The Loop gets early thumbs-up

Andrew Robinson
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Outdoor skating rink attracts crowd on Boxing Day

News of the Bannerman Park Loop’s official opening may have gotten lost among all the hoopla leading up to Christmas Day, but the new outdoor skating rink appears to already be a hit with the public in St. John’s.
“It’s nice to be outdoors on a sunny day in the winter,” said Carmella Butland of St. John’s, shortly after she finished taking the skates off her son, Jack Prince.

The Bannerman Park skating facility named The Loop opened on Christmas Eve and already seems to be popular  with both kids and adults. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

“It was awesome,” added Jack, a young boy who just finished his first outdoor skate.

The Loop officially opened on Christmas Eve. On a sunny Boxing Day afternoon, approximately 200 people were out making use of the facility, with some standing and sitting on the sidelines to watch others skate.

There was a strong family presence on the ice. Many held hands with friends and loved ones as they made their way around The Loop, which offers 237 metres of skating lanes.

Geoff and Samantha Mertins are used to skating outdoors on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa.

Thursday afternoon’s experience on The Loop was a nice one for the Mertins.

“The ice is in pretty good shape,” said Geoff.

“And we live just down the street, so we can walk up if it’s nice out,” added Samantha.

St. John’s Centre MHA Gerry Rogers called The Loop an “absolutely fantastic” addition to Bannerman Park for the winter. She offered a suggestion for the City of St. John’s to take into consideration.

“I just hope now that there’s going to be one in every park,” she said. “It’s great to see so many people of all different ages, and I can remember when I was little, we’d go out early in the morning and we’d stay out until it was suppertime, and we’d be skating and playing in the snow. This is what cities should be doing.”

Joan Dawson, who was at The Loop Thursday with her kids, agreed the new outdoor skating rink was a fantastic addition to the city. However, given its popularity, she wishes it were bigger.

“I just wish it was maybe a little bit bigger, because there’s so many people.”

Leslie Stuckless said having a chalet with hot beverages near The Loop may also be something for the city to think about down the road.

The $1.8-million facility is one part of the $6-million revitalization project for the park. The city is splitting the cost of the project with the Bannerman Park Foundation. Earlier this month, the skating rink’s patron Elinor Gill Ratcliffe announced its name. Ratcliffe chose “The Loop” because she felt it would be easy for children to remember.

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: Bannerman Park Foundation

Geographic location: Ottawa

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