Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Whitters await in Fredericton

I wasn't sure if I should title this photo" "My Peeps Await".

I knew the Whitters' were sincere in their inviting me to skate with them in Fredericton. Check out their own personal rink. The Canandian back yard special. This is the type of rink I learned to skate on, and it reminds me of why I enjoy skating. Hopefully I will get to skate with them in March.

I am happy to hear that my trip is coinciding with Lauren's lessons on Provincial Capitals. Now I have to ensure that my information is accurate, I wouldn't want her to have the wrong answer from my blog. Thanks for coming along Lauren.

See you in Fredericton.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Skating at The Forks in Winnipeg

Well! Is this the place to skate in January!

The Forks is an expanse of riverside property in the heart of downtown Winnipeg. It is at the junction of the Assiniboine and (the mighty) Red rivers.

I arrived here at sunrise from Regina and found my way downtown to "The Forks" There is a market building which has a few restaurants and shops and a change room, locker room and skate rental area.

Directly outside is a circular rink at the top of The Forks, with skate mats toward the river and to the walkway around the Forks. At this time of year the walkway is flooded and it is a skateway.

I made my way down about 5 flights of stairs to The Forks. On my left was the Red river and I chose the one on the right, the Assiniboine. I skated down toward the Legislature and turned back after about 30 minutes so I would have the energy to manoeuver those stairs again.

Along the river, about every 100 meters there are ice pillars with a replica of the Olympic torch inside. (It must have been pretty spectacular seeing the Olympic torch coming up the river.) Also, about every 300 meters there are warming shacks, which have benches and an open side facing the sun. It was lovely and sunny when I was there and I enjoyed the rest and the warmth of the sun.

It was just a perfect day for skating. It was only about 1 degree and the sun was out with hardly any wind. Someone told me they have about 16 kilometers of the rivers cleared for skating and that they just opened the skating on the river in the past 10 days. They are boastful of the fact that they have more kilometers than the Rideau Canal, which just opened this week.

I had a wonderful time and there were lots of skaters. People skating to work, friends out for the day, families and even a pick up hockey game. We were all enjoying the mild weather. I had rented a locker, so I was not carrying my boots and things, and I had to go back back to where I got on the ice.

In the afternoon I went to visit the Legislature. My swimming friend, Barbara said there is a portrait of her uncle in there as he was the Whip for a few years. I thought I would surprise her with a photo of him. There are no scheduled tours at this time of year, but they did give me a pass and told me where everything was. Fortunately, the security people told me that the Whip is The Speaker and they directed me to that gallery. It is really an impressive building and sure enough, I got the photo of James H. Bilton, Speaker of the House from 1966 - 1969.

The Legislature is a very impressive building, with a statue of Homer,(Golden Boy) on its dome, and inside the grand staircase is flanked by bronze bison. The building is in the shape of an `H`, and is along Main Street and Lakeshore Road. It is on the Assiniboine river about 3 kilometers from the Forks.

The next morning I checked out the skateway, which is the winter version of the walkway of The Forks. Obviously some people use it to skate to work, but it was too quiet for my comfort, and I was leaving at 11 a.m. anyway.

I am now home and I am taking a break in Florida for a month. If all goes well, I will carry on with my skate in March.

I have included a photo of my niece`s children who are waiting for me to skate in Fredericton. In March I will continue after a brief sojourn in Florida.

See you later.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Regina, Saskatchewan

Well it was a balmy 3 degrees in Regina on January 12, 2010. Coming in on the plane it is so flat and being so high up I thought I could see for miles and miles. Some of the snow fences looked like they were blue, instead of that burnt orange colour that I am familiar with. I wondered if the reflection of the sun and the shadows made them look blue? I couldn't be sure.

I went out to Wascana Park to skate. It is directly across the Lake from the Legislature and you can see its dome in the photo I posted. They have a small marina in the summertime and in in winter they make a circular rink at the edge of the park. The trees that are cut as park maintenance are stored around the circle and after it snows they pile the snow on top of the trees and that makes a nice bank around the rink. In spring when it all melts they discard the trees, and it becomes a marina again.

Near the rink they have a lookout pier which is over the lake and directly opposite Trafalgar Square (Legislature property). The lake is not entirely frozen yet and you can see ducks swimming in the open pools of water.

After skating I enjoyed dinner at the Willow on Wascana and I chose the "Diefenbaker" trout. The menu is dedicated to local meat, fish and produce.
I thought I could take in all of what Saskatchewan had to offer.

My hotel was downtown across from Victoria Park with a small skating rink across from it. Since I had filled my skating quota for the day I didn`t take advantage of it.

I had a great day, it was so nice and sunny and there was no wind and perfect for skating.

Next stop, Winnipeg See you there.