Puck loving Canadians can get their sweat on, and channel Christmas in July with a free skate on Canada Day — in 30C heat.
An outdoor synthetic ice rink has been set up at Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau.
“JCP is our family park and well, what’s more Canadian than skating?” said National Capital Commission spokesman Charles Cardinal.
The rink will be near the Hull marina and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
“We thought it was a great idea and that children and families would love it,” Cardinal said.
The 30-foot by 60-foot rink has been installed directly on the ground.
And you won’t have to lug your skates — Reebok CCM is lending them out at no cost, said Katokh Synthetic Ice president Martin Brazeau.
Katokh, an Outaouais-based company, will provide helmets.
In that case, all patrons have to do is “show up and go for a skate,” said Cardinal.
The ice is made from self-lubricating polymer and can be used outside in any temperature, even during winter.
Raw materials are shipped in from Europe and regular skates, blades, and sharpening are used on the artificial surface.
“It’s amazing. Your body needs maybe a few minutes to get used to it,” said Brazeau, pointing out it’s “90% like real ice.”
“Kids seem to adapt faster.”
As hundreds of thousands of revellers converge on Parliament Hill for July 1st festivities, “there’s thousands of people that will be at JCP on Sunday,” said Cardinal.
At the rink, “we’re thinking it’s probably going to have a small lineup.”
So patience is key.
“We’ll probably allow 20 people at a time, just for security purposes,” said Brazeau.
On average, 350,000 people attend Canada Day celebrations at Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill Park , and JCP each year, said Cardinal.
In addition to the rink, there are plenty of activities this weekend: The Bicentennial of the War of 1812, the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Coast Guard, the Centennial of the Calgary Stampede and the Centennial of the CFL’s Grey Cup will all be highlighted on Sunday.
For more information, visit canadaday.gc.ca