For the novice skater, going for a spin on a city rink these days
can become a death-defying adventure.
On weekends, popular rinks are crowded with experienced
ice-worshippers racing around at heart-stopping speeds.
Teenagers jump on and off the ice on a whim and five-year-olds seem to
zip around as if they were born with skates on. Fuelling the fast and furious skating
frenzy is usually the latest chart-topping song being played at eardrum-popping level.
If you're looking for an alternative to the hustle 'n bustle of
city rinks there is a place in Canada. It's called
Cedarena and it can be found in the City of Markham;
just thirty minutes north of Toronto in Ontario.
There's a sense that you've taken a step back in time as soon as you
begin the short trek down a dirt trail leading to a cottage-like dwelling nestled between
The scent of hot chocolate and the warmth of a wood-burning stove, the
only heat source in the cottage, greet visitors upon entry.
After paying a nominal fee, it's time to lace-up. No need for lockers
here. Just like the old days, shoes are tucked under old, scuffed wood benches and bags
are hung on nails around the well-aged walls.
Outside, two steps lead down to the oval hockey-sized rink encircled
Skaters leisurely skate to gentle tunes from the 40's and 50's, as
well as the occasional waltz. Couples of all ages are seen skating hand-in-hand as if in a
romantic trance. Children are left to skate on their own without fear of getting lost or
Built in the late 1920's by the hamlet of Cedar Grove in Markham, the
charming Cedarena provides a glimpse of what skating rinks were like decades ago. It's a
natural rink that is cleaned and re-flooded nightly.
It was that untouched, vintage look of the rink that caught actor
LeVar Burton's eye while scouting for locations for the feature film he directed,
This family movie, released in 2003, follows the story of a lonely,
young figure-skater who finds a friend in a cute, animated reindeer, Blizzard (voiced by
Whoopi Goldberg) after she moves to a new town.
If you're planning to visit Cedarena bring your own skates as there
are no rentals on the premises.
Take the 401 East to Markham Rd; turn north to Steeles Ave; turn east
on Steeles; go to Reesor Rd; turn left and go north for about 1km.
The rink is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday for evening skating
(7.30-10pm) and Sunday afternoons (1-4pm).
Tuesdays evenings (7.30-10pm) are reserved for adults only.
Admission is $2.50 for 15 years and younger and $5 for 16 years and
Free and ample parking.
Keep in mind that Cedarena is a natural rink, so if the weather is too
warm skating will not be permitted. To find out about skating conditions: Call their
hotline number at (905) 294-0038.
By AP Rodrigues.
Thanks to Gary Mount for updating us on the admission changes.
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