News / Ottawa

Parliament Hill skating rink is staying open until February

Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly says the skating rink, which will be available for free to the public, won't close on Dec. 31.

Construction continues on the skating rink on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017.

Justin Tang / The Canadian Press

Construction continues on the skating rink on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017.

Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly announced Thursday the planned Parliament Hill skating rink will stay open into the New Year, instead of closing on January 1.

The rink— which is under construction on Parliament Hill and set to open on Dec. 7— was set to close on Dec. 31, marking an end to Canada 150. Afterwards, the rink was going to be donated to a deserving community.

Joly said Wednesday that it made sense to have the rink close as Canada 150 comes to an end, but announced in a tweet on Thursday, that it would instead stay open until February.

Before Question Period on Thursday she said negotiated the rink remaining open with the speakers in both chambers, though parliamentary privilege was not a concern she raised when justifying closing the rink on Dec. 31 initially.

“I'm happy to say that the House Speaker and the Senate Speaker and I were able to agree to make sure that we would be celebrating the 40th anniversary of Winterlude until, of course, the end of February and therefore, we'll have access to the skating rink until end of February.” 

The $5.6 million rink project will be open to public skaters for free through an online registration system, and a hockey tournament featuring junior teams from across the country will be played on it between Dec. 26 and 31.

Joly was asked repeatedly what extending the rink would mean for the cost of the project.

“I'll have the chance to give more details about that later on.”

A breakdown of the costs provided on Wedneday, for the intial plan of three weeks of operation, suggested the government would spend $117,000 on rink operational costs and $849,000 for site support, technical services, logistical services, purchases, other support services.

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