Peterborough couple build backyard curling rink, will host charity event

Backyard hockey and skating rinks are as commonplace as corner coffee shops here in Canada but backyard curling rinks are a little more unusual.

While living in Toronto for a decade, Aaron and Alix Kempf never had a backyard to enjoy and so when they moved to Peterborough recently, it meant they could enjoy some more time outside. Aaron admittedly said he can’t really skate and so a curling rink was a natural alternative in his mind.

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Aaron gathered some materials necessary like some wood and screws and garden hose, and found the rest of the material he needed from a discount dollar store and went to work one weekend.

“It’s got a one by 1×4 frame, it’s not square really at all. I just kind of eyeballed it and put a few screws in here and there,” said Kempf.

Once mother nature co-operated and brought some cooler weather, he was able to begin flooding the rink and slowly build up the ice surface.

Kempf cut out blue and red circles from tablecloths make up the rings and for the rocks, they were crafted from metal dollar store salad bowls filled with concrete with a handle attached and from there it was game on.

“We play for as long as we feel like standing out here, depending on how cold it is,” said Kempf. “Next year, I might even fashion a scoreboard but we haven’t even got that far yet.”

Kempf’s wife Alix has the magic touch when it comes to throwing some of the rocks and says the rink has been a real conversation piece in the neighbourhod and online.

“When we put the post up on social media, people were so excited, which was kind of exciting, I guess,” she said.

With all the excitement surrounding the rink, the family is now planning to host a charity bonspiel to coincide with National Curling Day which takes place on February 23rd and everyone is invited.

“We were hoping to have friends and family over anyways to use it and so we thought why not make it a charity fundraiser and do something good for the community.”

Alix is a board member with the Greater Peterborough Health Services Foundation and says the charity curling tournament will benefit the Your Family Health Team Foundation, as she sees the good work the organization does in the community.

The Kempf family is looking for sponsors to help get behind the event and says everyone is welcome to come and try their hand at backyard curling. They will host the open house at their backyard curling rink at 192 Aylmer Street North on February 23rd.

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