Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Skating at home in Toronto

Home after covering 30,000 kilometres and skating in all of the Provincial Capital cities and the Rideau Canal in Ottawa.
This final photo is at home skating at Harbourfront. Of the 51 outdoor rinks in Toronto, this is my favourite. It is right on the harbour at the foot of York Street, has music playing all the time and because it has artificial ice it is open longer than a lot of the other rinks.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog and thanks for coming along.

Skating at the Mile One Arena in St. John's

I was interviewed at Mile One Arena during the lunch time skate and I have attached a copy of the resulting article in The Telegram, of February 22, 2011.

To read the article, left click on the image and click again to expand it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ottawa, Canada

February 23, 2011 Wednesday

Well, I made it! The National Capital and on the heels of St. John's skate. I was still on a high from my trip to Newfoundland and was anxious to get to the Rideau Canal this year, as my original goal was for a 12 month cross Canada skate, but because of the mild winter last year it has taken me 15 months all told.

What a great day I had for skating, although I arrived the night before I only walked on the Canal with my boots as it was dark, and I am not that confident skating at night. On Wednesday morning early, I could see the cleaners were on the Canal so off I went.

I was hesitant to ask anyone skating to work to stop and take my photo for me, so I did preface it with a "would you have time?" It was a great day for skating, nice and cold for good ice and lovely and sunny and clear, great for photos. There were soon lots of people on the ice, commuters more obvious than others. Someone said that the Canal is 8 kms long and I was telling them about The Forks and they said that the iceway is longer in Winnipeg, but not so wide as Ottawa.

My only comment is that each city has an outdoor rink, yes, even Halifax this year and they each have a unique quality. The fun part was when I was in the arena in St. John's, and they announced the changing of the direction (go counterclockwise, please) on the loudspeakers, whereas in Quebec City, it is understood and not announced. I didn't get it and a few people pleaded with me "Madame, Madame, you must turn!", and then I understood that I should skate in the opposite direction (go with the flow you know).

The thing about ice skating is that every Canadian can relate to it, and when I talk of a backyard rink, lots of people my age learned that way too. I am sure the youngest skater I encountered was at home at Dieppe Park in Toronto. I asked his father if he ever tried bobskates? He said he bought him the one blade kind just this year, and he was 3 years old!

I want to thank you all for coming along on my blog and if you ever get the chance to travel in the winter in Canada take your skates!! (also take shinpads for your elbows and knees, especially if they are not really your own). A special thanks to Dr. Nizar Mahomed who gave me the knees to do it.

I will keep the blog open in case I get a sponsorship to skate in the Territories, or the Yukon. Or I may do Rockerfeller Centre in New York city or even The Eiffel Tower in Paris. Who knows where my skates will take me?

My last photo will be of me at home on the rink at Harbourfront, Toronto.

See you later!

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

February 21, 2011
Skating at Mile One Arena, and with my oldest friend Cathy,
at The Cassels' backyard rink in CBS (Conception Bay south) and at Signal Hill, overlooking Cape Spear and The Narrows

Well, it is only because of the weather that St. John's was my tenth provincial skate.
On arrival at midnight my cab driver cautioned me "you must watch your step since it is St. John's and there is some of the North Atlantic on every doorstep." They had been having a nice mild winter and it looked like an outdoor rink was not going to be available. Of all the pond skating that is often available in late February, there were none safe enough to try skating on this year.
Good Luck followed me on this leg, as I had a CBC Radio 1, St. John's interview (at 7:15 a.m.) and the on air request for an outdoor rink was granted by the Cassell family in St. John's, (CBC south, i.e. Conception Bay South). Mrs. Cassell responded immediately and we arranged for an after work skate at their home.
You can listen in at: for the audio interview Feb. 21, 2011 at 7:15 a.m.
and for the follow up on their web site Feb. 25, 2011.
Meanwhile The Telegram wanted to interview me at the Mile One Arena. The arena has a lunch time skate scheduled and it helps some office workers get their exercise in and others clearly enjoying a skate. A few of them heard me on the radio in the morning, so they wanted to make sure I did get a backyard rink. It is always more pleasant skating to some music and the regulars told me that you can buy a skating pass, and they also sell a parking pass for the skaters.
My friend, Cathy took the day off to make sure I got to Signal Hill, Cape Spear, The Battery (with all the colourful homes in the rock), and the Village of Quidi Vidi. Her daughter cooked us a jiggs dinner; yes, peas pudding included and her son in law complemented me with two CD's of his bass playing with "Shanneyganock" (a well know Newfoundland group), and they all made sure I got screeched in that night.
What a wonderful place, it is so colourful here and the people really are the friendliest and they know that you are "from away".
My photographs in St. John's are not that good, but in my minds eye!!! unforgettable.

It has been quite a ride, and loads of fun ice skating in the Provincial capitals and now that I am on my last city, I am somewhat sorry it is coming to an end. I have met some wonderful people and I do regret not recording the names of those photographers, usually complete strangers and each one saying what a great idea to ice skate outdoors in the capital cities of all the Canadian Provinces, and they wished they could come along. And a lot of you did come along on my blog, thanks a lot for joining me and I'll see you in Ottawa.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fredericton, New Brunswick

Skating at Officer's Square in Fredericton on January 28, 2011. Access to the rink is from the change room down a slight incline past the statue of Lord Beaverbrook to the rink. And Yes, it is a slight incline up past the statue to get off the ice.

The square is really nice, it is right downtown and on the water too.

We had a nice, sunny warm day. My nephew did not bring his skates but did get on the ice for a photo. Kirk is a student of St. Thomas University in Fredericton.

