The Strategic Copywriting program at U of T also taught me to provide value to my audience, and use their feedback to decide what content to create next. I had originally written an article on LinkedIn, mentioning how I skated outdoors to cope with boredom and isolation during the pandemic. I received a lot of feedback from this, asking where I skated and which rinks I would recommend. I tried to provide value by drawing from my personal experience skating at these rinks, and highlighting the kinds of details that I knew my audience would want to know about.

3 outdoor rinks where you can still skate during the pandemic

Written by Wendell Quan Fun, originally featured on LinkedIn

Since my previous article, several people have asked me which outdoor rinks are still open for leisure skating. So I'm following up on this, for those who don't want to miss out two winters in a row! These are the 3 rinks that I like the most:

1) Sunnydale Acres, Rexdale

This is my home rink, which I visited basically every day last winter.

Pros: There is a spacious indoor changing area, and a dedicated parking lot. Speaking of enjoying the little things, there is music during every leisure skate. I just recently found out that not all rinks are like this! Lastly, because it's built for hockey, the ice is generally hard and smooth.

Cons: This winter, Sunnydale Acres has gone back to hosting shinny. This is fair because shinny was banned all of last winter. Leisure skating is only available for 2-hour timeslots, and it varies from day to day. Half the time, it's during school hours.

2) Greenwood Park, Leslieville

I only visited this rink because many of my friends live in the area. It's a good thing I did.

Pros: There are actually TWO ice surfaces here - a skating trail and a regular rink with boards. Most places don't have this. Last winter, you could walk back and forth between the two without taking off your skates. This winter, you can't do that because the rink is reserved for shinny and skating lessons. However, if you're a parent, you can still benefit from this setup. If one of your kids wants to play shinny and the other just wants to skate, you can easily watch both of them at the same time! The trail is open for leisure skating until 10 pm virtually every day.

Cons: Last year, when capacity was limited to 25 skaters per hour, it was easier to find free parking on the street, specifically on Alton Ave. But this year there are no capacity limits, so free parking might be harder to find. The ice on the trail is also choppy in one spot. You can actually TRIP on this section of ice, especially at night.

3) Celebration Square, Mississauga

I first visited Celebration Square on Family Day, when Pearson International Airport was throwing a party (before the pandemic) to celebrate their 50 Millionth Passenger. Great atmosphere that day!

Pros: It feels like Nathan Phillips Square, except it has free parking! There is plenty of free parking, but the closest is near Holt Renfrew at Square One. You have the Mississauga skyline as your backdrop, but you're also elevated above street level. Compared to a similar rink in Scarborough (Albert Campbell Square), Celebration Square is easier to find.

Cons: There is a garden in the middle, which looks great, but it's not right in the middle of the ice. This creates a bottleneck on the "homestretch" of the rink, the side where most people get on the ice. The ice can also be a bit choppy.

If you ever go to these rinks, I'd like to hear what you thought of them. What are your favourite rinks? Looking forward to your comments.

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