|The Natrel rink at Harbourfront Centre where I skate|
When I knew I would be immigrating to Canada a few years ago, I took the brave step to go to my not-so-local arena in the Seattle area (there are only a handful of places to go) and take some introductory skating lessons. I was terrible. I learned how to swizzle forward and backward, but that was about it. The rink was a half-hour drive from home, and it cost $6 to get on the ice for the open skate (an hour at most), so I didn't go very often. The best thing was that I got over my fear of being a middle-aged beginner.
Once I got to Canada I figured I would get back to my skating. On my last visit to Seattle, I tried my skates on again after a couple years off them and man, did they hurt! So I went online to some hockey sites and found a YouTube video of how to measure for skates. Turns out I had been wearing the wrong size!
Now that I am in Toronto, there are loads of places to skate, including Harbourfront Centre, which is a short walk from home. I have been going out as often as is reasonable and am finally feeling like a kid again, skating on the big sheet right on Lake Ontario. It's inspiring! It's free! And I'm not terrible at it anymore!
I love this city and all the resources the public has here. If you're immigrating to Canada, I encourage you to learn to skate, no matter what your age. If I can do it, anyone can.