Parliament Hill skating rink to stay open until end of February

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Sens alumni to hit the ice on Parliament Hill

Within a day of criticisms that the $5.6-million skating rink being installed on the front lawn of Parliament Hill would be open for only a few weeks, Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly announced Thursday afternoon that the rink will remain through Winterlude 2018.

The NHL-sized rink was originally planned to be open only from Dec. 7 to Dec. 31, but will now be open until the end of February.

Joly said in a tweet that extending the rink's closing date will allow more Canadians to take advantage of a unique chance to skate on Parliament Hill.

However, the minister couldn't say how much more it would cost to keep the rink open an additional two months.

Outside of organized events, no hockey sticks will be allowed on the ice. Cell phones are also banned.

Activities on the rink will include public skating, minor hockey games and ice sport demonstrations, according to the Canada 150 Rink website. Most events on the rink will be free and open to the public.