Community on ice
Photographer Tobi Asmoucha, a Vancouverite transplanted to Toronto, could never quite appreciate the beauty of Ontario's harsh winters. She turned her lens to the city's ice rinks in effort to understand the appeal of the season and was pleased to discover not only stunning landscapes, but also a sense of community. 'I've witnessed kindness and connection on the ice, as well as solitary moments of calm in the fresh winter air. For me, these rinks reflect a bit of what it means to be Canadian.'
I began photographing ice rinks as an effort to try and appreciate winter. As a Vancouverite transplanted to Toronto, the harsh Ontario winters felt foreign to me even after many years. This project started out as a way to embrace life and beauty in winter, but what I found, was a sense of community and a discovery of neighbourhoods.
Originally I photographed city made outdoor rinks, but when I found natural ice rinks, I saw the magic I was looking for. They were places without structured schedules, where meetings would occur more organically, the rinks were constantly shifting with the weather and people making them. My attraction to natural ice rinks also stems from the fleeting nature of these neighbourhood forums, which are created and maintained with much effort. These ice spaces reflect the people who use them, while they also build connections within in a neighbourhood. I was interested in documenting the everyday rituals that give meaning and character to a community. I was also interested in exploring the spaces and landscapes created by the natural rinks of flooded parks, to the small rinks people create in their own backyards
I've witnessed kindness and connection on the ice, as well as solitary moments of calm in the fresh winter air. For me, these rinks reflect a bit of what it means to be Canadian. These spaces also gave me a sense of quiet peace that becomes unleashed while gliding on ice. Although only my daughter's skating abilities improve while making this series (I'm a better photographer off skates), I was caught up with the splendor of those gliding around me.While this project started as a need to try and enjoy winter, it has left me with an appreciation of the unique ice playfields around Toronto created by the warmth of people working together.