Making a difference in the game – one rink at a time

Months of dedication and hard work paid off on Saturday when residents of Scarborough celebrated the unveiling of the newly renovated community rink at the Centennial East Recreation Centre.

After a $50,000 donation was made by Lowe’s Rink Reno Program in May, members of the Scarborough community, Lowe’s employees and city of Toronto staff, teamed up for the reconstruction.

During the three-month period, new protective netting was installed above the glass, the changing room showers were modified, the counters and sinks in the washrooms were replaced and parts of the interior were painted.

The most significant improvement in the arena however, is the installation of a so-called “low-e ceiling.” The new ceiling is energy efficient and is designed to increase the lighting levels in the arena, improve the sound and reduce the effect of an echo.

Ward 38 councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker spoke at the opening ceremony and thanked Lowe’s for its contribution to the improvement of the rink.

“In partnership with Hockey Canada, the city of Toronto, and the help of Lowe’s employees and members of the community, we’ve transformed this arena into a place for kids,” De Baeremaeker said at the ceremony. “Kids will continue to play hockey for many years to come. These upgrades will allow residents to enjoy the arena and continue to enjoy Canada’s game – hockey.”

Retired Canadian hockey goaltender, Curtis Joseph attended the unveiling of the rink as  Lowe’s 2013 rink renovation ambassador. During the ceremony, he explained that the Lowe’s project is dear to his heart because he spent his childhood playing hockey and it is a huge part of who he is.

“This is our culture. We spend a lot of time on hockey rinks and if we don’t keep them up, there will be nowhere for kids to play.”

After the board cutting ceremony – the equivalent of a ribbon cutting ceremony – excited children raced at the opportunity to skate on the fresh ice. Their cheers filled the arena.

Mother Belinda Summerville explained the excitement of her children when they saw the renovated rink for the first time.

“My sons have been coming here to skate since they were two and they are very excited for the new arena – they have been waiting for it, we all have and the is truly spectacular.”

After months of hard work and anticipation, members of the Scarborough community, enjoyed an afternoon of fun and relaxation. Activities were organized for young children, a free lunch was served and Joseph joined fans on the ice then signed autographs for those who wanted a memento of the historic day.

Lowe’s continues its rink-building initiative by donating over $100,000 every year to community rinks that are in need of renovation across Canada.