By Kayla Rain –
Despite freezing temperatures, Kitchissippi residents and members of the Carlingwood and Woodroffe North Community Association made time to play at Woodroffe Park on Feb. 8.
The snowy scene was dotted with colored ice blocks, giant inflatable bowling pins, and the volunteer-maintained rink all set for games. Steamy cups of hot chocolate and coffee were provided by Rogers to combat the cold. “We even have some fire pits to keep everyone warm when they’re feeling a bit frosty, which I was much more worried about at eight this morning when I came to put the pylons out for the horse trolley,” laughs Tricia Ross, one of the several coordinators of this event.
“If we don’t go out and celebrate winter we’ll all be hibernating inside, we’d never see any of our neighbors,” says Mayor Jim Watson, who was also in attendance. “This is a community with great spirit.”
It was the first winter carnival jointly run by the two communities.
“It started off when an old neighbor asked about a trolley for their neighborhood party,” says Julie Findlay, one of the event coordinators. “I suggested we combine neighborhoods since we’re close together and all of our husbands take care of the rink.”
It’s something the two neighbourhoods are doing more frequently.
“It gets us all on the same page,” says CJ Angel, as his four-year old son, Jack, plays around the rink with other children. “It’s a young neighborhood, and we all aspire towards the same kind of goal, which is to keep the place safe.”
Sophie Smith, who participated in the carnival with her two young daughters, adds, “I think it gives parents the chance to meet other people who are in the same boat with kids about the same age.”
It wasn’t only the feeling of togetherness that ran the carnival, but also the spirit of giving. The organizers also collected donations of gently-used winter gear for St. Joseph’s Women’s Centre and Supper Table.
“We were realizing how cold it was and how everybody outgrows their mitts and hats,” says Findlay. “We wanted to find the right place for it all to go.”
St. Joe’s is located at 151 Laurier Ave. and hosts programs to help homeless mothers and children. The donation box will be kept inside the field house at Woodroffe Park until Feb. 26.