A group of dedicated dads are giving children the chance to experience skating in the great outdoors. Rita Nave has more on this labour of love and the smiles it’s putting on children’s faces.
These children can’t wait to get on the ice! Drive by Kinsmen Park in Whitby on any given day and chances are you’ll find children skating on this outdoor ice rink.
“It’s pretty cool because I almost come over here whenever I want and whenever I have a little bit of free time.”
“I like it because me and my friends can skate here whenever we have free time.”
“It’s good for everyone. Good for families who want to come out and good for hockey practices.”
Rob Van Mil was one of the fathers who have been instrumental in getting the Town of Whitby behind them on this project.
“There’s a whole group of us working together and pooling our resources and talents together making sure that the kids have somewhere to skate. I grew up with backyard rinks and playing with my friends that way and the whole thinking was getting the kids outside and off the iPad and have some good, wholesome fun.”
The ice rink was built in late December and van Mil says the dads are out there every night flooding the rink. No skating equipment, no problem!
“Oh it’s terrific and the best part is, it’s community based. As you can see here, it’s a really nice rink, nice boards. It’s so nice to see kids getting outside, enjoying themselves. There are free hockey sticks here, there’s a box of skates that people can take if they need them. There’s some cones that separate the hockey players from the skaters. It’s just a wonderful feel good story about kids getting out and having fun.”
“We’re very fortunate, the kids have been on it every day it’s available to us and for multiple hours. From the time they can until sundown. We’re here.”
“It is really heartwarming to see this happen and the place is packed on a good day, weekends, PA day. It was wonderful to see so many people enjoying it.”
Volunteers say they hope the cold temperatures continue, so children who haven’t tried it, can get out and experience the great Canadian winter tradition.