The new museum, which will make accessible all 600 watercraft, thousands of small artifacts and an archive, is designed by an award-winning team of heneghan peng architects (Dublin, Ireland) with Kearns Mancini Architects (Toronto, Canada). The museum has partnered with world-class exhibition design firm GSM Project to create one-of-a-kind visitor experiences.
You hear a lot about backyard rinks but not backyard curling rinks. Well Aaron Kempf managed to MacGyver a mint one in his Peterborough backyard—all at a cost of only about $100.
Kempf fashioned lights across his backyard in the summer so he could ride his pump track—a type of off-road terrain for cycle sport—after his daughter went to bed, and the rink was a way to continue to take advantage of the lights throughout the winter and also a good excuse to get out of the house on winter nights.
Below is his summer cycle track (the rink he built would be constructed on the opposite side of the yard)…
HOW HE MADE THE RINK
“Construction was as simple as I could make it,” says Kempf, who describes himself as “handyish” depending on what the project is and how good the YouTube videos are. “I came across this idea last year and wanted to give it a try. It is basically a landscaping project which I’m comfortable with as it has a high threshold for mistakes. We like having projects on the go so this was a pretty easy one to try.”
At first, Kempf tried just shoveling snow in order to make a rink outline but the first few snow falls they got in November and December all melted. “In early January, I bought a couple 1x4s and made a rough frame for the rink. I then spent a weekend spraying several thin coats of water,” he tells PTBOCanada.
Kempf says the 1x4s did not create a water tight seal so he chipped a bunch of ice from a couple puddles that had formed in the corners of the pump track and used that to fill the gaps. After that, he continued slowly flooding it.
“There were a few leaks along the way,” Kempf says. “Next year, I’ll probably build a sturdier frame and line it with plastic to keep our water usage down. After I had an even coat of ice across the whole rink and it was thick enough to walk on, I installed the rings.”
The outer blue rings are two round plastic tablecloths he got from Dollarama. Kempf measured so each ring was a foot wide and cut the excess off. The red rings are from a single rectangle plastic tablecloth—also from Dollarama. He cut it in half and freehanded two circles with a sharpie and a pair of scissors. After that, he set them on the ice and flooded overtop a few times.
HOW HE MADE THE CURLING STONES
The rocks were made from two $1.25 metal bowls from Dollar Tree—”the bowls at Dollarama were twice the price and too tall,” says Kempf, who punched a hole through the top of half of them with a screwdriver and then cut out a rough circle with a jigsaw.
“I used construction adhesive to attach them together, filled them with concrete and inserted some threaded metal pipe for the handles. Once they were set I trimmed the handles so they wouldn’t stick out passed the edge of the bowl, inserted a small piece of foam on each handle and wrapped them in blue and red hockey tape.”
The last step in creating the rocks required cutting a slit out of foam backer rod with an razer blade and wrapping it around each rock.
“This is to minimize damage to the bowls when they hit each other as I’m not working with an actual chunk of granite like a real curling rock,” explains Kempf. “They are probably half the size and weight of regulation curling rocks but they work well with the dimensions of the rink (about 8’ by 30’).”
After all this ingenuity, it was time to chillax and throw the rocks in the tee (hopefully)…
The family has made good use of the rink thus far, including Aaron’s wife Alix and his folks who are in town from British Columbia for a couple weeks of visiting.
Kempf himself is no Olympic curler or anything—”I have curled once in my life before this, watched it on TV a few times, and course seen the Paul Gross classic Men with Brooms—but that’s besides the point.
He’s not the best skater so a traditional rink didn’t make sense, wanted to take advantage of Canadian winter, of having a backyard (“we moved from a Toronto apartment a few years ago so we are trying to make the most of it”), plus Google made it look relatively easy to build.
And if you build it, they will come…
Die-hard curlers, might say—as Kempf notes—that the ice isn’t perfect. “I didn’t try to pebble it, and anyone with actual curling skills would probably be irritated with the imperfections.”
But like any sport and any rink, you have to start somewhere. And why not hurry hard and sweep on your DIY backyard curling rink in Peterborough?
When it comes to backyard rinks, a lot of blood, sweat, tears—and flooding—goes into building the perfect rink. Sometimes, though, Mother Nature chooses to take care of things on its own in beautiful ways.
Just ask James Brown, a father of three, as a backyard swamp near his place in Buckhorn that can be a pain in the spring transforms itself into what he calls an “enchanted forest backyard rink” in the winter for his family to enjoy.
“It’s so much fun skating through the trees, and my daughters (ages 8, 7 and 3) love it,” James tells PTBOCanada. “All the twists and turns has really helped develop their skating, too.”
James says other than a bit of shovelling here and there, the rink is good to go courtesy of Mother Nature, as the swampy area froze nice and smooth making for great conditions.
Should the kids need a break from their magical forest rink, they can skate on another outdoor rink James made for them on nearby Little Bald Lake…
After flooding the rink all week during these cold conditions, Ontario Speed Skating Oval organizers in Lakefield say in a Facebook post that the ice should be ready to go for the 2019 season starting Sunday, January 13th, when it will be open from noon until 2 p.m.
The process would have been much faster with some snow to deploy for a base but the volunteer ice crew have done a great job getting it ready and flooding the ice all week.
Organizers say rental skates will be available, and that skaters are advised to use extra caution as there are still some thin spots.
We are doing a double axel and attempting a triple with the news that the green flag is up on the Trent Canal for the first time this season, meaning conditions are safe to skate there!
If you haven’t skated on it, it’s definitely a bucket list thing to do with the family or on date night…
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Tommy's first time skating and Mom and Dad's first time on skates in a decade. Lots of falls and only a few emotional meltdowns, but I eventually got used to it. Tommy is a natural and will most certainly become the world's best hockey player. @jennjudson65 @ptbo_canada #liftlock #skating #peterboroughontario