New Brunswick

Barb's backyard skating rink brings Lower Brighton together

A frozen pond on Barb Clark's property in rural New Brunswick brings the community together.

'I guess I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing the kids enjoying it'

Barb Clark said Sunday is the busiest day of the week at her rink. (Gary Moore/CBC)

A frozen pond in a rural New Brunswick town was the main attraction on a sunny, crisp Sunday afternoon. 

Families of all ages spent the day skating laps and shooting around pucks on Barb Clark's outdoor rink in Lower Brighton, about 10 minutes north of Woodstock. 

The rink is on Clark's property but everyone is welcome to go for a skate anytime of the week. 

"We just never really know how many [people] will be here," a smiling Clark said as she watched about 30 people skating on the pond.

The rink is decorated with strings of lights hanging overhead and has a bench so skaters can take a break. There's even someone serving hot chocolate.

Clark spends about 15 hours a week maintaining the rink on her property. She said it's usually ready in November most years. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Next to the rink is an old workshop that Clark turned into a dressing room. It's a place to lace up skates and get warm next to the woodstove. 

The dressing room has shelves that neatly organize 30 pairs of skates by size. Clark wants everyone to have the opportunity to skate.  

"Parents or grandparents would come with their kids or grandkids and they're just going to watch them skate, but I say, 'Why don't you go out for a skate?'"

Clark maintains the ice with a makeshift resurfacer that she rigged up over the last 10 years.

Clark designed her own ice resurfacer. (Gary Moore/CBC)

She said she spends about 15 hours a week cleaning up the ice.

"I guess I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing the kids enjoying it, and from adults now that I used to skate with on the pond."

Bryan Clark, Barb's distant relative, grew up skating on the pond when Barb's father would clear the snow from the ice. On Sunday, Bryan was there with his two boys teaching them how to skate.

"It's enjoyable, I love it," he said about spending time with his sons on the pond.

Even though the rink is on private property, everyone is welcome to skate on the pond. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Summer Orser, 11, spent the afternoon practising her technique skating around pylons, and shooting the puck. She said she likes to go to the pond because she likes to skate with other people.

Iris Lloyd, 6, has been skating on Clark's pond for three years and learned to skate there. 

Marcos Lima is from Brazil and moved to the area in January. That's when he was introduced to skating.

He has been at the pond learning to skate a few times since he moved to town. 

"It's very fun, I love it," Lima said.

Barb Clark said seeing how much people enjoy skating on the pond makes all the effort worthwhile.

She enjoys how it brings the community together.

"A lot of people tell me they really appreciate it, and I guess that makes me happy."

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Moore

CBC News

Gary Moore is a video journalist based in Fredericton.

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