By Alana Thoman
Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly has announced that the Parliament Hill skating rink, which is set to open on Dec 7., will now be open until Feb. 28 — a response to the many complaints voiced following an initial plan to keep the rink open to the public only until Jan 1.
The public use of the rink, which is located on the east side of the Parliament Hill lawn, will be one of the last activities to commemorate the year-long celebrations of Canada’s 150th birthday.
The cost for the rink was initially set at $5.6 million due to assembly, maintenance and other costs associated with planned events, such as public skating and the Bell Capital Cup—a hockey tournament for youth aged 9-13 from all over the world.
It isn’t clear yet what additional costs will be incurred to keep the rink open for two additional months.
There will be stringent rules in place when the rink opens. Skaters will not be permitted to use hockey sticks, pucks or cell phones, and no food or beverages will be allowed on the skating surface. Rink users will also be prohibited from figure skating, and only those who are wearing skates will be allowed on the ice.
Those planning to attend public skating sessions must book their tickets online 48 hours in advance. Skaters are restricted to a 40-minute skate and tickets for each date are only available for purchase two days in advance.
There will also be a six-ticket maximum for each person at a time.
The rink is large enough to hold 200 people at a time, and will be open weekdays between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. and weekends between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. — but only when there are no scheduled events on the rink.
Skaters are asked to arrive at least 45 minutes ahead of their booked session.