The first covered outdoor rink of its kind in Toronto was officially opened in the Greenwood Park community in the city's east end Saturday morning.
The new rink is part of a larger renovation project in the 6.2 hectare park near Greenwood Avenue and Dundas Street East that cost approximately $4.1 million.
The City of Toronto invested $3.4 million for the artificial ice rink and roof. A second 215-metre-long skating path was also built next to the hockey rink for leisure skating.
"This fantastic new rink and skating path are landmark additions to the City of Toronto, and a stunning new showpiece in the Greenwood community," said Coun. Paul Fletcher.
Another $700,000 was spent improving pool facilities and building a new family change room, as well as accessible shower and change areas. The City also made improvements to the park's community garden, playground and baseball diamond.
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. donated $300,000 towards the rink and roof and provided an in-kind donation of hockey nets.
'I think this will be the impetus for more covered rinks particularly in the areas where we simply have outdoor rinks.' —Coun. Paula Fletcher
"Parents, kids, skaters, hockey players and the entire community are absolutely thrilled," Fletcher said.
Belynda Blyth, an event planner for Greenwood Park, said she saw endless opportunities for the new covered area that already has basketball nets installed.
"Outside of farmer's markets we could have our artisans, we could have dances," she said. "Anything that's going on outside can come here and get away from the rain or whatever."
Fletcher said it gives "tremendous opportunity for so many different things in a park" and anticipated future investments in similar types of facilities.
"I think this will be the impetus for more covered rinks, particularly in the areas where we simply have outdoor rinks," she said.