Outdoor skating rinks, trail to open in early December: City of London

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The City of London has announced plans to open its outdoor skating rinks and trail for the holiday season.

Staff are working to open the outdoor rink in Victoria Park and the Storybook Gardens Skate Trail for Dec. 5 and open the Rotary Rink at Covent Garden Market for Dec. 12.

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However, there will be a few changes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The city says signs indicating all health measures and precautions will be posted at each location. For physical distancing, the city asks that if a rink is “too busy or crowded” when you arrive, you wait until it clears a bit or come back another time.

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Washrooms will still be available, but skate rentals will not be offered and indoor facilities for changing will not be open.

While the Victoria Park and Covent Garden Market rinks are free, the city says registration for the skate trail is required and admission will be $3 per person.

The city says it will allow 85 skaters per time slot to allow for physical distancing along the 250-metre, 10,000-square-foot outdoor winter skating trail, which winds through the park grounds.

Registration for skate trail sessions can be completed up to a week before the session and will be available starting Nov. 28 through the city’s Play Your Way portal, by calling 519-661-5575, or starting Nov. 30 at the city’s second-floor offices in Citi Plaza downtown.

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The skate trail will be open Tuesday through Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., weather permitting.

Storybook Gardens also says the skate aid and sledge rentals “will be available for free on a first-come, first-serve basis” and that they will be “cleaned and disinfected between users.” Sledges can also be reserved during registration.

The rink in Victoria Park will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., weather permitting, with a closure from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. for ice resurfacing.

The Rotary Rink at Covent Garden Market will be open Monday to Thursday as well as Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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— with files from Global News’ Natalie Lovie.