South Shore skaters rejoice as Candiac opens first refrigerated ice rink

South Shore skaters enjoy the city's newly opened refrigerated ice rink. Brayden Jagger Haines

South Shore skaters got an early gift just in time for this year’s green Christmas as the City of Candiac opened its first refrigerated ice rink to the public.

The first eager skaters got to glide across the NHL regulation-sized surface on Thursday after the city inaugurated the multimillion-dollar eco-friendly facility.

The spacious open-concept rink, situated on the grassy grounds of Haendel Park, cost the city $4.6 million, with the province covering a third of the bill to the tune of $1.7 million.

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Covered by a massive wooden roof, the rink is protected from the elements.

Resident Hugues Lepage says the refrigerated rink will allow him and his family to enjoy the winter sport no matter the weather.

“With the changes in climate, we need a rink we can use from now until March,” Lepage said.

The city says the wooden beams that span the ceiling were designed with an eco-responsible approach and made to meet the highest requirements in terms of sustainable environmental development.

For Lepage, hitting the ice for the first time was an experience to remember.

“It’s really impressive,” Lepage said. “The architecture, it’s really beautiful, it’s got a great look. We find it awesome.”

READ MORE: East York man builds huge backyard rink, invites neighbourhood to take part

The project, which began in June, is a part of the growing south shore city’s ambitious 2018-33 strategic development plan.

While the rink is open just in time for the unseasonably warm winter weather, much of the surrounding landscape is unfinished. The city plans on completing the work next spring.

The Haendel Park rink landscape is expected to be completed by spring, the city says. Brayden Jagger Haines

“We are proud to present our citizens with quality infrastructure, which they can benefit from all year round,” Candiac Mayor Normand Dyotte said.

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“We are committed to providing Candiac residents with adapted facilities that allow them to move and stay healthy.”

The refrigeration system will run all winter, keeping the ice cool from December through March, however the city says the space will be used for a number of functions throughout the year.

The rink is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but reopens December 26 at 9 a.m.

READ MORE: City of Calgary outdoor skating rink closed for the season due to budget cuts

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