ACTIVE LIFE: City’s Winter Wonderland a chance to start skating

NANAIMO – Parks and recreation hosts themed ice events this month.

The City of Nanaimo Parks

Skating was a way for Julia Sun to follow in the footsteps of her sister, but it has also allowed her to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Sun said she took up skating because it looked “cool” and she wanted to try it out.

She graduated to figure skating lessons after completing beginner lessons via the City of Nanaimo’s parks, recreation and environment department. She earned her Rec Skate 7 medallion, which represents the top level of the basic learn-to-skate program.

She enjoys doing waltz jumps and spins, but admitted to being a little hesitant when she began.

“I was scared that I would fall and break a bone or something,” Sun said.

Skaters, whether at Sun’s level or not, have an opportunity to take part in skating, as the parks and recreation department is once again set to host its Winter Wonderland skating event between Dec. 26-30 at Frank Crane Arena.

Just like last year, Winter Wonderland 2015 will be Quebec Winter Carnival-themed, said Gary Paterson, city arenas coordinator.

There will be an ice sculpture of a chair for people to take family photos in and the Nanaimo Kinsmen Club will host a pancake breakfast fundraiser Dec. 29.

“It’s kind of in keeping with the whole active for life, which is a theme we’re trying to inspire to get families to come out in the grey, dark time, when it’s really rainy and miserable,” said Paterson. “This way families are more inspired to come out and recreate, leisure together.”

In addition, it isn’t cost prohibitive, as it costs $1, with a number of free sessions – skate and helmet rentals are free also.

Paterson said there are benefits to skating lessons. There is a physical literacy component and it’s about balance, co-ordination, spatial awareness and dealing with speed. It’s important for children to develop those skills, he said.

He hopes that the event will inspire people to take up skating lessons, such as learn-to-skate and adult specialty lessons.

“We’ve got a couple of new programs coming up. Our Skate Fit, which is a fitness-on-ice type program and we’ve got power skating, for people that want to learn a bit more about hockey and of course, a new program Rec Synchro Skate, which is kind of like synchronized swimming, but it’s done on ice,” said Paterson.

For more information, please call Paterson at 250-755-7536.

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