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Samuel Smith Park Skating Trail Now Open in South Etobicoke!

This snapshot of Samuel Smith Park’s new ice trail is the first in an occasional series on the best places to lace up in Toronto.
Eleanor and Peter Heinz drove Friday from their home near Yonge Street and Highway 401 to Etobicoke, to skate the new ice trail in Samuel Smith Park. Being thrifty, after entering the park at Kipling Avenue and Lakeshore Boulevard, the couple drove past Green ‘P’, where parking costs $2 per hour, and found a spacious lot about 100 metres closer to Lake Ontario, where parking is free.
I met the couple as we laced up in the spectacular Power House Recreation Centre. This red brick building from 1888 served for a century as the coal-fired heating plant that, via underground tunnels, piped warmth to the adjacent Lunatic Asylum. The asylum now houses Humber College. Its power house, lovingly restored with its 60-metre brick smokestack intact, 10-metre cathedral ceilings, three-storey windows and pine benches, is today the city’s most spectacular skate house. 
This is the first city artificial ice rink that, rather than being a rectangular hockey rink, is a trail. It is loosely described as a figure 8, but is in fact two roughly circular paths, connected in the centre, that wind through some of the park’s landscape. Underground pipes filled with ammonia cool the slab. When I arrived, 400 high school students had just departed. The speakers hooked to the period lamp posts piped Christmas carols — perhaps a bit loudly — including Ella Fitzgerald singing Santa Claus got Stuck in my Chimney. 
From 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., this rink is staffed. Skating is free. You’ll notice there is no fence around the trail. With a full moon it will be gorgeous. Skaters will flock here Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Hockey is officially prohibited; still, illegal games of shinny will doubtless spring up after closing time. There is a surface near the main entrance to the trail that is big enough for a small game. We’re Canadians; please don’t expect us to keep our sticks off the ice. Read more
Source: National Post

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