Sad news: there will be no Pearen Park skating rink this year. The MDCA announced that a combination of global warming and few volunteers has led to the difficult decision.
Simon Chamberlain and other excellent residents put endless hours of work, always in the cold and often in the middle of the night, into the community rink, which they hoped would help newcomers enjoy winter in Canada.
The MDCA says they “the fall, we will decide if the rink can ever be re-activated, and what to do with the skates, helmets, and clothing.”
The annual Pearen Park skating rink is looking for volunteers. It’s probably the best skating rink in the city, if you ask me. The all-volunteer group introduces newcomers to Canadian winters, and loans out skates to all comers. If you have time (or money), I know that you couldn’t spend it better.
Two local groups are looking for volunteers. The MDCA is “VERY short of volunteers” at the Pearen Park skating rink. They are looking for some good people to work in the skate shop, some talented folks to coach skating after school and on the weekends. If you are interested, you can contact Simon.
The Black Creek Alliance is also hoping you’ll stop up to help them with their pollinator’s festival. While all hands are welcome, they are extra interested in hearing volunteer coordinators and entertainers. They’ll be hosting their first meeting at Access Alliance at 761 Jane St on Feb 11th from 6-7:30. They would be grateful if you would RSVP.
The yeomen at Pearen Park have thrown in the skates for the year. Simon Chamberlain says, “Overall, many more hours were spent trying to make ice than those spent actually skating.”
The volunteers at Pearen Park are big-hearted, community-minded civic leaders. They build and maintain the rink every year, lend out skates, and teach all comers (and newcomers) one of the joys of winter. Last year and this were pretty dismal, however, with warm weather and few skating days.
Chamberlain has exciting news about that, “we are hoping for a better season next year, and also exploring options for creating a more reliable, artificially-cooled rink.”
It’s the final week of skating in Pearen Park, the excellent, free, community-organized skating rink in Mount Dennis.
I’ve been taking an online class on documentary making, and I’ve been working on a show about the people behind the magic at the rink.
Keep in mind that it’s for an international audience‚ so I’ve conflated Etobicoke, Mount Dennis, and Weston. Though the distinctions matter, I hope you’ll overlook them to see how much I admire the local heroes Josie and Simon.
When I sell this dot-com of mine for a quarter billion, I know where I’m going to put it. In the meantime, if you should find a fiver (or a twenty) in a laundry pocket, might I make a suggestion? The good people at the Mount Dennis outdoor skating rink could use a few bucks.
I spoke to Simon Chamberlain; he told me how they are lending out skates–and even gloves and socks–to people in the neighbourhood to help them learn to skate and to give them something to do after school. All the money is coming out of the volunteers’ own pockets, yet they have somehow cobbled together 80 pairs of skates and done a bang-up job of running a shoestring operation. Despite (or even because) of their unofficial, low-rent, under-the-radar status, I trust them.
While I was there, I saw a dozen or so people skating, some of whom were obviously not people of substantial means. One young man borrowed a pair of skates and a shovel and set about cleaning his own area of the rink of snow so that he could practice hockey. This is the sort of thing that makes a difference.
If you can spare a buck or a few hours of your time, you can get in touch with the good people in charge of this at skates (circle-a) mountdennis.ca.
Before watching the video, turn down your speakers. The wind played havoc with my little camera.