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Main Project Information
Goal Track climate change through backyard skating rinks.
Task Pin location of your backyard rink, record days you could skate.

In 2012, scientists in Montreal warned Canadians to expect there will be fewer outdoor skating days in the future.* Their predictions are based on the results of data taken from weather stations across Canada over the last fifty years. In some parts of Canada, they warn there may one day be no more backyard rinks at all. Remember the story of how Wayne Gretzky learned to play hockey on the backyard rink his father made for him in Brantford, Ontario? The scientists’ report says some day that will no longer be possible – at least, not in Brantford.

This prompted a group of geographers at Wilfrid Laurier University to create RinkWatch. We want people from coast to coast to coast to tell us about their rinks. We want you to pin the location of your rink on our map, and then each winter record every day that you are able to skate on it. Think of it as your rink diary. We will gather up all the information from all the backyard rinks, and use it to track the changes in our climate. The RinkWatch website will give you regular updates on the results. You will be able to compare the number of skating days at your rink with rinks elsewhere, and find out who is having the best winter for skating this year.

How to Join

Create a username and a password you can remember. The first thing to do once you enter the site is to put a pin on the Google map to show us where your backyard rink is. If you don’t have a backyard rink, you can instead tell us where your neighbourhood outdoor rink is. You can also upload a photo of your rink – we will start a photo gallery of rinks from across Canada once we have enough.

Use the calendar tool to record the skating conditions on your rink each day. Just click on the date, and Rinkwatch will ask you a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question: Were you able to skate today? Just click on the answer and you’re done. At the end of the skating season you’ll be able to see how many skating days you got in this winter. RinkWatch will tell you how your rink compares with other rinks across Canada. And when that sad day comes when the ice melts for good, you can stop using RinkWatch until next winter comes, and start all over again

Social Media
Required Gear

A backyard or community outdoor ice rink to monitor is all you need to participate!

Ideal Age Group Elementary school (6 - 10 years), Middle school (11 - 13 years), High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families
Spend the Time outdoors
Class Materials
Media Mentions
and Publications
Tags ice, ice hockey, ice skate
Project Updated 05/23/2018