Fort Albany First Nation


Capital Grant

Parent ice skating with two children.

Long winters on the James Bay coast restricted physical activity. A new outdoor skating rink is bringing people together and helping them get more exercise.

Award timeline

2016-2017 (12 months)

Age group

All age groups


Algoma, Cochrane, Manitoulin & Sudbury

Community size


Population served



Health studies show that 68% of James Bay Cree are overweight and at high risk for diabetes. Only 26% report doing enough activity to stay healthy. The long, cold winters on the James Bay coast make outdoor exercise difficult, and there was a lack of accessible indoor facilities for people in the community. The only space was the school gymnasium, with limited access for the community.


Selected Grant Result: Infrastructure is accessible and available for physical activity.

Fort Albany First Nation built a new outdoor skating rink in Fort Albany to help people get more exercise. The new rink is accessible for the whole community.

Community impact

The new rink is used for both family and friend skates, as well as organized events such as hockey tournaments.

  • 9106 sq feet of space renovated
  • Benefits 800 people in the community
  • Volunteers contributed 30 hours to the project

The new rink brings families and groups of friends together to skate and exercise.

Fort Albany First Nation is a Cree First Nation reserve on the southern shore of the Albany River. With studies showing that only 26% of people in the community did enough exercise to stay healthy, the Nation decided to build a new space to get the community of 800 people moving.

The very long winters on the James Bay coast in Northeastern Ontario, coupled with a lack of accessible community facilities for physical activity, contributed to 68% of James Bay Cree being overweight and at high risk for diabetes.

Physical activity is essential to overall health and wellbeing. One of the barriers to taking part in physical activity is lack of access to suitable facilities. A more accessible space was a key aim of the project. The only place providing people with opportunities to take part in physical activity was the school gymnasium, which wasn't always available to the broader community.

With the help of a $149,800 Capital Grant from OTF, the Nation built an outdoor skating rink—accessible for the whole community. The new rink brings families and groups of friends of all ages together to skate and exercise. Hockey teams now have a place to practice, instead of using homemade rinks in backyards, and hockey tournaments bring the whole community together during the long winters.

A Man in a wheelchair enjoying time outdoors.

Capital grants

OTF supports projects that provide people with suitable, accessible, and well-equipped buildings and spaces.

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