Sat. Aug 13th, 2022

During some of the coldest months of the year, some Ottawa residents undertake to build and maintain outdoor skating rinks, and they are an important part of keeping their community active during the winter.

Rob Nino is one of the volunteers. He is in his 10th year of maintaining an outdoor skating rink in Kanata, and all he wants in return is to see it busy every day.

“Last week there were eight guys my age, half retired. Had half a round of ice cream going on. And a bunch, a gym class from AY There must have been 18 of them on the other side of the ice. That’s it, it’s all is about.”

Rob Nino

Monday, while the kids were in school, the ice rink was well used by some old-timers.

“I’m here to enjoy a good time, beautiful,” says Larry Srutek, who is in his 70s. “This is one of the best days. A beautiful afternoon with the boys.”

“It’s the pure fun of it, sheer enjoyment,” says 61-year-old Johnny. “I mean, that’s what the game is about. Games are meant to be fun.”

“Of the more than 200 outdoor skating rinks in Ottawa, it is a community like this, fully maintained by volunteers, that skaters appreciate most. Without the volunteers, these skating rinks would not exist.

“We have a lot of outdoor ice rinks here in Kanata South, and every single one of them is busy,” said Ottawa Councilor Allan Hubley. “And the only reason they work is because of the volunteers.”

Johnny adds, “Absolutely amazing. And the volunteers, full thumbs up.”

Sometimes the volunteers are up at dawn to make sure the ice surface is as pristine as possible. And this ice rink is as close as it can get.

“This year has probably been the best year,” says Nino. “I’ve never heard so many people so grateful. It’s like, stop thanking me, I should thank you.”

“When we were in that freezing and setting record cold temperatures, these people, the men and the women who are doing this volunteer work, are out here playing with water.” Says Hubley.

For Rob Nino, he loves nothing more than giving back to his community. And that’s the best way he knows how.

“It’s a great park,” says Nino. “It’s a great park for the Glen Cairn community.”

Just be sure to bring your Sens jersey.

“This is a message to Matt Skube. No Leafs fans allowed on this rink!” says Johnny grinning.

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