Skating in Officer’s Square, Fredericton

skatesAs I write this, the Ice Dance free program at the Sochi Olympics is playing. Having studiously avoided Twitter all day, I get the best of both worlds: I can fast-forward the commercials but still have the suspense of watching it live, because I don’t know who wins.

Whether your poison is hockey or figure skating, ice skating is a pretty iconic Canadian past-time.

Like many of you, I have fond memories of skating outside as a child, but it’s been about 15 years since I’ve been on skates.

Four years in Alberta passed by with my annual commitment to skate on Lake Louise unfulfilled every winter. Last winter, in a fit of ambition, I actually bought a pair of skates. We lived on the river in Saint John, and so a perfect natural skating rink was just across the road.

Still didn’t go skating.

Watching the Olympics with Amelia this year, though, must have been the nudge I needed. Or maybe it was my unused skates staring judgementally down at me from their perch on the garage shelf. I could practically hear them rolling their eyes and wishing they’d been bought by someone with more initiative.

Whatever the reason, last weekend I actually packed up my daughter, mother, and myself and we headed to Officer’s Square in downtown Fredericton.

The skating party in Officer's Square during FROSTival

The skating party in Officer’s Square during FROSTival

I’d been here a few weeks ago in a work capacity, hosting the FROSTival Old Fashioned Skating Party – but wearing a warm pair of boots. Big crowds, skating and SLR cameras don’t mix, especially when you haven’t skated for 15 years!

On this beautiful Saturday morning, though, the ice was relatively uncrowded and lots of young kids were working on getting the hang of ice skating.

Skating in Officer's Square

Nanny sensibly wore boots.

Officer’s Square in the Garrison District “was a centre of military activity when Fredericton was garrisoned by the British Army from 1785 to 1869, and by the Canadian Army from 1883 to 1914,” according to the Fredericton Tourism website.

Even wobbling around like it was my first time ever on skates (skating is not like riding a bike, if you’re wondering) it was lovely to be able to look up and see the historic setting around us.

Since it’s right downtown it’s also easy to combine your exercise with some shopping or lunch at a great cafe (I can personally recommend Cedar Tree Cafe and The Blue Door).

Unless, of course, you’re skating with a 2.5-year-old who’s so excited by her first time on the ice that she won’t leave until she’s both overtired and starving. In that case, experience suggests that you cut your losses and go home holding on to the happy memories and a sense of accomplishment.

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  1. Pingback: 5 Fredericton-area events I'm looking forward to this summer - The Maritimer

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