Ice Skating: An Iconic Canadian Pastime

Guest Blog by Darren McChristie.

Ice skating has been an iconic winter activity in Canada since the Europeans arrived with skates in their luggage. According to the Canadian Museum of Civilization, “travel journals and officers’ diaries attest to the popularity of the sport” and skating was so popular that, in 1748, an ordinance was issued forbidding people to skate on the streets. With over 250,000 lakes, and countless ponds, one is never far away from ice in Ontario. Ice can be vast and smooth and the feeling of gliding effortlessly along across a lake cannot be matched by the ice at an indoor arena.

A few years ago, I learned of two adventurers in Thunder Bay that were planning to skate from Thunder Bay to the Sleeping Giant—a distance of about 25 kilometres. I thought it was such a great story that I started brainstorming ways to share it with others and landed on the the concept of an outdoor magazine for Lake Superior that would soon become Superior Outdoors. No doubt, the story about the skating trek to the Sleeping Giant has inspired others to explore their favourite summer lakes by ice and discover a new perspective on familiar scenery.

Ice formations on lakes are intriguing and beautiful. The jagged ice along the shoreline, fracture lines, frozen bubbles and colours that range from white to deep blue and black form intricate patterns that seem to invite closer inspection and skates are a natural choice for an afternoon skate or a weekend expedition. As we head into November, I’m longing for ice to form thick enough for skating. As Joni Mitchell sings, “I wish I had a river I could skate away on.”

For exciting Snow Adventures, please visit ontariooutdoor.com

Darren McChristieGuest blogger Darren McChristie loves winter. He loves the cold, crisp air and how it alerts his senses and makes him feel alive. Living just outside of Thunder Bay, Darren has ample opportunity to enjoy the highlights of winter and, as a photojournalist and publisher of Superior Outdoors magazine, he’s keen to document his pursuits and share them with others in hopes they too will appreciate the experiences of winter in Ontario.

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