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Showing posts from January, 2012

Great Skate #5 - Dieppe Park

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Laurel and my two oldest nieces were game to go skating today (January 28) so we headed to Dieppe Park, on Cosburn Avenue near Coxwell, in the late afternoon.

Dieppe Park is a double rink, with one half reserved for shinny players. It has all the basics - lockers, washrooms, indoor change area - but no frills. Most of the skaters with us today were parents and small children.

Princess Spaghetti Legs has found her stride and now wishes to be called Princess Skater Girl. Her sister, Three-and-a-Half, is also keeping her balance nicely now. Both of them trot along on their skates at a good pace, but they get nervous if there isn't a grownup within arms' reach.
Working On Our Skating Skills It's interesting to realize what you take for granted when you know how to skate. We're working on the girl's gliding technique - keeping your balance while stepping on your skates is not the same thing as keeping it while momentum propels you forward. Another skill is knowing how to…

Back to the Brickworks

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I was almost recovered from Great Skate #4 when I went back to the Brickworks rink on Sunday, January 22. (My first visit the Brickworks skating rink was Great Skate #3.)

When you think about, recreational skating is an odd activity. People of all ages go around in circles, in a confined area, in the cold - and they have fun doing it. Sure, people run on tracks, but you don't often hear a lot of laughter and chatter when you pass a running track. There's a sense of play on a public skating rink, combined with a steady movement in one direction, that you don't find in other sports.

When I got there, friends Csilla and Barry were already on the ice with their two children. Their daughter,  age 7, is already an excellent skater - it was hard to keep up with her! Their son, who is not quite 4, is also very steady on his skates. This family is also very keen on skiing, which probably contributes to the children's skill and endurance. Csilla says part of the trick is to bols…

Great Skate #4 - Mel Lastman Square

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Skating burns approximately 500 calories an hour.

The rate varies of course, depending on your size, sex and speed. But if you're an "average" woman, the rate is somewhere between 425 and 515 calories an hour.
Which was a good thing on January 21st, when Cathy, Nicole, Gilles and I hit the rink at Mel Lastman Square after enjoying a massive brunch at Cathy's house. I'm not sure we burned off all the calories from the croissants, cheese scones, "special" eggs and other yummy things we enjoyed, but we made a good attempt.
Mel Lastman Square will probably be the most northerly rink the Great Skate visits in Toronto. It's a long TTC ride from the Beaches, but it's very nice once you get there. During the warmer months, the rink is a reflecting pool in the square. It's ringed by benches, and there are lockers and washrooms in the civic building a few steps away.
There was a real mix of ages and skating abilities while we were there, and everyone s…

Great Skate #3 - Brickworks Skating Trail

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Sunday, January 15 was a cold, sunny day - the perfect day for skating.

The Brickworks rink comes up a lot when I tell people about Great Skate 2012. It seems that if any skating enthusiasts haven't been there yet, they want to go. And if they have been there, then they want to go back.

The Brickworks is a "community environment centre" just off Pottery Road in the Don Valley, run by the Evergreen charity. I've been to its farmers' market and hiking trail in warmer weather. This was my first time at the rink. My friends Lauralee and Michael came to keep me company.

Getting there is a bit challenging. If you haven't got a car, and it's too cold for cycling, then the best bet is the free shuttle bus that stops next to Broadview subway station. But the shuttle bus promotion could do with a boost. There was decent information about it on the Brickworks website, but only a small portable sign at the bus stop. And the shuttle itself is just a plain white miniva…

Great Skate #2 - Riverdale Park East

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Great Skate #2 was supposed to be at Withrow Park, except I didn't read the schedule properly and showed up just in time for a shinny hockey session.

On the plus side, it actually felt like a winter day in January, rather than a wet day in March.

My fellow Great Skaters - the intrepid Cathy and H, my brother-in-law Bill and his two oldest girls - were very understanding. We put Plan B into effect and headed a few blocks east to Riverdale Park East. (Thanks for giving me a lift, Cathy. It would have been a long schlep otherwise.)

The Riverdale rink is an outdoor hockey pad, a flight of stairs down from Broadview Avenue, just south of the Danforth. It has large indoor changing room, washrooms and lockers. I don't know if this was typical, but it wasn't as busy as I thought it would be.

One of the best features of this rink is the great view of the downtown skyline, which is particularly spectacular as the sun sets. It's also an excellent vantage point for admiring the ne…

Great Skate #1 - Barbara Ann Scott Rink

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Good grief, January 1st already seems like months ago, not just a few weeks....

Great Skate 2012 launched on New Year's Day. In the rain. It's going to be that kind of winter, I think.
The rink was the Barbara Ann Scott Rink in downtown Toronto. Or, as most people know it, "the rink behind College Park." The CityRinks site calls it the "poor sad orphan rink" because the new condo tower being built next door doesn't name it in their sales pitch.*
I've skated there before, and there's lots of good things about it. There's an indoor area where you can change your skates and rent a locker for your stuff. The rink is round, with benches in the middle, which is a nice change from rectangular hockey rinks. It's near a Tim Horton's, for those who need hot chocolate after skating. And it's usually not very crowded.
Of course, on New Year's Day, just after the rain stopped, it was not crowded at all.
Cathy and H were intrepid enough to …

Great Skate 2012 is underway!

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In December, the month of January holds the promise of a clean start and an empty calendar. When holiday preparations, busy social schedules and looming year-end work deadlines are making me tense, I can't wait for the new year to start. In January, I think, I'll be happy to have nothing pressing to do, no special plans to make.

Then, on or about January 5th, I start to get stir crazy from boredom.

So this year I decided to build some fun into January, with the Great Skate 2012 project. It's simple: every weekend I'll skate at a different outdoor rink. And, if I'm lucky, friends and family will join me so I won't be that strange woman going around in circles by herself.

As I write this, it's been 3 weeks and 3 rinks for the Great Skate. All the thrilling details - The rink that was almost rained out! The rink where I got the schedule wrong and showed up just in time for shinny hockey! - will be posted soon.

(And I should mention that the reason for the Grea…