Wanted: Ac­cess to Cana­dian ideal

T.O. coun­cil­lor push­ing to make ice skates cheaper for all

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - Front Page - May War­ren

Let’s make sure ev­ery­body can hit the ice.

Coun. Mike Lay­ton will bring that most Cana­dian ideal to the Jan. 17 meet­ing of the city’s Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment and Recre­ation Com­mit­tee, ask­ing city staff to ex­plore skate li­braries at out­door rinks and re­port back this sum­mer.

Skates can be ex­pen­sive, es­pe­cially for fam­i­lies with lit­tle ones and their fast-grow­ing feet.

“Cer­tainly for new Cana­di­ans, like maybe this is the first cou­ple years of their Cana­dian ex­pe­ri­ence, let’s make it a good one. Let’s make them feel wel­come to use the in­fra­struc­ture that so many of us grew up with,” Lay­ton said.

“You’ve got this in­fra­struc­ture sit­ting there scream­ing, ‘Come on, use me.’”

Jutta Ma­son, part of a non­profit called the Cen­tre for Lo­cal Re­search into Public Space, helped set up a pro­gram at Duf­ferin Grove and two other rinks where peo­ple can rent skates for about $2 a pair.

They’ve been a huge suc­cess, she says, bring­ing more peo­ple, es­pe­cially new­com­ers, onto the ice. Ma­son has been push­ing other rinks to fol­low suit for a long time.

“We (the group around cityrinks.ca) have been ask­ing for bet­ter out­door rink pro­grams since 2007, and maybe 11 years later they’ll make a start, but I’m not hold­ing my breath,” said Ma­son in an email.

In early De­cem­ber, city staff said they were con­sid­er­ing how to use about 120 pairs of skates do­nated by the NHL Play­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion and of­fered up by the Cen­tre for a lend­ing pro­gram at the Re­gent Park rink.

Matthew Cut­ler, spokes- per­son for Parks, Forestry and Recre­ation, said there doesn’t seem to be enough of a crowd at Re­gent Park to sup­port a skate li­brary full-time.

“We’re go­ing to try out a few different ways to an­i­mate the space and see what works,” he said, ex­plain­ing that the city has been in dis­cus­sions with stake­hold­ers about plan­ning skate par­ties and pos­si­bly learn-to-skate events.

On Lay­ton’s mo­tion, Cut­ler said the city is “open to any­thing that helps in­crease use.”

You’ve got this in­fra­struc­ture sit­ting there scream­ing, ‘Come on, use me.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.