Showing posts from 2016

Any Chance to Skate is a Great Skate

Things don’t always work out like you planned. My Great Skate Project was like that this winter. Somehow it has gotten to be April and I haven’t skated at any new rinks since January. Blame the unseasonable weather, busy schedules and head colds.
I think the last time I went skating was at the end of February. My youngest niece, now Six, celebrated her birthday with a skating party at Greenwood Park. It turned out to be one of the warmest days of the winter. With the sun pouring down, and temperatures rising to t-shirt weather, the ice surface got mushier and mushier. Only a small patch, protected by shade, was open. It hardly seemed worth the bother of putting on skates.
And yet, that small patch was full of skaters. Shedding their winter coats, giggling as they dodged the puddles, they skated on every possible inch of that patch of ice. (Have you ever seen a picture of ducks swimming in a stretch of open water in an otherwise frozen pond? The situation on the rink that day was the opp…

Great Skate #37: Cedarvale Park Rink

After finishing my Great Skate #36 and enjoying a sustaining slice of pizza from a nearby trattoria on St. Clair Avenue, I was ready for more skating. Why not check another rink off my list before heading home?

Cedarvale Park Rink looked reasonably close on my map. Just a few streetcar stops, and then a walk along Arlington and I'd be there.

Well, the streetcar part was easy. I underestimated the distance along Arlington though, and ended up trudging uphill for many blocks before finally reaching Cedarvale Rink, which is tucked in behind the Phil White Arena.

When I arrived, the Zamboni was cleaning the ice, looking heroic under a stunning full moon. (My smartphone camera doesn't do it justice.)

Skating on a freshly resurfaced rink on a cold evening is extremely satisfying.

Cedarvale Rink has the nicest changerooms I've seen so far. They look like they were designed by Ikea.

Great Skate #36: Giovanni Caboto Rink

Saturday, January 23 was sunny and cold, and I set out to add at least one new Great Skate to my rink. I travelled by bus, subway and streetcar to the Giovanni Caboto Rink on St. Clair Avenue West. It was late afternoon when I arrived, and by the time I left, the setting sun was making the skaters squint every time they turned westward.

The rink is on the edge of Earlscourt Park, and it has two ice surfaces: a shinny pad and a pleasures-skating rink. The facilities are functional, but not beautiful. There is an indoor changeroom with lockers.

Like all city rinks, there was a mix of ages and skating abilities on the ice. I overhead many of the phrases that can be heard at almost every rink:

Are your skates tight enough?
Just try to stand up by yourself.
I can't remember the last time I did this.
Good job, you're skating really well.
Watch me try this.
I don't know how to stop.
I'm cold.
Do you need help with your laces?
Oh no, I'm falling!
I don't want to go home.

Great Skate #35: Otter Creek Centre

My Great Skate Project is simple: Try to skate on a different outdoor rink each week, and encourage as many friends and family members to join me as possible. 

I began this project in January 2012 as a way to make the cold months pass more enjoyably. Now, five years later (!), I'm still at it. It has been a fun way to get fresh air and exercise, and to explore different parks and neighbourhoods.

On January 1, 2016 my friend Cathy joined me for Great Skate #35 at the Otter Creek Centre rink. It's a very typical Toronto rink with heated change rooms (with washrooms) and two ice surfaces (for pleasure skating and shinny). It's not pretty, but it gets the job done. There were lots of people skating. I didn't see any otters. 
Cathy and I spent a pleasant hour of going around in circles in the cold, and catching up on our lives. She has been a enthusiastic participant in many Great Skates (including Great Skate #1). Thanks for being such a fan of my goofy project, Cathy!