Trevor Jamieson and Krystal Novak pose along the skate trail created on Jamieson’s farm on Yorks Corners Rd. near Marvelville, during the grand opening on Sat., Jan. 20. Vetter photo
MARVELVILLE – After a one-week hiatus due to warm weather, the RiverOak Estates skating trail celebrated its grand opening on Sat., Jan. 20.
The trail is located on Yorks Corners Rd. just south of Victoria St. and is almost 3km of a flooded trail for skating. With twists and turns, multiple forks, some slightly uphill and slightly downhill grades, the trail winds under trees, through an orchard and alongside the Castor River. Strings of white outdoor Christmas lights shine on the trail, enabling night skating until 10 p.m., and the skate shack is anything but a shack.
Owner Trevor Jamieson, with help from family, friends and his girlfriend Krystal Novak, first moved to RiverOak Estates farm when his parents purchased it while he was a little boy. As part of the property runs alongside the Castor River, they had always cleared and flooded part of the river for skating. A few years ago he bought the farm from his parents and thought about turning a rink into a job.
The idea got a boost when he had the opportunity to buy several log buildings from a farm yard that was going to be turned into a cash crop field. He had experience with dismantling and reassembling barns. The skate “shack” was made from one of the reassembled barns which had originally been built in the 1850s, then dismantled and moved in the 1940s. It contains a fireplace, board benches, a counter, and a concession for drinks, snacks and hot chocolate. “Old timber frame barns have some value,” he said, “but nobody wants log barns.” It took six days to dismantle the barn and about two months to rebuild it. There is also an area for live music, which was featured as part of the grand opening.
The facility also offers an outdoor bonfire (with free marshmallows for the kids). Cost to skate is $10 per person, but there are group rates for schools, Scouts, Guides, etc., and a season pass is available for $40.
For more information email Jamieson at firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.riveroak.ca.
Even though the ice conditions were not ideal because it was necessary to pack and re-flood the entire length of trail, there were many skaters out. The trend to skate outdoors on trails is catching on in Canada, indicating that people prefer their winter sports outside, and possibly also reflects the lack of available ice time for public skating in arenas.