EDITORIAL – No skating around it, Parliament Hill rink is a boondoggle

Canada 150 skating rink in front of Parliament Buildings is ready to go. (Image: Parliament Hill webcam)

If you’re planning to hop a plane to Ottawa and go for a skate on the brand new $5.6-million outdoor rink on Parliament Hill, better get moving.

Tickets to skate on the rink are available online as of today, and you’ll have to reserve two days in advance. They’re free, but you’ll only be allowed 45 minutes of skating time, along with 199 other people.

Don’t bring a hockey stick or a puck — they’re not allowed, unless you’re part of one of the special tournaments or exhibitions planned for the rink.

No food, no speed skating.

No smartphones or iPads, either, so don’t think you’ll be taking any selfies and sending them home. As Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod said in Parliament last week, about the only thing people are allowed to do is to skate “around, around and around.”

At which point Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly invited McLeod to lace up and go for a skate with her. I doubt that will happen.

The NHL-sized rink is part of the closing out of Canada’s 150th birthday party, but it’s been almost unanimously trashed as an extravagant waste of money. Critics point out there’s already a permanent — as opposed to temporary — outdoor rink at Ottawa City Hall, and the unrefrigerated world-famous Rideau Canal a short distance away.

Whatever, the only people likely to use the new temporary Parliament Hill rink are those who live around there, so this boondoggle would seem to be the result of typical Ontario-centric thinking.

By the way, Sun Peaks opened a new refrigerated open-air skating rink last winter that cost $850,000, a far cry from $5.6 million. And it will be there for a very long time.

The heritage minister has to carry the can for this one. Put that together with the trials and tribulations of Finance Minister Bill Morneau, and it might be time for Justin Trudeau to shuffle his cabinet again.

There’s just no skating around it.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear twice daily Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on and CFJC Today. Contact him at


About Mel Rothenburger (8054 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – No skating around it, Parliament Hill rink is a boondoggle

  1. Love your editorials!!

Leave a Reply to B Hewlett Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: