That ‘third place’

I think for most children the coolest thing to have in the winter is your own outdoor skating rink. It’s right there…in your back yard. Very cool.

But…some backyards aren’t big enough, or flat enough. And they can be a lot of work. The next best thing, is an outdoor rink in your local park. Outdoor skating rinks are a place where friends and neighbours socialize, have fun, and stay fit through the dark winter months.

A neighbourhood, outdoor skating rink provides that “third place,” as described by Ray Oldenburg, an urban sociologist. In his book, “The Great Good Place,” Oldenburg writes about the importance of informal, public gathering places. He believes “Life without community has produced, for many, a lifestyle consisting mainly of a home-to-work-and-back-again shuffle. Social well-being and psychological health depend upon community and the ‘third places.’” Whether in an urban city center or sub-urban neighborhood, an ice rink is a “third place” where like-minded people can socialize and connect.

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