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Holiday skating is back at The Shipyards after a short hiatus

City of North Van Mayor Linda Buchanan opened up The Shipyards holiday Skate Plaza Wednesday

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

Handing out skates to the city’s Ridgeway Elementary Grade 6/7 students, Buchanan said she’s “super excited” to have the Skate Plaza open once again.

“Given that we had a hiatus last year, we expect that it will be really busy,” she said. “And I think people are looking to have some fun, outdoor family time. So, we're very excited to have it open today.”

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

“No matter whether it's summer, winter, whether it's pouring rain, snowing, people love to come down here,” she said. “The music is spectacular, they get to visit local shops and services, and this year, it's another fun activity.”

Running right through the holidays until February 2022, admission to the skating rink is free, however skate rentals are available for those who don’t have their own equipment. Helmets are also provided for users at no cost.

Considering the challenges the Skate Plaza had in 2019 with ice quality, Buchanan said it’s early days to determine how the rink will hold up over the holidays, but said the staff do “an amazing job of ice maintenance.”

The 12,000-square-foot rink is the largest covered outdoor skating rink in the Lower Mainland. It uses 13 kilometres of piping under the surface to create the ice, and also uses a CO2 chiller that feeds into the Lonsdale Energy Corp, allowing heat from the ice system to heat surrounding buildings.

The plaza is open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. each day, with closures for maintenance from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. To help with crowding, the city is advising people to visit the rink outside of peak evening and weekend times.

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

“People always tell me how much they love our revitalized waterfront, especially at this time of year when it dons many twinkly lights,” Buchanan said. “The Shipyards was designed to bring people together. After another difficult year for the community, I encourage everyone to stop by for a skate, admire our 40-foot Christmas tree, and sit by one of our public outdoor fire pits. I have always felt this truly is the most wonderful time of the year.”