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Hitting the Ice for the Holidays

My Toronto winter holidays are incomplete without a morning leisure skate at Nathan Phillips Square's ice rink. It's the best way to clear my head on Boxing Day, right before diving into the shopping frenzy at Eaton Centre. Incidentally, having a pair of sharp metal blades at my side gives me more breathing space in the crowds (or is it the smell?).

Outdoor skating captures a unique slice of Toronto that is close to my heart. Over the years I have seen just about every walk of life on the ice. The city operates 49 artificial outdoor ice rinks between December and March. Operating hours for all rinks are available by calling 416-338-RINK (7465).

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Skating is a great way to learn more about my fellow Torontonians. I feel closer to certain groups of people through repeated exposure on the rink, including: enormous school groups, slow-moving couples, show-off idiots, and that old guy who does strange cross-overs.

What really brings a tear to my eye is when I espy a first-time skater wobbling around the ice. Though the little ones are the most touching, I cheer for newbies of any age. It's never too late to learn how to skate.

Every time I step on the ice it feels like I'm weaving a thread in Toronto's winter fabric. In the brief half-hour that I share with the other skaters, I'm happy knowing that many fond memories are born before we all part ways.

To find out more about skating in Toronto (including indoor ice time), see the city's skating website.


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