainy fall and old infrastructure pushed the opening to 2013.
Aside from the covered hockey rink, a 215-metre skating path winds its way around a large, landscaped area in between the rink and the newly upgraded change rooms.
Calling it a “prototype for years to come,” Fletcher said the new rink will be used year-round.
“We don’t have any indoor arenas in this area so this is a good way to make sure you can skate, have games, have permits to go without any problems, all season long,” the councillor said.
The covered rink will extend the ice-skating season beyond the end of February, when the city’s rinks officially close.
“It gives you a longer playing season, when it’s raining or it’s warm and when you get to March and the sun is pretty high, you can still have great skating,” Fletcher said.
During the summer, Leslieville residents can still make use of the facilities as retractable basketball nets were installed in the rafters of the covered hockey rink.
“This park, every morning about 6:30 there’s 30-40 people that come and do Tai Chi here,” the councillor said. “Well, they’ll be able to do it under the roof in the summer time. It’s so much flexibility for use in the park.”
The city spent $700,000 on the building’s interior design, adding a new family change room and accessible shower and change areas. $3.4 million went to the design and installation of the ice rink and roof construction — of which $300,000 was donated by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Limited, which also provided a donation of hockey nets.
© Shaw Media, 2013