Ottawa

Man builds his own pandemic curling rink on Quebec river

Doug Taylor decided to make his own curling stones last year when the COVID-19 pandemic meant he couldn't do much else. This year — with facilities closed — he decided to make his own rink so he could use those stones.

'It feels very Canadian' to curl on the Gatineau River in Chelsea, Que., resident says

Taking curling to the great outdoors on the Gatineau River

7 months ago
Duration 0:53
Doug Taylor says he decided to make his own curling stones last year to combat pandemic boredom. This winter, he upgraded his usual outdoor rink on the Gatineau River to include a spot for curling.

Doug Taylor decided to make his own curling stones last year when the COVID-19 pandemic meant he couldn't do much else.

This year — with facilities closed — he decided to make his own rink on the Gatineau River in Chelsea, Que.

The 5,500-square-foot rink sits on river ice that's about 30 centimetres thick, Taylor estimated. That's also how thick the Rideau Canal has to be before skaters can hop on.

"It's a fair amount of work because every time it snows or every time the river changes, and it changes frequently, the ice changes and there's work to put it back into shape," he said.

And so far, people seem to think that work is worth it.

Taylor says he and his friends have used the rink at night. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

Archie Smith has curled for years, but said this is a completely different experience.

"It's cold, it's windy. The scenery is magnificent, and that just feels great to be out here," he said.

"Quite a wind blowing. It feels very Canadian."

Made his own stones

Taylor made his own curling stones out of stainless steel mixing bowls filled with concrete during the pandemic lockdown in the winter of 2021. Now he's cleared and maintained an ice surface to act as a curling rink where players try to get close to a hockey puck.

Doug Taylor says he found directions to make his own curling stones using stainless steel mixing bowls, concrete and a galvanized metal handle. A garden hose acts as a bumper. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

Sandy Foote described it like "curling bocce" and said the rink is a great addition to the area.

'It's amazing. I've never seen a curling rink on the river before,' says Sandy Foote. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

"I think Doug is a real community builder. This is quite something to have this on the river. You're going along the community trail and then there you see Doug's curling rink," he said.

"It's amazing. I've never seen a curling rink on the river before."

LISTEN: Quebec resident builds curling rink, complete with homemade rocks:

Sandra Abma visits the homemade bonspiel on the banks of the Gatineau River created by Doug Taylor

With files from Sandra Abma

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