Valentine’s Day or not, try a skate date!

Trinity Rink
February 14th, the annual day of love, is almost here. This means that tons of my friends are talking about their upcoming Valentine's Day plans. Most of them envision a romantic evening of candlelight dinners and sappy movies. I'm sure they'll have a great time, but I'd rather do something a little more active and much less expensive: like a skate date! Earlier this year, I went skating at Varsity Arena, and found it was a great way to get some exercise and meet new people. I went on my own, but met a bunch of other students who regularly go skating for a good work-out, some stress relief, a chance to catch up with friends, and most importantly, to have some fun. Since then, I've gone skating a few times on some of Toronto's outdoor public rinks, like Dufferin Rink, Harbourfront, Christie Pits, and Trinity Rink, which are all a quick TTC trip from campus. Check out the City of Toronto outdoor rinks map to see which of the city's 51 rinks are in your area. The "Unofficial Website of Toronto's Outdoor Skating Rinks" is also a good resource for information on skate times, rentals, facilities and special events.
one for shinny and one for pleasure skating!
Dufferin Rink has two sections: one for shinny and one for pleasure skating!
So far, the rink at Dufferin Park is my favorite. It has two sections of ice. One is always devoted to recreational skating, while the other has times set aside for shinny and other ice activities. Also, the changing hut has a wood stove and a snack bar which sells hot chocolate and fresh baked bread: great for a quick warm-up before getting back on the ice! If all this talk about hot chocolate, skating and socializing sound like fun, there's a great opportunity to do all three this Friday, February 12.  "Skate Date" is happening at Varsity Arena right after the Blues men's hockey game. You and your friends (or boyfriend, girlfriend, classmate, partner, parent, or child) can forgo the expensive, cliche Valentines Day activities and watch a hockey game and then stay to skate, listen to music, sip hot chocolate and mingle until midnight. Both the game and the skate afterward are free for U of T students (a lot less pricey than that candlelight dinner or night at the movies my friends had suggested). Maybe for some of you this is a perfect chance to go out on a limb and invite your crush...really, what's more romantic than a little skate date, followed by hot chocolate? If you have skates, bring them. But, there will be some loaner skates available. This means, your crush has no excuse not to accept your romantic offer!! Oh, and a few of the Blues will be sticking around after the game to give some tips!! Whether it's at Varsity Arena tomorrow, or at one of Toronto's public outdoor rinks, skating's a fun way to make the most of the winter season. Readers, if you're looking for a way to celebrate Valentine's Day, or just want to get active with friends, grab those skates and get to the rink! Regardless of your ability: beginner, pro, or "so-so", I hope to see you Friday! - Shannon

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