Saturday, January 05, 2013

Skating in Scarborough

child learning to skate
I'm a typical Canadian girl. The winters of my childhood were filled with snowmobiles, tobogganing, skating, snow forts on the side of the road, and icy luge runs twisting dangerously close to the sharp edges of the supports for our second-storey deck. (How did we survive?) We even had skating lessons through school.

I remember skating with my family on the frozen pond down the road from us. I also remember never actually figuring out how to stop properly, even though I could  skate fairly well.

Winter was fun when I was young. And I'd like it to be fun for Little Boo as well, even if I now can't stand this cold and icy season.

You'd think my hot flashes would keep me warm, but no.

Little Boo will be 7 this week. But he'd never been on skates. This, I believe, is a huge failing for a Canadian parent. I'd suggested skating lessons, but he preferred swimming. Considering how much warmer it is at the pools than at the rinks, I didn't push the issue. Then, a couple of days ago, some friends invited us to go for a morning skate with them at Albert Campbell Square. Two of his besties would be there, so LB agreed.

He was pretty freaked out at first. That ice is pretty slippery! And standing on two narrow blades doesn't quite feel stable. But he soldiered on. He learned to stand on the ice and take marching steps to move forward. His friends gave him bits of advice, like hold your arms out to your sides for balance, and put your weight on the front of the skates. I walked along with him and caught him numerous times as he started to fall. He gained confidence and made his way half-way around the rink and back. He announced that skating is fun and he wants to go back.


We're too late to get him into city lessons for the winter, but I figure we'll do some public and family skates together over the next couple of months. I went out and picked up a pair of used skates for myself this afternoon. (It's been close to 30 years since I last skated. This could be interesting. And painful. If I break a hip, you can all feel free to laugh at me.) It will be good exercise and a real Canadian childhood experience.

When I started to research skating rinks in Scarborough, I was a bit disappointed to see how few there are. I found only one private rink, and 8 City of Toronto rinks that offer drop-in skating. Scarborough has only one outdoor rink - the one we went to. Since I've done the research, I thought I'd share the info with you all here. If you are looking for skating opportunities in Scarborough, here are you options! (And, please, if you know of more, let me know!! I'll update this listing if any additional rinks come to light.)

City of Toronto
Public and Family skate times (including Caregiver & Tot) are free at all City of Toronto Rinks. Here's a little synopsis of the current schedules in the Scarborough district (be sure to follow the links to confirm times before you head out, and to get addresses).
Agincourt RC - Public Skating Wed & Thurs 4:15-6:00pm, Sat 6:30-8:00pm
Birchmount CC - Caregiver & Tot (up to 6 years) Tues 2:00-3:00pm; Public Skate Sun 5:15-6:15pm, Mon 4:00-5:00pm, Fri 5:15-7:00pm
Centennial RC - Caregiver & Tot (up to 5 years) Tues 1:00-2:00pm, Thurs 9:30-10:30am & 1:00-2:00pm; Family Skate Sun 2:15-3:45pm, Sat 7:15-8:45pm; Mini Skate (up to 5 years) Sun 1:30-2:15pm, Sat 6:30-7:15pm
Heron Park RC - Public Skate Thurs 6:15-7:00pm, Sat 7:30-9:00pm
Malvern RC - Caregiver & Tot (up to 6 years) Fri 1:00-3:00pm; Public Skate Sat 1:45-3:00pm; Youth Skate (9-18 years) Thurs 4:15-5:15pm
McGregor Park RC - Public Skate Thurs 6:30-8:15pm, Fri 4:00-6:00pm, Sat 7:15-8:30pm
Scarborough Civic Centre (outdoor - Albert Campbell Square) -  Public Skate 9:00am-10:00pm daily (9:00am-9:00pm Thurs)
Scarborough Village RC - Family Skate Sun 2:15-3:00pm & 3:10-3:45pm, Sat 3:15-4:00pm & 4:10-4:45pm; Public Skate Fri 7:15-8:00pm & 8:10-8:45pm; Caregiver & Tot (up to 6 years) MWF 9:00-9:50am

Canlan Ice Sports is a private rink that offers public skates on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:15am-12:15pm. $10 at the door, or pre-pay for $7. You can also buy a 6 skate pass for $30.

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