One of my favourite places in the winter is our local community ice rink late at night.
I used to walk by the Windsor Park Rink in Ottawa every night in the winter with my dog and have always been struck by the warm halo of light filled with hockey players or families surrounded by the cold darkness lurking just outside the rink walls. It’s a scene that plays out across the country in the winter.
It inspired me to document community rinks in Ottawa. This project captures why each rink is unique and why the volunteers work late into the night to maintain them, many of whom have donated their energy and time for decades.
Ottawa has nearly 270 outdoor rinks – the most in the country. They are an invaluable part of winter activities, offering a safe community space for residents to cope with the cold and dark. They are also a collaborative effort between volunteers and the city.
I think rinks played a crucial role in how people how people coped with the COVID 19 pandemic. The neighbourhood rinks became the place where people had a chance to safely get outside and be together have some fun in the long winters of restrictions and COVID-19 warnings.