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Community Notebooks: Trying to make the rinks better
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zamboni festival

28-May-2010 [62]

The Occupational Health and Safety inspectors who came to the rink on Dec.18 said that zambonis and the community don't belong in the same place. Well, that may have been true once, but no longer. Cavan Young, who used to arrange outdoor concerts at the park when we started all our activities ten years ago, and David Anderson of Clay and Paper Theatre, have devised a St.Valentine's Day festival when the zamboni will be officially invited to become part of our community. To show that we are serious about our attachment to the zamboni, we are renaming the rink snack bar the "Zamboni Cafe" and the new community kitchen has already been renamed the "zamboni kitchen." The giant puppets will return on that day, from the places they were evacuated to. We're hoping that Parks and Recreation director Don Boyle will come and maybe even drive the zamboni, since that's how he got his start at Parks and Rec. Mayor Miller has been invited, also some of the councillors on the city's Economic Development and Parks Committee (including the chair, Councillor Brian Ashton), although we doubt they'll come - they're all really, really busy, trying to dig us out of our municipal troubles. But we hope that our own Councillor Adam Giambrone will come, and maybe his assistants as well. Probably the inspectors will not come, because it may be that the inspectors think health and safety are NOT FUNNY. Whereas Cavan Young and David Anderson say that our mental health and safety depends on seeing the fun in almost everything, at least for a moment.

There will be market vendors selling valentine gifts, good food (including bread fresh out of the oven) and music and, at 4p.m., a beautiful little puppet play done (in the multi-purpose zamboni room) by some of the park staff who are also in theatre: "The Counterfeit Marquise." It's nothing to do with the zamboni -- it's a Charles Perrault fairy tale -- a love story, for Valentine's.

Cavan got a National Film Board grant to do a 10-minute movie of this Zamboni Valentine, so they'll be filming on that day. Cavan is also holding a nick-naming ceremony, to cement the zamboni's position as one element in our community. Zack? Zoe? Zorra? Zed? (One of our rink staff will officiate at the christening - his name is Zio.)

This festival will have the additional purpose of celebrating the saving of our community kitchen. So some of our benefactors are also invited, particularly John Broley of the G.H.Wood Foundation (they gave us a grant of $8,000 to supplemented the city grant we got to build the kitchen), and James Dann, the parks and rec manager who worked so hard to help us make our rink a safer workplace but not lose what we do there. Cavan will be requesting comments on-camera from anyone who is willing, but it doesn't matter if you're camera-shy; the festival will be a celebration of coming through this latest storm, and that's the heart of the matter. Food, music, beautiful skating, a campfire, snow hills, and neighbours: Saturday February 14, from 2 p.m. at the rink. Happy Valentine's Day. And remember to wear something red.

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