This winter, a Canadian tradition enjoyed across the cooler parts of the country comes to Comox Valley, thanks to cutting-edge technology enabling for the first time an opportunity to skate outdoors during WinterBites Festival, Jan. 16 to 31.
Outdoor skating rinks and pond hockey have long been tradition in most of Canada each winter, but Vancouver Island, with its temperate climate, has typically been denied this opportunity – until now, thanks to BH Skating International.
Using synthetic ice panels manufactured from special ‘new wave’ (non-refrigerated) polymers, BH Skating creates a surface that enables skating year round and in all temperatures. It is an affordable way for WinterBites organizers to bring a Pond Hockey Jamboree and outdoor public skating experience to the Comox Valley. The “rink” will be set up at Simms Millennium Park.
“Skating and being out on the ice is a huge part of Canadian identity,” says Brenda Hann, president and CEO of BH Skating International. “We love being able to provide the experience of skating and playing hockey outside— it is amazing how much fun it is wherever they are set up, from Comox Valley to places south of the border such as Phoenix and Las Vegas.”
The Comox Valley Minor Hockey Association has invited teams across Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland to participate in the WinterBites Pond Hockey Jamborees. “We’re really excited that the rink provides the chance for local hockey players as well as skaters to get involved and be showcased outside,” says CVMHA vice-president Bruce Dyke.
“Winter is about getting outdoors so to bring some of the winter wonderland down to the streets of Courtenay means more for families and outdoor enthusiasts to actively participate in, in the heart of the city.”
To add to the excitement of a rink in the middle of downtown Courtenay, the WinterBites Fun Zone will offer visitors and locals the chance to skate on the BH Skating rink right through until Feb 2.
In addition, the Boys and Girls Club of Central Vancouver Island will be setting up winter and sport-themed activities including building a ‘snow’ man, making igloos and throwing ‘snow’ balls while the Comox Valley Exhibition will be hosting a petting pen, horse and rolling sleigh rides, serving hot apple cider and providing photo opportunities with Billy the miniature pony.
Groups can make the most of their visit to the WinterBites Fun Zone by contacting the festival outdoor event coordinator at email@example.com to plan for group activities specific activities and special events.
After a day of skating, playing or watching some hockey, there will also be other WinterBites activities including concerts by internationally acclaimed musicians such as Barney Bentall, Alpha YaYa Diallo, The Grapes of Wrath, Chilliwack and fiddler sensation Ashley MacIsaac. Held in various venues, the concerts are spread over the 16 days of the festival, with tickets available for individual purchase or as part of an accommodation package.
For a full list of the activities, musicians, and accommodation or to buy concert tickets visit www.winterbitesfestival.com, call 1-855-400-2882 or drop into the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre. One can also join the conversation using #CVWinterBites on Facebook or Twitter.
Public skating tickets are now on sale at the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre (3607 Small Road, Cumberland, 1-855-400-2882) and at the Courtenay Rec Centre (489 Old Island Hwy., Courtenay, 1-250-338-5371) or online at winterbitesfestival.com.
– WinterBites Festival