A skating rink, which has been set up in the parking lot at the town’s Day Adventure Centre, is proving to be a huge success with between 40 and 100 people enjoying the ice on any given day.
The idea came from local resident Troy Morton, and he has personally volunteered many hours to get the rink operational, with the help of a handful of others.
“I have a handful of volunteers – one of whom has been available day and night – and, any time that we need help, the help that we need comes.
“Could we use more? Absolutely but we get the job done with the people that show up. I am there quite a bit. I am only 30 seconds away. I consider it my baby. I am always popping in to see if anything is needed or help needed.”
The 98 ft by 48 ft rink opened officially Dec. 17, the day of the town’s Santa Claus parade, and, despite the snow which had been falling all day, Morton said a large crowed showed up. With 18 inches of ice there now, he joked that they will be skating there in July.
“It has just been phenomenal. The place is packed full of people day and night. It is all ages – from wee ones right up to seniors. It’s the full gamut. The canteen being operated on the site is selling out,” he said Wednesday noting that it is being run by volunteers and raising money for We’ve Got Your Back.
“It’s all non-profit and the money is going towards what they do. They are pulling in all kinds of money. Just last night they made $250 in one night.
“I have had a couple of complaints that people showed up yesterday to skate, but there was such a large group playing hockey so what I am going to do is go back to council and we will have two rinks next year.
“I can probably build a hockey rink bigger and attach it to the skating rink”
The rink is open all day, and Morton said he unlocks the door at 8:30 a.m. while hours for the canteen are a little sporadic as it is run by volunteers.
The warming centre, which is in the former tourist information building, has benches and two washrooms. He said there have been times when it has been so busy they could have used a bigger building.
“On any given day we will see anywhere between 40 and 100 people. The other night there were 40 some people on the ice at one time and the next night it was just a mirror image.”
The town gave him $1000 to build the rink, said Morton, Boyd’s Home Hardware gave them a super deal on the lumber and Cooke Aquaculture provided the liner, which was a big expense, plus providing everything else that was needed.
Information about the rink can be found on the rink’s Facebook page by searching Town of St. George Community Built Skating Rink.
There will be an opportunity to Skate with the St. Stephen Aces Feb. 19 at the rink between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Morton said this will be a chance to meet the players, get their autographs and buy Aces gear, while LeBlanc’s Independent Grocery will be doing a barbeque.
Admission will be free but donations will be accepted for the St. George and area food bank. The event, which is being held in conjunction with the town’s Family Day, is sponsored by Cooke Aquaculture and the weather date is Feb. 26.
Morton has come up with a schedule for hockey times versus skating times, based on the fact that school ends after 3 p.m.
“All other times not shown, are going to be user based times and normal rules apply. Skating comes first, but hockey is allowed, if no skaters are using the ice.”
The schedule is available on the Town of St. George Community built Skating Rink Facebook page.