Tantallon Rink holding 50th anniversary celebration

July 8, 2019, 8:07 am
Kara Kinna

Triggve Olafson cutting the ribbon for the opening of Tantallon Rink in 1969.

At a time when some small towns are struggling to keep their rinks open, the community of Tantallon will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Tantallon rink this Saturday, July 13.

Everyone is welcome to come out to the family-friendly event which runs all day long, concluding with fireworks and a family-friendly cabaret in the evening with local band Shifty Morgan.

“The rink board decided we should do a celebration for it. We had a rink previously, and it burnt down, and they rebuilt this one 50 years ago,” says rink board member Renata Arnason.

“We are having a barbecue lunch. There is going to be some entertainment in the afternoon for the seniors, coffee available, then we are doing free cake with supper, bouncy tents, kids games, and beer gardens all day. We are having a Chicken Chef chicken supper, and then fireworks and a family fun dance to end the day.

“We are trying to make it so that there’s something for all ages there, and it’s nice to be able to have the kids hang out at night and dance and enjoy the show too.

“Tantallon is very family-oriented and we wanted to make sure that everyone gets to come out and have some fun!”

Arnason says everything will be held right at the rink, and all events go rain or shine, and will be moved inside the rink if the weather doesn’t co-operate.

She says the village expects a big crowd for the event.

“Lots of families are having people come home,” she says. “We are hoping that there will be 300 to 400 throughout the day. The nice thing is you can come whenever suits you. If you are busy during the day, you can come at night. If you come during the day, but you have something going on at night, you can take off. There is camping available for people who want to bring their campers or tents down.”

She says lot of people have pitched in to help organize the event.

“There are about 14 on the board and we had lots of people in town come and help. We borrowed picnic tables from Spy Hill, and had some guys show up to help move those. The nice thing with Tantallon is that when something needs to be done, everyone just steps up and helps to get everything done, and we all celebrate together too.”

Arnason says the rink is the hub of the community, even more so now since the other meeting place in town—the Valleyview Hotel—was lost to a fire this spring.

“It’s a huge part of the community,” she says. “The rink is also our hall. That’s where we do funerals, wedding showers, baby showers, anniversaries, family reunions, and then we have public skating and a senior rec hockey team.

“Everything in the community was at the bar or is at the rink, and then our store is run out of the old curling wing of the rink too. It is very much our community centre.”

Arnason says the community of Tantallon has been steadily renovating the rink over the years, and the building is in good shape. The most recent renovations on the kitchen will be completed this week in time for the anniversary event.

“We have been actively renovating probably about the last seven years,” she asys. “We have done the roof, the kitchen, we redid the flooring, a few years ago the basement flooded when all the rain came, so we redid the basement. For lots of those things we’ve had different grants and sponsorships, so that’s part of the celebration on the 13th, thanking those organizations as well. Without that funding, we wouldn’t be able to keep doing the renos. We have two more big renos to go and then we should be pretty happy to just do a little bit of maintenance here and there for the next little while.

“We are hoping this fall to get the zamboni room built. Right now we still flood by hand. We have a big hockey tournament at Christmas and the guys all go and scrape the ice with shovels.

“Stockholm donated their old zamboni but we don’t have a facility to keep it in right now. So we are hoping to get that built this fall or next spring, and then after that we are hoping to upgrade our boards for the ice surface. Spy Hill rink closed down and donated all their glass. So we are going to sell board space for advertising. Hopefully by the end of next year we will have that raised. Right now with not having the glass and netting up we can’t rent to anyone who is looking for ice time, and without the zamboni room you don’t want to rent because we don’t have staff to be down there flooding in between.

“With those it will really open up some opportunities and revenue and just be nice for the kids.

“We kind of had a bit of a lull where there weren’t a ton of kids around, and now it’s picked up again. We did public skating on Mondays this past winter and had an awesome turnout.”

Arnason says the Tantallon rink committee is working hard to ensure their rink stays viable for years to come.

“Tantallon itself is not large, but when you add everyone who would say Tantallon is home, it adds up,” she says,.

“We are hoping to work as hard as we can to keep it going for another 50 years. That would be awesome.”