Olympia Celebrates Canada 150 Skating Day

On December 10th, Olympia Skating Club hosted a Canada 150 Skating Day event at the Stampede Corral. We had a huge turnout from the community – well over 100 people took to the ice to participate in one of Canada’s favourite winter sports. It was truly and festive and celebratory atmosphere Canada’s final 150 event of the year.

Our skaters were welcomed at the door with gift bags filled with maple leaf cookies, loonie chocolates, souvenir Canada pins, Canada 150 flags, and tattoos for the kids. Tim Hortons generously sponsored the beverages and Tim Bits which were available throughout the day. One of our members, Sandi, made Canada 150 t-shirts for the club organizers to wear so that it would be easy to identify who to ask for help from.

We kicked off the skating with opening remarks in both English and French to recognize our two official languages.

With Canadian artists as our musical backdrop, people enjoyed a variety of activities.  The Passport to Canada game was a big highlight. Designed by Olympia member Cathy Thoms, skaters visited different parts of Canada around the rink and did an activity such as ice fishing in Winnipeg, barrel racing in Calgary, dog sledding in the Arctic, and build a bagel in Montreal. Everyone was given a passport to check off the provinces that they visited. The most popular of all was the human curling event or turkey shoot – skaters slid on the ice on their bellies to try and hit the center circle, vying for one of two frozen turkey prizes. Two young skaters, Heath and Nora, took home turkeys. The look on their faces was priceless!

Olympia skaters put on a terrific exhibition featuring programs skated to Canadian artists – Celine Dion, Michael Buble, Diane Tell, Tamina, and the Canadian Tenors, to name a few. We opened the exhibition with O Canada, sung by 3 Olympia members and Marc, a young man with autism who is unable to skate but likes to be involved in any way that he can. Ranging in ages from 30 – 59 plus a mother/daughter team, our members showed the audience the different levels of skating ability from beginner to advanced. Some of our audience members asked if they could start too which is the greatest compliment – to know that you have inspired someone to want to try skating no matter what age they are. Olympia skaters were well supported by our enthusiastic spectators.

After the 30 minute exhibition, all skaters came back on to the ice for small group lessons on spins and other technique, games or just skating around the rink and enjoying the feeling that only skating can bring. Our nearly 3 hour event came to an end just before 6 pm.

Special thanks goes to the Government of Canada for giving us the micro grant in order to host this event as well as Olympia members who spent many hours organizing the festivities. It was a great way to bring the community together to participate in Skate Canada’s Active for Life mandate and celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.