Brandonites are eager to get outdoors and stay active in this mild weather but the shortage of available ice rinks in the City has left people scrambling.
While the City run skating oval is not officially open, dozens of skaters are beyond the barricade each day and night, navigating the cracked and rough ice. The uneven surface, with exposed rocks and bubbles is not ideal for pleasure skating. The area itself, however, is a very popular attraction thanks to the beautiful holiday light display hosted by Manitoba Hydro each year.
Some Community Centres including Valleyview (on Whillier Drive) did recently open for public skating and are quite busy. Warm up shacks and washroom facilities are not open due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Others centres, like Green Acres, have not yet opened. Posted today on the Green Acres Community Centre Facebook page was an update on the delay citing recent vandalism and equipment breakdown as the reasons for not yet being open to the public.
With few alternatives for public skating, and all indoor hockey leagues on pause, homeowners have turned to building backyard rinks for their own personal use.
Local builder, Rona, and the Brandon Wheat Kings have co-hosted and sponsored a contest for backyard rinks. Dozens of entries can be seen on their social media pages. The contest hashtag is #ronarink.
The local East Side Mario’s franchise is also hosting a backyard rink contest. Entries can be submitted to their Facebook page by December 31st.