This P.E.I. man maintains a big outdoor rink for complete strangers
‘It's absolutely free’
Despite the fact that he doesn't skate anymore, an Island man has been maintaining a large outdoor rink for people to use on his property for the past three winters.
Wayne Getson of Knutsford, P.E.I.,just outside O'Leary, dug out a pond in the woods to get to the natural springs beneath. The original plan was to fill it with trout, but without proper temperature and water flow, Getson decided a rink would be the next best thing.
"I get home and there's cars out in the parking lot we made out front and I have no clue who they are," Getson told CBC Radio: Island Morning.
"They're just people out back in the rink."
Getson said seeing people use the rink brings back memories from when he was a growing up in nearby Carleton, in the Lot 6 township.
"We used to skate up and down Trout River for miles in the wintertime. It was loads of fun," he said.
"I see people out there and they're having fun and that's what's important."
'Just for their enjoyment'
The rink has become an annual project for Getson. The first year, a group of young boys came out for a birthday party. They skated outside and built a bonfire with their parents.
"After it was all over, when they were leaving and one little guy come up to me and he says, 'You know sir, this is the best birthday party I was ever at', and right there I said this is gonna be a yearly thing," he said.
After soliciting feedback from rink-goers, Getson said he hopes to improve the rink this summer. He plans to use an excavator to make the pond even larger, put up a shelter filled with bus seats, and add a line to his homemade sign indicating using the rink is free of charge.
"I have to see how they like it and how it could be improved," Getson said. "We're getting it dug in, making it a little bit longer ... bigger than a regular ice surface I believe."
The rink is a passion project for Getson. He has neighbours that help out with clearing the snow — making it a community effort.
"Many hands make light work, so we don't mind making it bigger." He said on any given day there could be a handful to a dozen people out on his rink.
"It's just something for anyone who wants to use. It's absolutely free," Getson said.
"It's just for their enjoyment. Nothing else."
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With files from Island Morning