Story by Stephen Boyle
Looking for something to do when the temperature drops and the snow starts to fly? Why not embrace the winter, get active and have some fun with the kids and your community neighbours. Dust off the skates and take to the ice whenever you want. Outdoor rinks are a great option for those of you looking to get together for a group skate or game of shinny (pick-up hockey).
You don’t pay for ice time and you don’t need to worry about a set schedule. Parents, tired of having to watch your kids have all the fun on the ice, now you can join them! Outdoor rinks give you more flexibility for play time, simply call up your friends and family and coordinate an event or just head out to one of the venues and join in on a game of pick-up hockey!
There are a few options available and conveniently located throughout the city. Our community is very lucky to have three natural ice, outdoor skating rinks. These venues are run entirely by volunteers. This dedicated group of people are the ones that flood the rinks and clear the snow so that you can enjoy the wonders of winter. Here’s a summary for each of the locations in our neigbourhood:
This outdoor rink is located on Lorraine Drive next to the Edithvale Community Centre. It’s location to the community centre and neighbourhood demographics makes it a great option for both skating and pick-up hockey. It has a large ice surface and can accommodate both free skate and informal hockey games at the same time. It gets well used and is a good location for those hoping to jump into a game of pick-up hockey. The outdoor fire pit makes a great addition to this rink, be sure to bring your marshmallows! You can find out more about this one by checking out the links below:
Glendora rink is located one block south of Sheppard Ave. E., on Willowdale Ave. It is arguable the biggest of the three rinks featured in this article, but we will let you decide for yourself. This is the only outdoor rink with end-boards and netting which makes it a fan favorite for the hockey-playing groups. The size of this rink and fact that it has a separate ice surface dedicated to free skate means you can have multiple people with varying abilities on the ice at the same time.
The rink is managed by a small but mighty group of volunteers and they are always looking for another set of hands to help. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org if are would like to find out more and get involved.
The Parkview rink is one block west of Bayview Ave., on the corner of Kingsdale and Estelle Ave. When it comes to ice management there are no others as dedicated and skilled as this group. Don’t believe me, come check it out for yourself! This large outdoor rink is open to all and gets a good amount of use thanks to its caretakers. It considers itself a learning rink and makes an ideal location for those who are just learning to skate and/or looking to tryout hockey. Don’t have a hockey stick, no problem as there are a number of them available free of charge.
Download the SnapChat app and search for Parkview Rink Rats so that you can get notifications and up to date information about the rink. Looking to coordinate a game of pick-up hockey is easy with this group.
So, there are really no excuses for you. Get out there and try all three rinks this winter. You can decide which one is your favorite.
Stephen Boyle is President of the Willowdale Central Ratepayers Association (WCRA) and a shinny fan. Learn more about WCRA at willowdalecentral.org.
Editors Note: There is an additional outdoor ice rink (weather permitting) located at Caswell Park (18 Caswell Dr).