Skating outdoors – totally Canadian

July 1, 2008

Making a Difference

The recently-launched Guelph Citizenship Committee organized a citizenship ceremony at Canada Day celebrations this year at Riverside Park.  It was brilliant.

Thirty new Canadians took their oath of citizenship in front of Judge Morrow and an audience of hundreds.  They were well welcomed into our country and community as new citizens.

In the days leading up to this event, I got to thinking about my own citizenship ceremony.  My family emigrated to Canada when I was three.  Several years ago!

I thought about my earliest memories as a child in Canada.  The image that came most vividly to mind was my brother and I bundled up in fluffy parkas learning to skate on a local pond.  Early on, my parents wanted us to have an authentic “Canadian experience”.

Every year, I join my brother and his family for a skate on an outdoor rink in Toronto.  The tradition continues. And, I am always moved by the number of new Canadian families doing just the same thing our family did so many years ago.

This brought me to think about the community volunteers who call themselves the “Rink Rats”.  They are raising $2 million to build an outdoor skating rink in front of the new City Hall.  

As I was sitting on the podium watching our newest citizens take their oath of allegience, it came to me that we should make a special dedication of this skating rink to the new Canadians we welcome in Guelph each year.  This skating rink will become a place were all Canadians, new and old, come together to do something that is quintesentially Canadian – skate outdoors.

I suggested this when I brought greetings at the ceremony — to massive applause from the audience.  I asked Judge Morrow whether he would come back to Guelph and preside over a citizenship ceremony on ice. 

With no hesitation, he said, “count me in!”








About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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3 Comments on “Skating outdoors – totally Canadian”

  1. Cam Guthrie Says:

    Mayor Farbridge,

    I was wondering if there is some confusion within Guelph about this rink? By reading your statement above it seems like the rink is getting built but many statements I hear in and out of print in the local media is that many Guelphites are suggesting that this be the first thing to go in trying to cut spending.

    So will there be any cost to the taxpayers at all regarding this rink or not?

    Thank you,

    Cam Guthrie

  2. kfarbridge Says:

    The construction of a skating rink/water feature in front of the new City Hall has always depended on the community fundraising initiative noted in the post.

    Council has directed that staff start the design process to plan for a rink. Council has also supported the fundraising effort and will be issuing charitable donation receipts.

    I am always amazed at the generosity shown by individuals in our community and their volunteer efforts to make Guelph a better place to live, and in this case to play.

  3. sandrar Says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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