HALIFAX - There might be a silver lining to the run of chilly weather forecast for the Halifax area over the coming week.
© Metro Halifax/Jeff Harper
Sean Street of Nustadia Recreation makes a pass around the Emera Oval on the zamboni.
If the below-zero temperatures hold, people may be able to lace up their skates and hit the ice at the Emera Oval as early as Sunday.
The popular outdoor skating facility, located on the Halifax North Common near the intersection of North Park and Cogswell streets, is scheduled to open to the public the morning of Dec. 15.
That is a full 10 days earlier than last year’s Christmas Day opening, though HRM spokeswoman Janet Bryson said this year’s date is still weather-dependent.
“There has to be consistent weather below freezing to maintain the ice,” she said on Monday.
Workers have been on scene since last week putting in lines, laying ice and preparing the facility, she added.
The oval is Canada’s largest outdoor, artificially-refrigerated ice surface this side of Quebec City.
It was built when Halifax hosted the 2011 Canada Winter Games.
Following the event, city officials responded to public demand by converting the oval into a permanent, year-round attraction.
It has since become an all-season fixture for the city, with skating in the winter and rollerblading/roller skating in the summer.
“It’s really nice to see it used in different seasons,” said Bryson. “It gets people out and active. … People are drawn to it.”
This year, for the first time, the oval will lend out speed skates. Officials have also organized a New Year’s Eve celebration.
The public is encouraged to check in at www.halifax.ca/skatehrm to find out more about upcoming events and the official opening date.
- by Geordon Omand - Metro Halifax