This winter I made a resolution to myself, to not sit on my backside and wait for summer to arrive but to be proactive and embrace winter and all that it has to offer. And to that end I’ve been pretty faithful to my goal, mostly through the ice skating on the several ice trails that the City of Toronto has to offer. The trails are a lot more enjoyable I find then traditional rinks to stake on, they usually provide a bit more scenery and purpose to the skate. I personally enjoy getting my Sport-Tracker app out and measuring my mileage on the ice. To that effect I’ve itching for greater scenery and mileage that only open ice can afford, sadly Toronto’s subtropical climate of late has not allowed for such ice to form. Until recently….
There is a series of ponds behind the Ontario Science Centre at E.T. Seton Park, I don’t know what they’re called, or if they indeed have names but they’re there. I’ve never thought of them as much, they’re there and during the summer they’re pretty and full of wildlife. It wasn’t until earlier this week I discovered that you can skate on them during a hike to photograph some fresh snowfall in the Don Valley. Someone had cleared two small ice pads on the pond and it looked inviting, so this weekend I came back with the girlfriend. It was amazing to skate on the ponds! Besides a small game of pond hockey happening on one of the pads, the entire pond was free of snow and yours for the taking. The ice was thick, smooth and just went on and on. I have to say that skating on open ice so a very freeing feeling, you can move in any direction you please and there is a solitude to be found on a empty slab of ice.
After the experience at E.T. Seton on Saturday I began thinking about “big pond” in this city. The one in High Park, Grenadier Pond. I have to admit that I’m ashamed that as a Torontonian I’ve never skated on the Grenadier pond. Granted for much of the past 10-12 years I’ve hardly ever skated and on the occasions that I do stake, I have the poise and grace of a large beached whale. I say the previous comment lightheartedly of course, as I can only hope to one day have the nimbleness of a large marine mammal that has been marooned on dry land. But I digress. A quick online search revealed that Grenadier Pond was good to skate and it didn’t take long to convince the girlfriend to join me in a early Sunday morning skate. When we arrived to the pond just after 9AM, there was only a solitary pair of skaters on the ice and the pond surface was almost entirely free of snow. The ice was crystal clear and stretched before you from shoreline to shoreline. I couldn’t resist getting on that ice, until I heard a loud “ping” coming from the ice. It took me back a little until a quick internet search cleared up the mystery and we were off to the races. The ice surface for the post part was smooth with long linear cracks running the length of the ice showing it’s thickness. I always forget the scale of Grenadier Pond, it’s bigger then some lakes I’ve been on in Algonquin park. The pond truly shows it’s scale when you’re on it, trying to make your way from one end to the to the other is a workout. Soon about three dozen skaters found their way onto the ice and several pond hockey games broke out. Before to long we had covered just over five kilometers of ice and it was time to go home. But be sure we’ll be back sooner then later.