When I was younger, I really loved winter. I loved sledding, snowball fights and building snowmen. One of my favourite pastimes was visiting a little outdoor ice rink a few blocks from my house. Every winter my friends and I would climb over the walls of the rink and goof around on the ice. When we weren't falling over our feet, we'd play hockey with whatever snow chunks we could find. As these events became more frequent, we often talked about playing real hockey on the rink. Eventually, we would end up playing hockey, but we'd settle for the street in front of our houses instead.
Beyond childhood, the only other time I went skating was in high school. Everybody else's ice skating skills had improved with age, but mine were still that of a fourth grader. I remember standing in the rink, struggling to shoot while holding my balance, only to have a classmate swoop in and steal my puck! Ever since then, I've stuck to floor hockey.
As I got older, my love for winter dwindled. Now I find it cold, icy, dark and sometimes miserable. My blog usually slows down in the winter for this very reason. I've been trying to get out and enjoy our longest season of the year, but it's hard. Most days I just want to stay inside.
Since staying inside during the winter months isn't very interesting, I've been trying to find fun things to do outside each year. Last year I went skiing at Mission Ridge, and this year I tried ice skating. Every winter the City of Regina Parks Department floods and maintains rinks around the city, and the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District operates the rink in Victoria Park. The rink is open every day of the week, and they have staff available with free skates on weekdays from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM, and from 6 PM to 9 PM and on the weekends from 1 PM to 5 PM. This gives you plenty of chances to enjoy the ice, any day of the week.
The rink also has several unique events going on throughout the winter. If you visit the rink on January 18th you'll experience their highly anticipated "80s Night", while January 25th has their classic "90s Night". February 17th also has their "Disney Day" skate, in which children (and adults) are encouraged to dress up as their favorite Disney character.
If you're looking for somewhere romantic to take your significant other, February 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th and 14th are all date nights dedicated to you and your sweetheart.
As I approached the rink in Victoria Park for the first time, I was a little hesitant. I had plenty of experiences falling on ice during my childhood and teenage years and it's not something I personally enjoy (and I don't get up as fast as I used to). But, when I arrived at the rink, I saw scores of people skating around on it. There were a few talented skaters, and there were also ones who had similar skating skills to me, and they were holding onto chairs for balance.
After seeing this, I decided to give it a try.
Although I don't really know how the skate, the staff were more than happy to teach me some basic tricks. I clutched onto my support chair for dear life as they helped me skate in slow circles around the rink, but I still did it. Although I was probably one of the clumsiest skaters out there, I still had a lot of fun, and, to make things even better, I never fell!
While there are dozens of rinks throughout Regina, the one in Victoria Park is unique because it's in the hub of the city. If you need a bite to eat, you are surrounded by some of the best restaurants in the province, and if you need an escape from the working world, the rink is the perfect getaway. With the streets around the park being some of the busiest in the city, it feels almost ethereal that you can skate peacefully (or awkwardly and lumberingly, if you're me) amid it all.
The rink downtown has been open for years and has been responsible for countless stories. The Regina Downtown Business Improvement District collected these stories last year for part of their "Rink Stories" series. They collected hundreds of stories of different people from different walks of life that ended up visiting the rink. Some of these people were students that had just moved to Regina, while others were long termed residents that have been skating for decades. Some were senior citizens, some were children and many were somewhere in between. Last year a couple special guests even visited the rink too, such as Spider-Man, Elsa and Anna from Frozen and even a newly wedded couple, still dressed in their tux and gown.
Last year, workers at the rink taught 25 Syrian refugees how to skate. Coming from a mostly desert country, many of these people had never stepped foot on ice, let alone learned to skate. Members of the Business Improvement District helped teach them how to skate, and in turn welcomed them to one of Canada's most popular winter pastimes.
I had a great time skating when I was at the rink last weekend, and it's something I can't wait to do again. Near the end of the day I was able to let go of my support chair and take a couple steps without it. Although I'm not comfortable enough to skate around the outside of the rink yet, maybe with a little more practice I will be.
Do you have any memories of skating in Victoria Park? Will you be heading down there this winter? If so, tag the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and use the hashtag #yqrdt.
Don't forget to pin it!
And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
The Island of the Dolls is in Xochimilco, a borough south of Mexico City. While it would be faster to take a car from Mexico City to Xochimilco, the traffic is dense and the roads are very congested. Instead, if you're going there, I'd recommend taking metro, which is easy and the cheapest in the world. What you gain in comfort, however, you lose in speed, as the train ride takes about 2 hours.
Mexico City and Xochimilco both sit in the Valley of Mexico. Until about a millennium ago, the whole region around Mexico City was surrounded by a massive body of water. Over the centuries due to both climate change and interference by humans, most of this water has dried up, for the exception of Xochimilco. With networks of canals crisscrossing the borough, car transportation is difficult and water transportation is essential. I'm sure there were motorized boats somewhere in the waters of Xochimilco, but I never saw any. Instead, canoes and rafts are common on the water. However, the most popular vessel is a trajinera – a colourful gonadal-like boat that is pushed along the water with a wooden pole.
Xochimilco is known worldwide for their Floating Gardens market, which are essentially canoes floating down the canals, selling wares to tourists on trajineras. These include things like food, drinks, silver rings, trinkets, ponchos and sombreros. Occasionally other trajineras full of Mariachi bands will approach tourists and offer to play beside them on the water.
When I first started this project, I didn't know what would come of it.
During my interview with the Saskatchewanderer, she recommended I approach Tourism Regina and see if I could write for them. Tourism Regina agreed and published my article, but due to it's size restrictions, I wasn't able to talk about as many places as I wanted to.
Since beginning this project, I have sent over three dozen emails to many organizations and businesses around the city. Once I was done my initial research, I had more questions than answers, some of which I don't think I'll ever know. Once realizing the vast amount of information out there, I decided to cut this project down substantially. But, although it ended up different then I thought it would, I am happy to finally present to you, "8 Places to Visit in Regina".
The past few weeks have been really busy for me, with a lot more time at the office and a lot less time travelling. Thankfully, the weekend is just around the corner and with it comes the possibility of a two day vacation. Having traveled to Lac La Ronge earlier this month, I've been thinking more and more about these short trips and how rejuvenating they can be.
Unfortunately, I haven't done as much travelling around Saskatchewan as I'd like, so I wasn't sure what the best places to visit were. There were of course the obvious choices such as Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw, but I wanted someplace remote, yet somewhat close. For this project I approached some of my fellow travel bloggers and I got some ideas of what to go do and see for a weekend. I went through their ideas and came up with this short list of 5 weekend destinations in Saskatchewan.
Thanks to TELUS' incredible network, sections of Saskatchewan that once never had coverage can now be fully explored while still being connected to your mobile device. No matter where you travel in Saskatchewan -- or even in Canada -- this summer, you can rely on TELUS' mobile network to keep you connected.