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Delay to outdoor skating season

By Roberta Bell, Orillia Packet & Times

Homewood Park at 68 Woodside Dr. in Orillia. KRISTEN SMITH/THE PACKET & TIMES

Homewood Park at 68 Woodside Dr. in Orillia. KRISTEN SMITH/THE PACKET & TIMES


Orillia’s outdoor ice rinks aren’t up and running yet, and won’t be until the weather co-operates, says Paul Barnetson, marketing co-ordinator for the parks and recreation department.

“We need at least a few days of consistently cold weather, which we haven’t had yet,” he said.

Each winter, parks and recreation sets up rinks at First Baptist Church on Coldwater Road, Clayt French Park, Homewood Park, Kitchener Park, McKinnell Square Park, Murray Street Park and Couchiching Beach Park on the lake, but the temperature has to stay below freezing before they can be flooded.

Until recently, there hasn’t even been enough snow to roll out under the ice as a base, Barnetson said.

The long-term forecast doesn’t look promising, either.

While the temperature hovered around -5 C in Orillia Monday, Environment Canada is predicting it will be above zero by the weekend.

Warm weather last winter meant the rinks were only open for about two weeks, he said, noting even when they opened, the skating wasn’t the greatest.

The rink on Lake Couchiching remained closed all season.

“The ice was never safe to put equipment on,” Barnetson said.

Twitter: @roberta__bell


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