Great Skate #2 - Riverdale Park East

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 new Bridgepoint Hospital at the south end of the park.

Princess Spaghetti Legs is the one with a crown.
I think this was only the second time my nieces had been skating. They got new skates for Christmas and were very excited.

Do you remember learning how to skate? Have you ever taught anyone to skate? Either way, it's a steep learning curve. "Princess Spaghetti Legs" was Cathy's nickname for my 5-year-old niece, who was having a blast but was hanging onto our arms like a drowning person. Meanwhile, H was doing nice, steady laps around the rink. How would the floppy 5-year-old ever learn to do that?

The trick, I learned from Bill, was to be a tough coach and to let the kids learn to find their balance by falling. In the kindest, gentlest possible way of course. He soon had the 3.5-year-old (the "and a half" is very important to her) trotting along by his side, not very floppy at all.

So we switched kids. Under Bill's coaching, Princess Spaghetti Legs found her balance. And her aunt's lower back was very grateful!



Update: Riverdale rink was renovated in 2017. Read about Great Skate #46 to see how it turned out.

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