Shh! Don’t tell anyone. We almost have our own private rink with a view . . . (The down side is that it’s a bit unpredictable when and if the Zamboni will have come, so the ice is sometimes great and sometimes not!). This is part of the new port lands development, more or less next to Corus at Sherbourne Common.
Skating at Sherbourne Common - a rink to ourselves (and yes, there are two Ginas . . .)
And yes, there are two of me, a trick I wish I could replicate in other areas of my life.
Yesterday was one of those glorious days that nourish you to the core. Our first snowfall – really just a long flurry of motes mixed with the occasional feather dusting the ground – then blue skies; The AGO – Henry Moore (early works, full of the anguish of his response to his war-time experiences) and the Maharajas (fabulous, especially the Rolls Royce and the tabla player and Kathac dancer; too many pancakes (crepes) with delectable fillings (we ate the sweet followed by the savoury!); then on to Nathan Phillips Square for our first skate of the season, this year’s sole Cavalcade of Lights (the square is being refurbished) to launch the Christmas season, with live music, the lighting of the tree and some of the best fireworks I’ve ever seen – City Hall is a fabulous backdrop, the window reflections augmenting the show.
This was also the occasion of our first skate in Canada last year and looks set to be an enduring tradition – I felt the total pleasure and wonder of a six year old for much of the day – what a great start to Christmas!
Red mittens are a Canadian ‘must-have’, no matter where in the world you live! Apparently people are queuing for hours in Vancouver outside the Bay for their pair. They have become a symbol of the huge upsurge of national pride that these second Canadian Winter Olympics have generated – by wearing them, you both signal your support and contribute (as official Canadian Olympic Committee merchandise, they help generate funding). As you can see, we splashed out on scarves and hats as well!
Gina & Paul modelling their Team Canada merchandise!
The Red Mittens
Canada has taken a lot of flak from the British press about the Olympics. I can’t help feeling this is misguided with London looming – talk about setting yourself up! We have felt considerable pride in our adopted nation, despite the glitches that are an inevitable element of any such event. I love that the Olympic torch travelled the country – the aim was that no Canadian citizen should have to travel more than an hour to witness its journey. What a wonderful commitment to the inclusive spirit of the Olympics! There is no doubt that this has contributed to the Canadian response to these games. It has also boosted national spirits in the wake of the 2009 recession. I am not alone in thinking that the ‘own the podium’ slogan got it wrong; I suspect it ultimately increased the pressure on Canadian athletes. More importantly, it seems to me to run counter to the Olympic ideal that what is important is participation. Perhaps ‘better than best’ might have captured this spirit better. Certainly we have cheered as so many young Canadians have exceeded personal ‘bests’, regardless of whether these have secured them medals. But we have also been moved by the spectacular performances the Olympics have drawn out of men and women of all nations. What does amaze me, though, is the level of aspiration. I know Canada is a ‘winter’ nation. But its population is less than that of California, just over half that of the UK and 11% of that of its neighbour (USA). As I write this, Canada stands third in the medal tables, with 15 medals, 7 of which are gold. Awesome! PS If any of our friends and family want their own pair of Red Mittens, we’ll do our best to acquire them – just let us know what size!
Few people can fail to be aware that Ice Hockey is pretty important in Canada.
Toronto’s team, the Maple Leaves may be a financial success, but are not known as winners on the ice.
Recently the Toronto Star ran a selection of Maple Leaf jokes, of which the following is a taster:
Q: What do the Leafs and the Titanic have in common?
A: They both look good until they hit the ice!
Q: What do you call 25 millionaires sitting around watching the Stanley Cup playoffs on TV?
A: The Maple Leafs
(the Stanley Cup is the NHL championship trophy)
Q: What did the Leafs fan do after Toronto won the Stanley Cup?
A: He turned off his PlayStation.