"Like curling ice"? That's supposed to clarify the issue? Hmmm. File under: 'Only in Canada'.
Canadians do like playing with ice, there is no doubt. I know multiple people who follow curling or are passionate curlers themselves. But mostly what Canadians do with ice is skate on it at the rinks that pop up everywhere, parks, plazas, backyards. People corral any puddle of water and encourage it to freeze, which works as entertainment because nearly everyone seems to have their own skates, just as they have their own shoes. When I was a child we skated too, but indoors at the rink in our local shopping mall, Topanga Plaza, and we rented skates by the hour; only the very posh or the very competitive owned their own. (The mall is still there but the ice long gone, replaced by a department store.)
When we moved to Canada, the whole family bought ice skates, one of the many 'winterizing' tasks accomplished in a manic frenzy, along with acquiring thick coats and snow boots and snow pants and long underwear and hats with earflaps and gloves. I was a woman obsessed, nesting like an expectant arctic tern. In the chaos of acquisition I ended up possessed of skates rejected by eldest child when he discovered they were too small; he got new ones that fit correctly while I, worn out, simply adopted his cast-offs rather than going through the kerfuffle of returning them. They were hockey skates, not the figure skates I had rented, but how different could they be?
Very. It turns out that I really dislike hockey skates. I hate their thick, rigid construction. Getting them on and laced up is a full-body workout that ends in scraped knuckles and aching fingers. Probably worth it if you're going into battle with your team for the gold medal, but totally out of proportion for a few laps round the rink. Since I used them only two or three times each winter, though, it didn't matter enough to bother replacing them. I suffered through and just enjoyed the relief of taking them off.
Then early this month daughter got invited to a Santa Lucia skating party by a new school-friend. "It's for families, too," she reported. With high-school kids it is rare to get to meet the parents of new friends; I didn't want to miss this chance but I could not face the embarrassment of wrestling at the rink with my bulky, recalcitrant hockey monsters. The time had come to get new skates. Where? I wondered. The answer, which should have been obvious to me by now, was Canadian Tire. It's always Canadian Tire. And Canadian Tire came through, with a sale to boot, so to speak. The Santa Lucia party was delightful, complete with good company and hot chocolate on tap. The ice cooperated (it only hit me once) and the skates fit perfectly.