New skating rink opens in downtown Fredericton’s Officers’ Square

Click to play video: 'Fredericton’s Officers’ Square entering final stages of construction'
Fredericton’s Officers’ Square entering final stages of construction
After nearly six years, Officers’ Square is entering its final stages of construction. The controversial update has faced a lot of backlash. Fredericton City Council moved to revitalize the historical site in 2018 and says the skating rink should be open in January 2024. Nathalie Sturgeon has the latest. – Apr 12, 2023

The new skating rink at Officers’ Square in downtown Fredericton opened on Friday morning.

Councillor Bruce Grandy was the first person on the new ice surface.

“It’s very good ice, it’s very smooth, it’s going to be a great venue for people to come and recreate and skate and gather,” he said.

The project was first pitched in 2018 as part of a $10.4 million redevelopment of Officers’ Square, which will now include a stage for public events. The redevelopment had been met with some opposition over the loss of a number of mature trees and a wrought iron fence around part of the property.

The new rink received top marks from six year-old Raylan Smith, who just began learning how to skate this fall.

“It’s fun and I really like because it makes me confident,” he said.

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Smith’s mother Karine Larivee says it’s great to have an easily accessible rink in the middle of downtown to bring her kids.

“I love to be able to go outdoors and spend some time with my kids and do something together,” she said.

The artificial rink cost about $1.5 million and will mean more reliable skating than the old natural rinks that were on site each winter. Mayor Kate Rogers says she often took her kids to skate at Officers’ Square and is quite familiar with how unreliable it could be.

“It would always be a disappointment, you’d come down and if the ice would be really, really soft, you wouldn’t be able to skate so there was always a bit of disappointment there,” she said.

“So, it’s nice to know that it’s a sure thing. From here until the end of March we’ll have ice and people will be able to come down and use this amenity.”

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