Great Skate #29: Dufferin Grove Park

On Sunday, February 7, I finally got around to skating at Dufferin Grove Park, a rink that has been on my "must skate" list since the Great Skate Project began. My sister and my nieces joined me, and also my brother, who was testing his skating legs for the first time in more than 20 years.

Two generations of siblings, all on skates.
Dufferin Grove is a park in Toronto's west end known for its strong community involvement. The skating facilities reflect this. The rink itself is a typical double-pad rink surrounded by a chain-link fence, but its "clubhouse" has real personality. The usual lockers-and-benches decor is augmented with mismatched chairs and tables, shelves of board games, and a wood stove. You can buy hot chocolate, hot dogs and other treats at the snack bar. A huge map of the neighbourhood is painted on one wall, while other walls are decorated with archival photos of the rink and posters of local events. There is also a skate rental booth ($2 per pair).

While we were there, both rinks were open for pleasure skating, with a gates connecting the rinks at each end so you could do one big loop. Nearby, a campfire was burning just a short trudge away, tended by some people from the neighbourhood. (I think they were preparing for a skating party later that afternoon.)

It's a very charming rink, and we had a lot of fun skating.

My brother and Just-Turned-Five,
who has been skating more than
he has in the past five years.
My brother did surprising well, although his skills were just about matched by my Just-Turned-Five niece. My other nieces, Six and Eight, are much stronger skaters this winter and enjoyed doing laps on their own.

My sister appreciated being able to skate without needing to prop up a small skater - stretching your legs and straightening your back makes skating a lot easier!



Six and Eight, pausing in their laps
to clown for the camera.

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