It’s been so long since I’ve done a Hometown post that I don’t even remember if it’s supposed to be Friday, Monday or Wednesday. There’s no possible alliteration for ‘Hometown’ and a weekday, so there’s nothing catchy about it.
But whatever – it’s Hometown Monday! It’s a thing and it’s cool!
What’s also cool?
The Oval is “the largest outdoor artificially refrigerated ice surface in Canada”! Well, it will be until someone else builds something bigger (probably in Ontario). It was built on the Halifax Commons, taking over one of the baseball diamonds.
Before the 2011 Canada Games (where it featured speed skating) the Oval was used for public skating, and that’s probably what kept it around. After the Games were over, the city decided to keep the Oval and open it for skating every year. This year the Oval’s gotten some sponsorship and a bit of a face-lift. So yes, it does take away some of the Commons, but …skating. (Also, in the summer you can rollerskate/rollerblade, so it’s almost year-round.)
This year I finally took a turn on it. It’s been approximately 15 years (more or less) since I last put on ice skates. I was more than a little trepidacious about skating (especially in a public setting). It doesn’t help that I’m always worried about my kneecap and that I really didn’t want to fall.
The truth is that it was a lot of fun. My friend didn’t quite have as much fun as I did (she fell), but I really started hitting my stride the second time around. Yes, my ankles hurt and I had to take a break between laps, but I was really catching on. And my third lap was even better than my second! (I suspect that after 20 more laps I’ll be a pro.)
The Oval’s crowded, but fun. There are a lot of skaters of all experience and all ages. The ice surface wasn’t the best (you could feel the grooves in the ice and there were shavings everywhere), but it was an experience. It reminded me of just how old I’m getting, but it also reminded me of a time when I loved being outdoors in winter.
And it’s FREE! You just need a piece of government ID to rent the skates. Maybe the skates aren’t in the best of shape (like the ice), but you can’t complain with FREE. There are benches, places to put your shoes, and a Beavertails & food/drink trailer. And did I mention that the skate rentals are free?
[Note: I discovered that the last “Hometown” was on a Friday. Oh well.]