A free skate day sponsored by locals Todd Sjogren and Tony MacAulay raised more than $2,500 and 60 toys for the SOS.
This was the pair’s second year of sponsoring a free skate day during Oceanside Place’s Winter Wonderland on ice Skate.
Kids, parents, grandparents and many others took part on Saturday, Dec. 16, enjoying the trees, festive lighting and other decorations at one of the facility’s rinks.
“We’re really happy with that,” said Sjogren of what was raised.
Having raised $1,000 and 80 toys with last year’s event, the pair had hoped to double the donations this year.
“I think it’s gone really well,” said Sjogren just before the end of the event. “We’ve gotten lots of toys and lots of cash donations. People were really generous.”
Sjogren added that he felt the event had a strong turnout. “There’s been multi-generations of kids and parents and grandparents,” he said.
One mother-and-son pair who took part in the event, Melissa Parlane and Angus, were visiting from New Zealand. Parlane said this was Angus’ first time on skates.
Asked why he and Sjogren started up the event, MacAulay said, “We just thought it would be a good idea to give back to the community, and SOS does a really great job of making people’s Christmas better.”
It’s also about teaching kids about what’s important at Christmas, he said. “Not just presents under our tree.”
There will be a few more free skate opportunities as Winter Wonderland on Ice continues through Dec. 31: Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns is sponsoring a free skate Saturday, Dec. 23, from 10 a.m. to noon.; and Tim Hortons is sponsoring a free skate Dec. 24, from 1-3 p.m.
Winter Wonderland on Ice runs Dec. 15-31. Public skate times vary by day.
Costs are: $3.26 for children aged four to 12, $4.35 for students aged 13-18, $6.21 for adults, $4.85 for seniors and $12.60 for families or $16.88 which includes a skate rental.
For more information on the Winter Wonderland on Ice, contact RDN Recreation at 250-248-3252 or view the skate schedules online at rdn.bc.ca/holiday-skate-schedule.