Montreal

Outdoor skating rinks close for the season on Plateau-Mont-Royal

With outdoor skating rinks turning into ponds, the Plateau-Mont-Royal has made the "unpleasant" decision to give up on maintaining rinks for the season.

'We knew it was coming, didn't we?' Borough councillor blames global warming on state of rinks in February

So far, only the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough has announced it's closing its outdoor rinks for the season. However, this rink in Hochelaga's Saint-Aloysius Park is a good indication of the state of skating rinks across the island of Montreal after an unseasonably warm February. (Myriam Tremblay-Sher/CBC)

The official first day of spring may still be nearly a month away, but someone forgot to tell Mother Nature.

Spring-like temperatures are already turning Montreal's outdoor skating rinks into ponds.

The situation forced the Plateau–Mont-Royal to announce Friday that its outdoor rinks are closing for the season.

"It really was not a pleasant decision to take," said borough Coun. Marianne Giguère, who is responsible for sports and recreation on the Plateau.

However, she said keeping the hockey rinks open is "not even feasible."

"We need to have a significant amount of snow on the ground, and it's been melting for days and days now."

We need to have at least four days in a row of pretty cold temperatures — like minus 10 degrees. We don't expect to have that.- borough Coun. Marianne Giguère

Giguère explained that the boards for the rinks are held up by snow and ice, and with the sun climbing higher in the sky, even if there were to be a return to colder weather in March, the rinks would be difficult, if not impossible, to maintain.

"We need to have at least four days in a row of pretty cold temperatures — like minus 10 degrees," she said. "We don't expect to have that."

La Fontaine pond open – for now

The closure of the outdoor rinks leaves very few options for pick-up hockey players on the Plateau. The Saint-Louis arena remains open, but the Mont-Royal Arena is closed for renovations. 

For now, the pond in La Fontaine Park remains open to skaters, because the ice is thicker and there are no boards that need to be held up by snow.

However, Giguère said the borough will have to re-evaluate the condition of the pond after a rainy weekend that could see temperatures soar as high as 17 C.

The other rink options are outside the borough, she said, suggesting the refrigerated rinks in Verdun or at the Old Port.

"We knew it was coming, didn't we — that global warming and climate change would affect our daily lives," said Giguère. "We're there."

"We need to rethink about how we manage our winter activities, according to those very warm winters we've been experiencing in the last three or four years."

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