Infrastructure issues have forced Harbourfront Centre to close its iconic outdoor waterfront rink this winter. The 2020–21 skating season is cancelled, including the Learn to Skate program.
Harbourfront Centre’s rink has for many years delighted and pleased skaters of all talents. Free public skating has been provided for decades, creating a safe space open to all. The Learn to Skate program has produced thousands of young skaters, many of whom have grown up in the downtown core. The Rink has also been host to extremely successful DJ Skate Nights, highlighting the talents of local artists.
While Harbourfront Centre had great hopes for opening the rink in a Covid-safe manner, embracing all Health and Safety protocols and procedures, the operating system infrastructure that ensures a consistent rink surface throughout the season has failed after 37 years of operation. The operating system is part of a broader capital asset life-cycle management plan that forecast the entire rink for upgrade and replacement. It will involve removing the concrete foundation and replacing all the pipe and infrastructure required to maintain a consistent ice surface.
This will require immediate capital funding. The weather sensitivity of the concrete rebuilds means the majority of the work, if funded, will take place in spring 2021.
In the meantime, Harbourfront Centre will embrace other digitally focused installations and activations throughout the approaching winter, which will bring life to the site and our waterfront.