LETTERS: How the community built Stittsville’s rink

The arena ice surface, just cleaned ready for skating. Barry Gray (for StittsvilleCentral)
Plaque inside the arena recognizing Sterling Warner and Ian Colpits, who were instrumental in the community fundraising and contruction of the arena. Barry Gray (for StittsvilleCentral)
Plaque inside the arena recognizing Sterling Warner, Ian Colpits, and other volunteers who were instrumental in the community fundraising and contruction of the arena. Barry Gray (for StittsvilleCentral)

Re: Johnny Leroux arena turns 45 years old
“My father, Ian Colpitts, and Mr. Sterling Warner were relentless and obsessed with the planning, fundraising and building of this arena. Lots of nights my mother would have to take Dad’s dinner to him at the construction site because he just had to get “one more” thing done that night. He spent hours there in the evenings after working 12 hour days in the construction industry.

He and Mr. Warner were very proud of this accomplishment, yet neither wanted any accolades. They both always felt it was the people of Stittsville who built the arena and that no one person should take the praise. And, for that reason, he declined the honour of having the arena named for him. We, his family, are very proud of him and Mr. Warner!”

Betty Hyndman

“My mother has a few memories of the rink drive. Buying a $20 brick, organizing a bridge group where the fee went to the rink, and the fact that Ray Faulkner was president of the OYB who owned the land where the ball diamond and rink are situated and had the foresight (with Jack Argue) to see to it that their property and money did not go to the National OYB when they disbanded, but rather to the village. They had a free site when they decided to build. My siblings and I went on the fundraising walk in 1971(?) which was lots of fun and gave the children a chance to contribute. We walked all the way to Munster and back on a hot summer day.”

Ellen Faulkner

“If I may add to my cousin Ellen’s shared story. Taking on a project of this dimension was an amazing feat for our ‘little’ town back then. Our community spirit was beyond ecstatic. I remember participating in all of the walk-a-thons, trudging 25 miles through our countryside to raise funds for what would be a true community facility.

For only 10 or 5 cents a mile, the children of Stittsville became very competitive in obtaining sponsors for the walks and I’m sure our parents, relatives and friends parents were a little poorer for it. It was the talk of the schoolyard as the date of each walk approached and comparisons made as to how much each of us had raised.

My parents purchased a cement block, we attended the chicken dinners and participated in many of the fundraising efforts. I had skated on our other rinks – behind the old Bradley’s store and behind the old municipal buildings which Grampa Scott maintained and kept the fire burning in the shack. I started figure skating lessons at that rink.

But I remember fondly that first skate – waiting in line to be able to step out on this huge ice surface indoors – it was like a dream come true. On Saturday mornings we had figure skating lessons under our new banner – the Stittsville Figure Skating Club – I later taught for 4 years at the Club. After my lessons, I would volunteer in the snack bar with Mr. Fraser (Charlie). My Saturdays were spent at the arena and there was no other place I’d rather be.

My Dad (Bill McKay) and Jimmy Cathcart coached one of the junior boys hockey teams for a number of years and even got their teams hockey jackets possible through sponsors. I still have my Dad’s jacket with ‘Coach’ on it. My Mom, Lorraine (nee Parks) spent many hours skating at both outdoor rinks and the new arena.

Another exciting time, was when the artificial ice was installed – it was like gliding on glass and was so much faster. The people, events and participation in seeing this major community project come to fruition will always remain in my memories.”

Lesley McKay


3 thoughts on “LETTERS: How the community built Stittsville’s rink”

  1. It’s nice to hear the history of the rink, which has been in Stittsville about ten years longer than we have. When we were still Goulbourn, the community used to rally round for lots of things, including the parks and play structures and other public venues. It was a good time and helped to build the wonderful community spirit we found when we moved here. It’s a pity that things seem to be handled more centrally now and things handed to residents on a silver platter. With communities pitching in locally, there could be more money available in city coffers to undertake the larger projects that the City needs so much.

  2. I also have fond memories of the building of the new arena. My father volunteered in the old outdoor rink before the new one was built I remember him out late at night flooding the ice. We also purchased a brick and me and my sister went on the walk to help raise the funds. I was lucky enough to be on the first women’s hockey team in Stittsville. I still remember playing in Carp on the outdoor ice and huddling in the shack during periods. When we started we didn’t even wear all the equipment lots of bruises but we had alot of fun, it was a wonderful time!

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