How Centennial built a community rink

How Centennial built a community rink
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By Naomi Grosman
Courier Staff

One of Toronto’s largest parks is getting an upgrade with the help of students and faculty at Centennial College. Installation of a natural ice rink is underway in Morningside Park in Scarborough.

“Morningside Park is actually a little bigger than High Park,” Paul Ainslie city councillor for Ward 43 said. “In the winter there´s nothing going on.”

The initial idea

A community meeting was held in November last year to discuss with residents in Scarborough what they wanted to do to improve Morningside Park. About 60 people showed up for the meeting.

“One of the things that was mentioned in the meeting was what about an ice rink? A natural ice rink instead of one that´s artificial” Michael Gauthier said, the driving force behind the project and Professor of Applied Biological and Environmental Sciences at Centennial College.

Who was involved in the project?

Gauthier got his students involved in the project. He also approached Brian MacFarlane, President of Curran Hall Community Association who has experience making natural ice rinks. Home Depot provided the funding for the ice rink and all of the work put in was voluntary.
According to Ainslie, this collaboration had minimal city involvement. Centennial College and Home Depot made this happen with the approval of the city.

How the rink was made

The right materials and the right weather are crucial to making a natural ice rink. It is also a craft that requires many hours of hard work and it can take a long time till you see the finished product.

“Building an ice rink is not unlike making maple syrup,” MacFarlane said. “You have to be patient you have to be dedicated and spend a lot of time for a small product.”
The grand opening of the ice rink is expected to be in mid-February. All people have to do is bring their skates. Now the cold weather is something to look forward to.

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