After closing in 2004, the Robson Square Ice Rink is now renovated, re-surfaced, and covered with ice in time for some winter fun and 2010 festivities — of Olympic proportions.
In 2006 I profiled the rink, which was in limbo — looking for sponsors and ways to reconstruct the skating surface without damaging the offices and classrooms that had come to surround it. In recent years it was a popular venue for dance classes as Vancouverites would meet to tango and salsa under Robson Street through Dance Sport BC.
With the return of the ice in an opening ceremony at 9:30am today, the rink will be open for a free public skate from 12:00pm until 9:00pm today. Regular hours will be:
Free Public Skating
Public Skate and Cafe: noon to 9 p.m.
School Groups, Coaching Clinics and Skills Training: 9 a.m. to noon
Extended Public Skate Hours from Dec 21 to Jan 1: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Hours Christmas Day (noon-5 p.m.), Boxing Day (9 a.m.-9 p.m.),
New Year’s Day (9 a.m.-9 p.m.)
Extended Public Skate Hours during the Winter Games
According to Metro News, General Electric spent $1.6 million in the past three years restoring the rink and the glass-domed GE Ice Plaza will be used as a central location for public celebration during the Vancouver Olympics. Skating will be free if you bring your own skates to wear but you can also rent for $3 (kids 12 and under can rent for free). Free skating will continue to be open to the public as of today and running through the 2010 Olympic Games.
Update: I stopped by today to take some photos. There were plenty of lunchtime skaters as well as live entertainment from a brass band.
Update: To answer some questions, they have helmets available to rent as well as plastic carts to push around on the ice, assisting young ones and those who cannot skate very well.
Update: You can cross OVER the ice rink on the FREE Olympic Zipline, read more here.
Update: Due to an attack on my site, this post was republished and comments have been lost.