Archive for the ‘Rink Of Dreams’ Category

Rink Of Dreams Required NCC Permission

- January 31st, 2014

Something stood out for me in Mayor Jim Watson’s Ask Jim chat today with Metroland’s Laura Mueller.

A participant asked Watson about the kerfuffle with the National Capital Commission and the mayor brought up the fact that the city needed the NCC’s permission to build the Rink of Dreams.

The NCC, we’re told, has very specific guidelines about how things look.

Which simply makes me wonder.

Temporary fire pits were brought to the Rink of Dreams during Skate Canada’s national championships at Scotiabank Place this month.

Ok, so I have slagged the appearance of the outdoor rink more than once in this blog and somewhat in print.

The rink itself is very nice. Tried it for the first time this month. Great ice. Really good for learners and kids.

But I still think something needs to be done to improve the aesthetics around the rink, both in the summer and winter. When the skating championships were in town recently, there were some rinkside fire pits installed temporarily. It was a nice touch, and although I acknowledge having open fires roaring outside City Hall all hours of the day is probably a bad thing, it’s that kind of creativity that could go a long way.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

Those Darn Commemorative Namings

- October 24th, 2013

I have to wonder if staff and consultants tasked with selling naming rights at municipal facilities pull their hair out each time council votes in favour of a commemorative naming.

As Sun City Hall columnist Susan Sherring discovered earlier this year, the once-celebrated sponsorship program isn’t really bringing in much more dough.

There are several lines in the draft of the 2014 parks, recreation and cultural services budget that provide an update on the program, which is projected to miss its revenue target by about $2 million this year.

While the Sponsorship & Advertising Branch has been successful in generating annual revenues of $1.2 million in 2013, the general state of the capital region’s economic environment is creating obstacles in achieving the revenue targets. Reductions and uncertainties in the employment levels within federal government departments mean local businesses and national companies large and small are more hesitant to enter into advertising commitments and are taking longer to make partnership decisions. The long cycle times and repeat meetings with potential partners mean fewer agreements having been signed than anticipated. Additionally, the commemorative naming of new city facilities reduces the assets available for partnerships.

(Bolding is by me.)

The city has done a good job of keeping tabs on its commemorative naming decisions on its website. It’s not easy to argue the names for the facilities should have been sold instead.

But, hey, doesn’t anyone want to put his or her name on the Rink of Dreams?

The Rink of Dreams in front of Ottawa City Hall photographed on Oct. 8, 2013.

City Decks The Hall

- December 13th, 2012

Ok, so, fair to say I’ve slagged the Rink of Dreams in the past, and quite frankly, it could use an injection of excitement in the summer months.

But as I was walking through Confederation Park last night I took note at how excellent the front of City Hall looks this season. There seems to be more lights and I don’t think that giant wreath was outside the building on the Laurier Ave. side last year.

I think staff gussied up City Hall a bit more this year since the mayor’s Christmas celebration was there instead of Lansdowne Park.

Anyway, looks good.

(Yes, that is a Beavertails trailer.)



I am, however, a little concerned about this deflated Santa that has been stuffed mafia-style in between some concrete blocks for several days.


City Hall’s Summer “Rink” Missing Something

- July 10th, 2012

The summer so far hasn’t helped the new sod planted around the Rink of Dreams. I also don’t think the jazz festival’s tent helped.

It’s not just the new stuff. There are all sorts of scorched patches of grass around the Laurier Ave. front lawn.

The summer “rink” is really missing something when there isn’t a festival or concert being held there. It’s a bit stained from past events and must look odd to visitors.

Here’s how the pre-construction sketch showed us the rink would look like in the summer:

The bistro tables and umbrellas seemed like a neat idea. It just looks like an unchallenging skatepark right now.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

Cleaning Up The Rink Of Dreams

- March 22nd, 2012

Ever since the Rink of Dreams closed for the season the front lawn of City Hall has been an eyesore. It’s been taped and gated off because it’s just not safe for people walking around. Perhaps it’s evidence of how quickly the city moved to get the rink ready in time for the NHL all-star game.

There hasn’t been much going on since the snow melted. The area could use a cleanup and some landscaping. I put in a request with the city this week and received a response this morning.

This from a city spokesman: “The Rink of Dreams boards will be dismantled this week and moved for summer storage. The boards will be stored at an indoor facility to prevent corrosion or damage to the LED light connections. The contractor that installed the boards in January will be doing the tear down. City staff are concentrating on litter pick up around the Rink of Dreams site and are working with the site contractor to complete work on landscape restoration as soon as possible due to the recent mild weather.”

The city’s $250,000 cost for the project still stands.

I went out to take some fresh pictures of the rink this afternoon and found some workers taking it down.

What do we call the Rink of Dreams in the summer, when it’s not really a rink? Maybe “Ottawa’s Magical Porch”?