Lots of choices for outdoor skating this winter in Kitchener

by Helen Hall
Kitchener Citizen
January 11, 2018

​​​​​There are some benefits to the frigid temperatures this winter.

People have been able to bundle up and participate in traditional Canadian out-door activities like skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and ice skating.

The City of Kitchener is helping to organize and support 38 outdoor winter rinks at community centres, schools and parks that can be used free of charge.

“The rink really brings people in a neighbourhood together,” says Mark Harris, Children’s Service Co-ordinator, who looks after the outdoor rinks in

“In the summer, it’s easy to go outside,” he said,  adding in the winter it’s things like community rinks that bring people together.

Harris said that, while the City of Kitchener helps organize the rinks, it is the “hard work of the volunteers” that makes the outdoor rink program possible.

This year, about 350 volunteers are maintaining outdoor rinks in the city.

“We’ve had amazing rink weather,” Harris said.

Each Kitchener rink has a sign encouraging people to wear proper equipment, such as a certified helmet. Harris said the rinks have low boards to encourage hockey players to keep the puck low when shooting to help avoid injuries on the ice.

Harris said keeping the puck low is “good shinny etiquette” since players rarely wear full hockey equipment.

Harris said rink organizers sometimes make rules around shinny and free skating times at their location, and that all skaters should look out for the safety and enjoyment of everyone on the ice.

He said some locations in Kitchener have two rinks so hockey can be played on one and just skating on the other.
Ice skating is not allowed on any stormwater ponds owned by the City of Kitchener.

Manager of the Stormwater Utility Nick Gollan said that people are often drawn to skating on the frozen tops of stormwater ponds, but they are not safe for recreation.

Gollan said some stormwater ponds are over two metres deep. They have water flowing under the ice, and sometimes air pockets between the ice and the water, making them unpredictable. Because they are created from stormwater runoff, the water in the pond has road salt in it that can affect the strength of the ice.

Gollan said items left on the ice by skaters, such as rink boards, seats, hockey sticks, pucks and nets can sink into the stormwater treatment ponds during a melt, and plug the pond and cause flooding.

To see a list of the locations of Kitchener’s outdoor rinks, visit www.kitchener.ca/outdoorrinks or see page 17 of the Kitchener Citizen. Volunteers are always needed. You can sign up by contacting Mark Harris at mark.harris@kitchener.ca.

​​December through March, more than 30 outdoor rinks operate at local schools, community centres and parks - providing fun and fitness to skaters of all ages.

The rinks are completely dependent on weather and volunteer support. Without generous help from community volunteers, the rinks wouldn’t be possible.

If you are interested in volunteering at one of Kitchener’s outdoor rinks, call the city at 519-741-2200, ext. 7389 for more information.

• Admiral Park, 93 Roxborough Ave. - Confirmed open
• Belmont Park, 285 Belmont Ave. W. - Confirmed open
• Bridgeport Community Cenre, 20 Tyson Dr. - Confirmed open
• Centreville Chicopee Community Centre, 141 Morgan Ave.
• Chandler Mowat Community Centre, 222 Chandler Dr. - Confirmed open
• Cherry Park, Strange Street and and Waverly Road - Confirmed open
• Conway Park, Conway Drive and Wayne Drive - Confirmed open
• Country Clair Park, Country Clair at Pebble Creek - Confirmed open
• Country Hills Community Centre, 100 Rittenhouse Rd. - Confirmed open
• Country Hills Public School, 195 Country Hill Dr.
• Crosby Park (formerly Stanley Park Public School), 191 Hickson Dr. - Confirmed open
• Doon Pioneer Park Community Centre, 150 Pioneer Dr. - Confirmed open
• Forest Heights Com-munity Centre, 1700 Queens Blvd. - Confirmed Open
• George Lippert Park, Weber and Louisa streets - Confirmed open
• Glendale Park, Rex Drive and Glen Road
• Guelph Park, Guelph Street and Clifton Road - Confirmed open
• King Edward Public School, 709 King St. W. (on Walter Street, near Agnes Street)
• Lakeside Park, Lakeside Drive and Gatewood Road - Confirmed open
• Max Becker Commons, Max Becker Drive and Commonwealth Road - Confirmed open
• Meadowlane Public School, 236 Forestwood Dr.
• Mill-Courtland Commun-ity Centre, 216 Mill St. - Confirmed open
• Morrison Park, Morrison Road - Confirmed open
• Pioneer Park Public School, 55 Upper Canada Dr.
• Pioneer Park West, 40 Green Valley Dr. - Confirmed open
• Prueter Public School, 40 Prueter Ave.
• River Ridge Community Rink (at Kiwanis Park), 600 Kiwanis Dr. - Confirmed open
• Salvation Army Church, 75 Tillsley Dr.
• Sheppard Public School, 278 Weber St. E. (at Stirling Avenue)
• Smithson Public School, 150 Belleview Ave.
• Southridge Public School, 1425 Queen’s Blvd.
• Stanley Park Community Centre, 505 Franklin St. N.
• Timberlane Park, Timberlane Crescent
• Vanier Park, 319 Vanier Dr.
• Victoria Hills Community Centre,10 Chopin Dr. - Confirmed open
• Victoria Park (2), Jubilee Drive and David Street
• Weber Park, Frederick and Edna streets - Confirmed open
• Westmount Public School, 329 Glasgow St. - Confirmed open

GETTING TOGETHER FOR A GAME OF SHINNY - The temperatures were low, but there was lots of sunshine for a game of shinny behind the Forest Heights Community Centre this weekend, on one of the outdoor rinks organized by the City of Kitchener. From left: Don Filiatrault, Jamie Sloat, London Sloat, Myles Filiatrault, and Nolan Filiatrault. Photo by Helen Hall.
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