For 5 or 6 years Bert and Marian VanVliet have assisted Marty in maintaining the rinks. Bert and Marian made the large ice rink this year. Marian reported that they felt the need for two rinks for there is “always kids playing hockey but some who don’t.” She enjoys every minute helping as they have a teenager at home who uses the rink.
As soon as he sees kids wanting to skate Marty shovels the snow to make a rink. He leaves out a shovel, snow scoop and a goal post or two to be used. Someone made a bench 5 or 6 years ago which Marty brings in every spring and takes out every winter so skaters and hockey players alike can use it. Marty tries to keep the ice smooth as long as he can but once it gets soft the children walk on it to see if it's okay to skate on. "Walking on the ice when it is not completely frozen prevents the ice from being smooth which makes it impossible to maintain." Every year is different for Marian to assist with the ice maintenance due to work etc. “But if the kids want to skate they can help shovel too.”
Growing up in Norwich Marty did not skate at the dam. Al Munro, local jeweller (his store is where Paul Wood's real estate office is now) magician, town clown and movie producer, had a rink at his house then located at the corner of Cook and Elgin Streets. Aside from maintaining the ice rinks, Marty also cleans up garbage around the park, in the water as well as along the 4 kilometers of trails in the woods. He also ensures the garbage bins get emptied by calling the Long Point Region Conservation Authority (L.P.R.C.A.). Last year L.P.R.C.A. came out with chain saws to clear the trails.
It appears that Marty Hahn is the Keeper of the Dam and the trails at the Norwich Conservation Area. Hail to him and to Bert and Marian VanVliet for maintaining the ice rinks on the Norwich Dam to allow residents to continue to skate and play hockey.
Gallery of photos from the ice rinks on the Norwich Dam.