The Glen Williams outdoor rink, and the people behind it!

Early in 2021, the residents of Glen Williams were told to discontinue skating on local waterways and reservoirs during the winter freeze. With COVID lockdowns in full force, there was a need for places that the community children could go to socialize and be active, while still observing local health guidelines. Seeing this void and a way to fill it, long time Halton Hills resident Sue W. reached out to the town office and requested permits to build an outdoor ice rink at the Glen Williams ball field. From there the project took off, and residents of “the Glen” are currently enjoying a volunteer created and maintained outdoor rink, now in its second season!

A community effort

Many have felt the effects of back-to-back lockdowns on their mental health, not just in adults, but in children as well. Social interaction is an important part of a child’s development, and “recreation is a key factor in supporting good mental and physical health” says Sue. With the full support of her community Sue coordinates the setup, maintenance, and tear down of the rink. But, she admits, she never would have undertaken this project if she didn’t know there was a community of volunteers willing to help. “So many residents of the Glen offered to pitch in and help. High school students have been able to get volunteer hours for setting up, flooding, shoveling, and maintaining the ice. Parents of student-aged children stepped up to help, even adults with grown and flown families have come to help. It’s been a great way to get outside.”

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Connecting with small business

It’s not just the local residents who have helped make this project happen, even businesses in the area are getting involved. “Securing a water source was the next step [after obtaining permits from the town]. The owner of the Williams Mill buildings agreed to allow us to use water from one of his tenants, Kimaid Cleaning Services. Kim has been extraordinarily accommodating with allowing us access to her water right from her own business taps.” Susan Koops, Office Manager at Kimaid Cleaning Services, says “we are happy to help in any way we can, whether it be cleaning or providing water for folks to get exercise and have fun.”

A win-win scenario

The experience has also been educational for the volunteers who “have learned a great deal about ice making, the ideal ice-making conditions, and how best to maintain it” explains Sue. “On the coldest of nights, you will find some of the heartiest and hardiest volunteers out there cleaning, building and flooding the ice. We have had solid advice from some of the town employees who have been doing this for years at the fairgrounds and in Acton.”

A tradition of community

Incidentally, this is not the first time residents of the Glen have banned together to create an outdoor rink. Rumor has it, that over 30 years ago another group of residents got together with the same goal. While by local standards, Sue and her family are still ‘babies’ in the neighbourhood (coming up on 12 years, formerly of Georgetown) she says, “I love the connectedness that many residents share, and so many are willing to keep that ‘small town’ feel of being neighbourly alive.”

Picturesque Glen Williams and the Credit River in the fall. Source

It’s residents like Sue and all the volunteers involved, that make the Glen so special. Being one of Ontario’s last remaining hamlets, Glen Williams maintains its small town feel in its heritage buildings and natural setting. Situated on the banks of the credit river, and part of the Niagara Escarpment, the Glen’s compact core is host to a quaint café, old time pub, upscale dining, artist studios, galleries, and parks. This unique Halton Hills community is a true gem, not just for its attractions like the Glen Williams outdoor rink, but its residents too!

If you’re considering a move to Glen Williams, give us a call first at  905-873-9944, or email