By Mike Pearson, News staff
With bone chilling temperatures gripping the Hamilton area this winter, many of us may be tempted to stay indoors.
But a cold winter also provides the perfect ingredients for an outdoor ice rink. And no matter where you live in the city, chances are there’s a place to skate in your area.
The City of Hamilton has designated more than 40 outdoor ice rinks in city parks that are maintained by volunteer committees. There are no user fees at city park ice rinks, but skaters must bring their own skates, helmets and other equipment. When rinks are operational, lighting is provided until 11 p.m. nightly.
Jim Steep, dubbed the mayor of Westdale by Ward 1 councillor Brian McHattie, has been helping to maintain the Churchill Park outdoor rink on a volunteer basis for about 20 years. McHattie recently presented Steep with a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in honour of his volunteer commitments.
Throughout his years of service, Steep loves seeing the community enjoy the fruits of his labour.
“It makes me feel good,” said Steep. “The joy of having a lot of fun at an event is really good for the soul.”
Skating at city parks is done at the public’s own risk. While the use of hockey sticks and pucks is allowed on many rinks, slap shots are prohibited. At rinks designated for pleasure skating only, hockey or ringette sticks and pucks are not permitted. Helmets are strongly recommended at all rinks. Skaters should also watch out for ruts and patches of uneven ice.
The Dundas Driving Park at Cross Street and Parkview Row offers another popular skating site. With an artificial ice surface that remains open throughout the winter, you can always expect great skating conditions, even during an extended warm spell.
Hamilton also operates an outdoor artificial rink on the city’s waterfront at Pier 8.
The Ancaster Heritage Village BIA maintains an ice rink at St. John’s Anglican Church, with maintenance provided by volunteers and sponsors. Skaters use the ice at their own risk and hockey is not permitted. This year the rink was slated to open on January 25.
“The Ancaster Heritage Village BIA champions the community rink and truly appreciates the time and effort by those that spent their Sundays and some weekdays getting the rink going for 2013,” said BIA executive director Leah Higens. “A big thank you goes out to St. John’s Anglican Church for allowing the rink to be set up on their property.”
A few key people are involved in setting up boards and liner material for the rink, including Jim Panoff, Frank Ernest and Bill Smith. Dodsworth and Brown Funeral Home donated funds to have the rink filled by Ancaster Water Haulage.
Anyone interested in helping to maintain the ice rink can contact Higens at email@example.com