Monday, February 2, 2009

The Rink

Happy Groundhog Day! I hear that our provincial weather prognosticator, Shubenacadie Sam, has seen his shadow and predicted another six weeks of winter. On the same note, it looks like there is another snowstorm forecast for tonight. The reports are saying up to an additional 25cm of snow with a bit of ice and rain mixed in for good measure. For some reason, this sort of report is more fun at the start of the winter than in early February.

Our archival image today is also in keeping with a winter theme. Skating has always been a popular activity in Canadian communities and Annapolis Royal is no different. This photograph, taken about 1900, depicts the well dressed interior of Annapolis Royal's first skating rink. Interestingly, the building had an upstairs promenade which can be seen in the background. The rink was lit with oil lamps hung on chandeliers from the ceiling. This facility, built by George E. Corbitt in 1882, was also used as an exhibition hall and venue for band concerts. The first rink was destroyed in 1905.

A replacement rink was built by politician and millionaire Frank JD Barnjum in 1922. The story told by locals is that the rink was built by Barnjum as a way to get elected to the legislature. It must have worked because he was elected in 1925 but as a member for Queen's County not Annapolis.

Unfortunately, this is not a scene which would be possible in Annapolis Royal today. Since our most recent rink was burned, we have not had an indoor skating facility. For the skating enthusiast, the pond at the French Basin does freeze thick enough to allow for a few days of outdoor skating each year.

All for now,
RGS

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