Skating in the city

Beaver Lake open for business
Skaters are everywhere. Drive around any neighbourhood on a cold winter's evening and you will be sure to find skaters on a rink. Just look for the floodlights and there they will be - kids playing hockey, couples on a date, girls practising their figure skating. Any Sunday afternoon families will be out on the ice at one of Montreal's most popular rinks in Mount Royal Park. This weekend Beaver Lake opened for skating and somehow everyone knew.

It's been a long wait

 Now last winter the lake never opened because conditions were somehow not right but it's open now and it's a lot of fun. I saw several people fall flat on their faces but just get right back up again. The first was when I had just stepped on the ice and a chap fell backwards onto his head. Never a pretty sight and also it makes me think if Canadians are dropping like flies how long can it be until I come a cropper?
An expert shows how it's done
 I'm pleased to say that I did just manage to stay upright - although I did witness another women fall so hard she must have hurt herself. But she assured me she was fine and leapt to her feet. Obviously a Canadian because I can't get up from being horizontal on the ice without the help of my husband or some kind of hydraulic lifting device.
This dude was cool
I don't want to get all Disney on you but while you are skating this lake, horse-drawn sleighs are jingling past you with their bells ringing while up on the hill tobogganers are having the time of their lives hurling themselves towards the lake.Yes, this park is a winter wonderland all by itself - it doesn't need an artificial winter festival. It IS one. The pavilion where you hire your skates has a popular cafe where you can drink a customary hot chocolate while watching the skaters below. I was once on a horse drawn sleigh with friends here. We were visiting from the UK at the time. My friend spotted someone she knew on foot and felt embarrassed sitting up in the sleigh with a blanket on her knees. She pointed at us. "We're with them. They're tourists'" she explained.
Speed merchant
 The difference between Beaver Lake in the city and the lakes out in the countryside is that the city one is flooded at night to make sure the ice is smooth for skaters. In the country you are dependent on weather conditions making the ice smooth. Finally for those of you who read about the frozen lake in my previous post here is a wonderful video taken by a friend which captures the feeling of skating a lake in the Laurentians. It doesn't get more Canadian than this but lots of Canucks tell me you are only going to experience this once every few years. Magical.


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