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A Skate Down Memory Lane

January 4, 2014

Skating. If you were born in Canada, you probably had skates strapped to your feet sometime between your first steps and the age of six. It’s the great Canadian past-time (right up there with drinking Tim Horton’s coffee and eating poutine) and one of the best parts of winter.

One of my favourite memories from when I was a kid was learning to skate at Thomson Park in Scarborough. There was a creek that ran through part of the park and I remember my dad taking me there and tying double bladed skates to my boots. They were kind of like the training wheels for your bike – those were my first foray into skating. Eventually I graduated into real skates and real rinks and developed one of my first pre-teen crushes on a “rink guard”. He was a life guard but on skates! What wasn’t there to love? I went to the same rink with a girlfriend every weekend for an entire winter just to skate in circles and giggle over the cute boy in the reflective vest who was in charge of telling everyone to get off the ice for the zamboni.

When I lived in Ottawa I skated the Rideau Canal during Winterlude. Drinking hot chocolate and eating Beaver Tails right on the ice. I don’t think I’ve ever been colder but how fun it was not to have to skate in a never ending circle.

I thought of all this today during my first time on skates in two years. It was a little dicey for the first couple of minute,s but I guess, much like riding a bike, the old instincts start to come back. Ian and I spent almost an hour at Nathan Phillips Square, sometimes skating alone, sometimes holding hands. I remembered going there as a kid and getting hot chocolate in styrofoam cups (remember those?!) from the snack bar as we were leaving. The snack bar is gone now so we stopped for a tea instead and it tasted almost as good as that childhood hot chocolate.

I think we’ll go back next weekend.

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