Springwater Sports Heritage

Founding Benefactor: The McGuire Trust

The Princess Rink

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 Sourced from the Minesing Tweedsmuir History, ‘A History of Vespra Township, Chairperson, Heather Smeding

On a morning early in November 1901, Harry Stokes called on Joseph Orchard, and suggested that it would be a good thing for the community and the young people to have a skating rink.  The idea seemed to be a good one, and shortly thereafter, Mr. Stokes, Mr. Orchard, Charles Foyston and Thomas McLean got together to plan the location and the financing of the project. 

Local farmers were approached, with the result that 20 men each agreed to advance $10, at 4 percent interest, repayable as the venture progressed, within ten years. 

A site was obtained from Andrew Ronald for a term of 99 years, at a nominal rent.  The only reservation that Mr. Ronald made was that no liquor be sold on the premises.  An agreement was drawn up by Samuel Jacobs in his home on the 10th Concession on December 7, 1901. 

The building, 120 feet by 40 feet, was framed and erected under the direction of the then well-known barn framer, Jesse Kester.  The timber was bought from William Fralick and the lumber and the shingles from Potters’s Mill.  Various bees were held, and the men of the community turned out in full force to help put up the new rink. 

Opening night was January 20, 1902.  The rink was always well attended, particularly so when bands from Minesing, Barrie, Craighurst or Stayner entertained with good skating music.  Skating evenings were limited to three nights a week, in order that attendance at church and other social events in the community would not suffer.

Income at the rink on skating nights was not great, as the tickets were sold at 10 cents each.  Each and every visiting band or hockey team was provided with a hot supper, at the close of their performance.

For some years, the proper lightning of the rink was a major problem for the management.  In 1904, a 1200-candle power gasoline lamp was installed and provided good light.  However, it happened once, that when this lamp was filled with on and a half gallons of gasoline and pumped full of air, it blew up!  Those in the rink at the time took their departure rapidly, but no real person, or property damage was done, other than to the lamp itself.

Until 1906, the rink was managed by the original four owners.  At that time, Mr. Stokes sold his interest to the remaining three.  Charles Foyston and Thomas McLean went to California in 1908 and management of the rink fell to Joseph Orchard until 1912, when he too, left the community.  Harry and Carlin Foyston had charge until 1938, when control passed back to Joseph Orchard.  In 1940, the building was sold to Free Parry, when it was found unsafe for further use and taken down.

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