Website helps skaters find outdoor rinks in good condition

PatinerMontreal.ca displays a map of all public outdoor rinks on the island of Montreal, as well as some in Laval and parts of the South Shore.



Looking for something to do on a cold and wintry day? Why not take the kids to try out a new-to-you outdoor skating rink?

PatinerMontreal.ca is a resource for families to discover outdoor skating rinks in the city. The website displays a map of all public outdoor rinks on the island of Montreal, as well as some in Laval and parts of the South Shore.

According to Jonathan Brun, who was among the volunteers who helped build the site seven years ago, skating outside is an essential Montreal winter experience that improves quality of life by bringing people together. 

“We want to encourage people to get away from Netflix and go skate with their family or friends,” Brun said. “The rinks are hubs for communities. It’s much better if kids and adults are outdoors playing hockey or skating rather than sitting at home on their iPhones.”

Brun said Patiner Montreal was initially built as a demonstration site to persuade the city of Montreal to move forward with an open data policy, which ensures information is published in a format that makes it easier for citizens to access information from several different sources — like the condition of rinks across various Montreal boroughs.

When information is shared online in PDF documents, as many boroughs do, it can be hard to search for and almost impossible to integrate into apps or websites. “The information was spread across different websites, in different formats, and it wasn’t easy to find before,” Brun said. “We wanted to make it easier to find out which rinks are in good condition and when you should go play hockey or skate.”

Because the site relies on information provided by municipalities or boroughs, it doesn’t have detailed information on the status of every rink. The colour-coded map displays a grey tag for rinks that are closed or when the status of the ice is unknown, and green tags for rinks that are confirmed to be open for skating.

Patiner Montreal is a volunteer-run initiative that makes no money, said Brun, but he continues to work on it to encourage more people to enjoy municipal rinks.  “I play hockey outside too, so it is also a personal pet project,” he said.  

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