selfie skating at night
Nathan Phillips Square rink at night
view over Nathan Phillips Square rink
skaters by day

This time a year ago, I visited Toronto, Canada for my first (and hopefully not last) time, for the Red Hat Java team's face-to-face meetings. The hotel we were staying in was right next to Nathan Phillip's Square, which is an open-air Ice Rink for the winter months. I love Ice Skating and rarely took opportunities to do it (even before Covid-19) so I decided to take full advantage of the locality. Skating was free, but boot rental was not, so I bought some new skates. That meant an interesting problem getting them home on the plane.

I think I got out there about 5 times over 5 days. It was busy during the day and very quiet at other times. 8am worked pretty well.

My local Ice Rink has been intermittently open over the year as and when the Lockdown rules have allowed it, but the combination of cold air, indoor circulation and strenuous activity seem to me to be very unsafe, so I won't risk it. In Newcastle, the Centre for Life usually puts an outdoor rink on around Christmas, which is very expensive to skate on. Unfortunately they've decided against it this year.

Toronto was great for more than just Ice Skating! I had a fantastic time meeting my team members; good food, good drink (especially Ice Wine); The CN Tower; a funky music instrument shop, and the first Teenage Engineering OP-1 I've ever seen in the flesh; not much Maple syrup, which surprised me. Good coffee. A comfortable-feeling city.

It'll probably be a long while before I travel for work (or anything else) quite like this again. I'm glad to have made the most of it, whilst I could!

me, covered in snow