Holiday skating returns to the shipyards after a short hiatus


North Van Town Mayor Linda Buchanan opened the Shipyards Skate Plaza on Wednesday

North Vancouver City Mayor Linda Buchanan brought holiday cheer on Wednesday as she opened The Shipyards rink for the holiday season.

Handing out skates to students at Rockridge Elementary Grade 6/7, Buchanan said she was “super excited” to open Skate Plaza again.

“Considering we had a hiatus last year, we expect it to be really busy,” she said. “And I think people are looking for family fun in the great outdoors. We are therefore very happy to open it today.

Buchanan said that especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, North Vancouver’s public spaces have been used more than ever, and it’s really important to provide an outdoor space like the plaza.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s summer, winter, pouring rain, snow, people love to come here,” she said. “The music is spectacular, they can visit the local stores and services, and this year it’s another fun activity.”

During the holidays until February 2022, entry to the ice rink is free, but skate rentals are available for those who do not have their own equipment. Headsets are also provided free of charge to users.

Given the challenges the Skate Plaza faced in 2019 with the quality of the ice, Buchanan said it was still early days to determine how the rink would hold up during the holidays, but said the staff were doing “an incredible job of ‘ice maintenance’.

The 12,000 square foot rink is the largest indoor outdoor rink in the Lower Mainland. It uses eight miles of piping below the surface to create ice, and also uses a CO2 cooler that powers Lonsdale Energy Corporation’s (LEC) district energy system, allowing heat from the ice system to heat surrounding buildings.

The square is open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily, with maintenance closings from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. evening and weekend hours.

As Skate Plaza is considered an outdoor recreation, proof of vaccination is not required, however, masks are recommended on the ice and are required for indoor spaces such as washrooms.

“People always tell me how much they love our revitalized waterfront, especially this time of year when it sports a lot of sparkling lights,” Buchanan said. “Shipyards were designed to bring people together. After another difficult year for the community, I encourage everyone to stop by to skate, admire our 40 foot Christmas tree and sit by one of our public outdoor fireplaces. I always thought it was truly the most wonderful time of the year.


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