Ice Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in South River at Noon,Saturday Feb 2, 2019
What happens when a small town pulls together almost thirty volunteers who contribute over 200 hours of collective effort in sub-zero temperatures (sometimes approaching -30 C) to pour tens of thousands of litres of water along a 400 m path?
You get the Ice Ribbon Skating Trail at Tom Thomson Park in South River, Ontario. The path has been open for public skating since this past weekend and the grand opening is scheduled for Noon on Saturday, February 2 (Groundhog Day).
“With all the effort folks have put in I sure hope Wiarton Willie confirms an extended mild winter so folks can enjoy the trail throughout February”, said PARC Association chair Todd Lucier who co-ordinated the ice-making effort. “It has been quite inspiring to have such terrific community support for this dream to become reality.“
Nearby Arrowhead Provincial Park has a skate trail that attracts thousands of visitors each winter. With full time park staff and gate fees that cover the cost of creating and maintaining their ice, Lucier and the South River community depend on the goodwill of the community to provide an ice skating opportunity with a suggested skater donation fee of just $2.
“Already it seems folks are taken with the idea of skating through the park. If residents and visitors get attached to the idea perhaps next year we will set our sights on getting some dedicated equipment and staff to take care of the ice – maybe even a zamboni. For now, we’ll do what we can to keep the ice surface in good repair by removing snow after large accumulations and providing twice a week watering. We invite patrons to lend a hand by pushing a shovel around the ribbon to keep the snow drifts at bay.” Lucier sees the Ice Ribbon as a stage for community events, “It’s a great place to host an outdoor gathering. I’m excited to see how folks will use the Ice Ribbon.”
In addition to the volunteer help, South River businesses have offered in-kind services and valuable resources that have made the Ice Ribbon project possible: Brown’s Quarry cleared the snow and created the path. Northern Edge Algonquin provided a tractor and snow blowing to remove large snowfalls. (Griffith Brothers Garage towed the tractor in and out of town when needed) with Black’s Guest house providing nearby parking for the rig. Stonemote Cottage and Northern Edge Algonquin built a watering rig. Highlander Brew Co. provided thousands of litres of 160 degree F hot water to flood the ice.
South River Guardian Pharmacy and Dr. Bob Weaver purchased shovels. Jeffery Dickerson crafted benches to make it easy for folks to lace up trailside. Sherry’s Diner provided hot chocolate and sandwiches to keep the volunteers bellies full. Lucier summed it up by saying, “It takes a community to make a dream come true.”
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