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Runaway Zamboni in Burlington ‘most Canadian thing ever’

Ajay Henderson came across this Zamboni on the side of New Cheverie Road, Centre Burlington, early Monday morning.
Ajay Henderson came across this Zamboni on the side of New Cheverie Road, Centre Burlington, early Monday morning.

Ajay Henderson called his early Monday morning encounter with a runaway Zamboni the most Canadian thing he’ll ever see.

He came upon the random spectacle at about 5 a.m., roughly 22 kilometres away from Windsor, the birthplace of hockey.

Henderson, a GFL Environmental employee, was in the midst of his compost collection run in Lower Burlington when he spotted the Zamboni in a ditch bordering a hay field on New Cheverie Road.

“It made my day so I had to take a picture of it,” Henderson recalled. “You’re in the country, not a hockey rink in sight and there’s a Zamboni in the ditch. It’s so random.

“With my job you get to see things before anyone else ever does. That was one of those things. I’m probably not going to see that ever again anywhere else.”

Henderson posted the picture on Facebook and within a couple of hours the image had been shared more than 150 times.

No one, including Henderson, could figure out exactly how it got there. But Henderson recalled seeing the Zamboni in a nearby yard. He figured there were only two possibilities: someone had taken it for a joy ride or heavy winds from the previous night’s rainstorm were to blame.

Turns out it was the latter.

Owner Jake Ross had the Zamboni decorated and displayed in his yard for Christmas. A few days ago he moved it but forgot to put the machine in park.

Along came the winds on Sunday that pushed the Zamboni about 152 metres down through his hayfield and into the ditch.

“I was backing out the driveway this morning and I looked to my left and thought there’s no way that’s my Zamboni,” recalled Ross with a laugh. “But sure enough it was, right square in the ditch.”

He gets why the spectacle has garnered a few laughs, much the same as the feedback he got after decorating it for Christmas.

The Zamboni hadn’t followed a straight line. It had been parked parallel to New Cheverie Road but ended up turning on a right angle and bee-lining it for the rural artery.

A lifelong area resident, Ross had purchased what was the Windsor Exhibition Arena’s old Zamboni three years ago at a town surplus sale for $300.

“How many times would you get an opportunity to buy a Zamboni, right?

“It’s still fully operational. It’s a four-wheel drive. So I might put a plow on it. It’s kind of cool to have.”

Ross planned to haul the Zamboni out of the ditch Monday evening.

“Hopefully the ground freezes up a little,” said Ross. “That’s a pain in the butt but it’s good that it got a few laughs on a Monday morning.”

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