For many young Canadians, in my imagination anyway, it’s an annual routine to hose down the back yard in winter to make your own personal skating surface, or charge out to a nearby frozen pond to enjoy endless hours of shinny in the long winter shadows, and I suppose these activities probably form a sizable part of your childhood memories. For me, though, while growing up on the West Coast in one of Canada’s mildest climates does have its benefits, those experiences were ones that this sports enthusiast could only daydream about while reading the backs of hockey cards and stories like The Youngest Goalie and The Hockey Sweater.
That was until the winter of 2016-17: my thirty-eighth, and the coldest and snowiest in this corner of the world for quite some time. At long last Trout Lake in Vancouver was frozen over and cleared by the park officials for skating. On the day a handful of friends and I agreed to meet there, a few things happened that I didn’t see coming. One was that about half the rest of the city also decided to take advantage of this rare opportunity and meet there too! There was also quite a layer of snow covering the ice surface. Who knew there wouldn’t be any Zamboni on hand!? Good thing one friend had arrived early and messaged us to bring shovels. The other thing that surprised me was how bumpy the ice was! The frequent need to use the shovels and the unevenness of the surface left me with a whole new appreciation for our local indoor, maintained, community rinks. I was sure glad I finally got to cross this of my bucket list, though, because on that day I felt more Canadian than I ever have before!
Graham F – Triovest