Beyond the Headlines

Getting it right

Posted: Feb 25, 2012 1:41 PM ET Last Updated: Feb 25, 2012 1:41 PM ET

"Build it and they will come"
                   Field of Dreams

OK, real movie buffs know that in the movie Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) actually says "build it and he will come", but over the years the quote has morphed into the more popular "they will come."
It's a quote that comes to mind every time I visit the Oval. You really have to give credit to whomever at the Canada Games Committee came up with the idea to open the Oval to the public before and after last year's games. I wonder if they had any idea how wildly successful it would become.
Just look at the numbers.
Last year about 100,000 people visited the Oval. As of the end of this week, more than 116,000 have laced up their skates so far this year. With still about a month to go before it closes for the season, that number will increase substantially.
Clearly, this wasn't a one-year wonder.
Whenever we get out on the ice, I'm struck by the number of people who you know wouldn't be on skates if it wasn't for the Oval. There are lots of us. You can see us stumbling around the track, some holding on to friends and partners, some using the free skating chairs for balance, but everyone having a good time. To me, that's the charm of the place. Folks -- regardless of their abilities --  getting out and having fun.
And it's free, even the skates, so it's accessible and affordable for every family.
Sure, the Oval has had its bumps and bruises (literally for those of us who take a tumble from time to time). A cash-strapped city had to find the money to pay for it; there was the hand-wringing over sponorship and complaints the track is taking too much space on the Common.
But in the end, they built it. And they came. And they keep coming.
This is one project the city got right.
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About the Author

Brian DuBreuil is a veteran journalist with CBC News. He has won two Gemini awards for his work, and neither involved dancing or singing on a reality show.

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