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.