Ice skating comes in many forms just like ice itself: in the language of the Inuit descendants there are seventy-two different ways to indicate the concept of snow and ice.
Since ancient times, man has found himself taming this changing material for his own survival but also for pleasure: almost all winter sports have ancient origins and ice skating is no exception.
Ice skating is believed to have originated around 3000 B.C. in Scandinavian countries using ox bone skates.
The skates were an effective means of transport on the frozen surfaces of lakes and rivers, but compared with today's tools they were not very efficient to maintain balance.
Ice skating, now also called figure skating, is a winter sport in which athletes, equipped with skates, perform exercises on the ice consisting of spins and jumps, on a musical base. It was the first winter sport included in the Olympics in the 20th century.
Sure, the most famous ice skating rink in the world is perhaps the Rockefeller Centre in New York City which lights up every year thanks to the Christmas decorations and the splendid Christmas tree, whose lighting is an unmissable ritual for every New Yorker but we have a similar one here in Canada, perhaps a bit less popular because it does not appear in so many films but, nonetheless amazing: the Nathan Phillips Square. This place is a popular hangout for Toronto residents and tourists who flock to this beautiful and vibrant rink in downtown. The large rink is open until mid-January and it is located opposite the City Hall. In the evening you can attend a Christmas-themed light and sound show during the holidays. Nathan Phillips Square is just one of the many rinks that animate Toronto during the winter. Here in Canada, everyone knows how to skate on ice, (as you may remember from my previous posts ice hockey is the first national sport) and for those who visit the city it is worth buying a ticket for a game at the Air Canada Centre, which hosts hockey games year round. You can also visit the Hockey Hall of Fame, not far away and, if you don't know how to skate, there is the possibility to learn on the spot thanks to the numerous short courses and lessons. Women can also attend short hockey courses.
Many are the ice shows available through the winter time because Canadians love to attend such shows. Many are also the local, national and international ice skating competitions that tour the country year round.
Here in Ottawa, the Winterlude is one of the many activities planned for the winter festival, which animates the capital on the winter weekends. There are parks equipped to bring young and old to do ice sports, ice sculpture competitions and skating - abnormal heat permitting - on the Rideau Canal, the longest natural ice skating rink in the world.
It is nice to visit Winterlude with a few friends or your family…There are so many activities and most of them are free.