City's Outdoor Ice Rinks Bailed out by Credit Card
There I was, reading David Cayley's thought-provoking commentary on the plight of Toronto's outdoor artificial ice rinks, when a little bird landed on my balcony and broke the news that MasterCard had just offered the city a cool $160,000 to open all outdoor rinks as scheduled in December. The mayor quickly accepted the offer, but cautiously stated that "You can't fund basic public services through charitable donations."
Before anyone blows a gasket, MasterCard's offer is a 'no strings attached' deal--no advertising or branding involved. The composite image above is a nightmare that will never come to fruition (at least not this year).
Alas, the cash infusion is a band-aid solution that only fixes a symptom this fiscal year. The city has to stop foolin' with our rinks as a way to evoke sympathy for its tax agenda, because it's downright punishing to withhold one of our few winter pleasures. Our 49 artificial outdoor rinks are a veritable treasure that makes the winter bearable (even enjoyable). On bitterly cold nights, I've been out there on the Nathan Phillips Square rink with hundreds of people. Where else in the world can you join a game of shinny at midnight on a -20C night among skyscrapers? Kudos to the MC thinking of all the depressed skaters out there... here, I'll even write your next commercial:
Pair of Skates - $200
Hot Chocolate - $2
Budget Shortfall - $500 million
Proposed New City Taxes - $250 million
A one-time no-strings-attached donation - $160,000
49 Public Outdoor Ice Rinks Open as Scheduled - Priceless
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