History of the Oval Project in Lakefield
For over ten years, a group of local volunteers has worked to build a temperature-controlled long-track speed skating oval and community recreation facility in Lakefield, Ontario. Their efforts were based on a Business Plan that established the economic viability of a recreation facility with a 400-metre concrete track that could be used during the fall and winter for skating and during the spring and summer for in-line skating.
The Oval concept generated support from local businesses, individuals and community groups, and limited financial support from different government levels. This initial support allowed the Board of Directors to purchase a thirteen-acre parcel of land that is now home for the Oval in the Lakefield South development area. The first stage of significant site work was completed at the Oval in 2009, resulting in Southern Ontario’s only natural ice 400-metre speed skating facility. No government level provides any ongoing funding or financial assistance in the Oval’s continuous operations or the various public programs available each season.
Today the Ontario Speed Skating Oval in Lakefield is organized, owns the land and the equipment needed to make the ice each winter through an Ontario registered not-for-profit corporation. Along with raising the money to purchase the land and equipment, the Board recruits and organizes the volunteers who make the facility possible every winter.
Volunteers work diligently to produce the ice and maintain its sleek surface using the Oval’s water truck, plow, and Zamboni. Another group of volunteers use the Oval’s 100 pairs of recreational speed skates to teach school groups and the public about the sport of speed skating and offer coaching services to a growing number of speed skating enthusiasts.
Since its introduction, the Oval has played host to Olympic-style speed skating events, regular practices for local speed skaters, hockey tournaments, and a wide array of popular special events. The Oval provides the public with weekly free public skating sessions that have attracted thousands of visitors each year.
While continuing its goal of constructing Ontario’s first outdoor temperature-controlled 400-metre speed skating Oval, the Board strives to ensure that volunteers have the resources required to make the Oval a premier destination to experience speed skating on an outdoor track in a beautiful open-air setting in Lakefield.
For more information about future plans, se The Big Dream.