Great Skate #1 - Barbara Ann Scott Rink

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 come out and keep me company. Which I was very glad about. Skating around by yourself in a crowd of other pleasure skaters is OK. Skating around by yourself on an empty rink when it's threatening to pour rain is another thing entirely. So thanks, Cathy and H!

I also had not factored in the holiday schedule, which meant that the rink was unstaffed on January 1st and the indoor change area was locked. And since the outdoor benches were soaking wet, we had to perch on the edge of a step to change into our skates.

But once we got on the ice, it was OK. The artificial ice was solid and very smooth - although it was under about an inch of rainwater, with a deeper puddle on the east side of the rink. The three of us had the rink to ourselves. It was so nice to go in any direction you wanted, and not have to worry about 3-foot-tall hockey demons cutting you off.

We last about an hour (I think) and then headed to nearby Fran's for french fries. All in all, not a bad way to start the year.

To close off, here's a link about Barbara Ann Scott. I don't know much about her except that she was a Canadian Olympic medallist in figure skating. Also, my mum once had a Barbara Scott doll that had a skating dress knitted (if I have the story right) by mum's grandma. The doll is long gone, but the skating dress is in surprisingly good shape and is now being modelled by my niece's baby doll.
The figure skating world has nothing to worry about from me.

* Update: Actually, CityRinks calls this rink a sad orphan because it's been badly neglected over the years. The CityRinks website is run by the Centre for Local Research into Public Space, (aka CELOS), a small non-profit that works in the area of public urban space. Many thanks to Jutta at CELOS for clarifying this for me.

More Great Skates

See my Great Skates So Far page for an alphabetical list of the outdoor rinks I have visited.


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