And the Whitters', don't they look great! Heather got off work a little early and picked up the kids, Scott, Lauren and John. They brought their pleasure skating skates (not their good hockey skates), (who knew?). We had a great time downtown, the ice was nice and smooth and I was practising so as not to fall on their backyard ice. (see next blog)

I was just thrilled they made time to come and skate with me.

This is my third time with these photos, third time lucky I guess! I have also included a photo of me and family friend Tim who came in from Grand Lake to make sure we made it. And I put in the photo of Roger taking our photo because I cannot image kneeling on skates and balancing a camera, I am still excited that I can skate on these knees. I get so excited when I am in full skating mode that nothing is going to happen and I just love it.

After this we went over to the Whitters', for the true Canadian experience, the backyard rink!

See you later!

Fredericton, New Brunswick

Well, I am going to try and do a better job of it this morning and post some more photos too. Those Fredericton followers are so patient in waiting for my arrival and it was anticipated last winter, so dear ol' dad had to make the backyard rink again this year. Although I suspect it was not just for me.
Yes, I got in the backyard special in Fredericton at the Whitters'arena. It is a lovely rink, nice smooth ice and you know it is at least half the size of the rink at Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C.. So here are some photos of skating at home in Fredericton.
Remember the last photo in last years blog is the Whitters' await, well, look what a year has done. the ice looks the same, but they are definitely a year older.
Again thanks for coming along, nine down one to go.
See you in St. John's!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fredericton, New Brunswick

January 28, 2011 was a beautiful clear, sunny day. My Mom and I enjoyed the drive to Fredericton from Miramichi. We were meeting my skating pals at Officer's Square downtown at 2:30.
You couldn't have asked for a better skating day.

Officer's Square is on the Saint John river and they have a nice new change room and the ice was perfect. You come out of the change room and skate down a ramp (lots of fun there trying to stay upright) around the statute of Lord Beaverbrook (for whom many ice rinks in the province are named) and on to a large square rink. Of course afterwards you skate up the ramp to the change room (again lots of fun staying upright).

Well, this was the best skate ever! As I have said in previous blogs, I skate much better with an audience. (I don't want to fall, nor do I want to fall in front of witnesses). Well, we had a big crowd. My Mom sat on the edge of the ice, our friend Tim was the designated photographer, my brother in law, Roger and his daughter Heather and her three kids, John, Lauren and Scott Whitters. My nephew, a student at St. Thomas University also dropped by. Of course the hit was the Whitters, they patiently waited and followed my blog all last year hoping I would add their personal rink to the list.

Finally the day had arrived and we had a lot of fun at the rink, followed up with a skate on their very own back yard ice. It too was nice ice and it was pretty big, I thought it was at least half the size of the Butchart Gardens ice. They all have skates for pleasure skating and good skates for hockey. Of course they all play hockey, yes, even Lauren.

I hope I get now to publish the photos of both rinks, so you can see how great it is. By the way, Officer's Square has a webcam and you can see it for yourself. Today it is busy too. The day we were there was just after a snowstorm and the webcam was not too clear.

Nine down one to go!! St. John's here I come!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 my sister Eileen and I drove from the Moncton airport to Charlottetown. The staff at PEI parks only flooded the ice on the 24th as they had been waiting for some consistent cold weather to freeze the water. Founders Hall was not yet open but it was accessible. It was very cold, but in the lee of the buildings it was fine. The ice was still rough and I found myself very unsteady and my sister wasn't much help, but she did manage to get some photos for me. The ice was probably just perfect for opening day on the 29th.

Founders Hall is down on the water and the rink is a beautiful large circle with a visitor building on the edge which provided a nice windbreak. The Legislature is just up the street. Since the rink was not officially open we had the ice to ourselves and thankfully there were no witnesses to our seriously flawed manoevures.

I thought I should put in a few photos of the Confederation building, since it is more reminiscent of Charlottetown unlike the new Founder's Hall.

We didn't stay long as we wanted to avoid driving in the night.

Onward to Fredericton!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Skating in Halifax

Back on my skates!!!

Well, I got to Halifax last week. I received two emails about their new Canada Games Ice Oval and it is open to the public until the games start and of course weather permitting. I had thought I might get to the Citadel during their Victorian days in November, but they did not bring in the ice rink this year, so I was happy to learn about their new oval.

In spite of the stormy weather in the Maritimes, it seemed to have gone around Halifax and there was not a lot of snow there. It was very cold and great weather for outdoor ice skating.

And, are those Haligonians ready for a new rink. I have not shared the ice with so many skaters, all ages, all sizes, men, women and children. The primary difference in skating in Halifax is that the skaters sport Canadiens sweaters, and there were a noticeable number of skaters wearing the racing skates. I had a pair when I was a teenager, but I stopped wearing them when they were banned from public rinks. (I will have to check to see if Mom still has them.)

The oval is 400 metres around and was built for the Canada Games at the Halifax Commons just outside the Citadel. They had live music playing, a Bear Claw shack, warming shacks, a skate and helmet rental and even a movie screen. There was a cold wind blowing and it blew a lot of us part way around the rink. Fortunately they brought out the Zamboni after about an hour, as I was ready for a break. A large number of skaters were willing to wait the hour for a nice clean sheet of ice.

It was a lot easier skating this time. I was not so nervous, so it was really a lot of fun being with the friendly crowd.

Thanks for joining me again and I hope you will come along as I will be in Fredericton and Charlottetown toward the end of the month.

I have my photos posted separately.