With the temperatures in the previous week in the minus-42 range, Kendra Jones McGrath wasn't sure how many people to expect for the Lloydminster's inaugural kilt skate.
The great thing about Canadians, though, is we tend to be infinitely adaptable to the vagaries of winter. After a cold spell of 42 below zero, when the temperatures rise on the weekend to a balmy minus-11, well the weather seems almost tropical.
Look at how clear that ice is -- how you can see the depth of the pressure cracks. That's a sign that the lake at Bud Miller All Seasons Park froze quickly, before tiny bubbles could form to give the ice that milky white look you see when it freezes more slowly..
The Lloydminster kilt skate consisted of a small but dedicated group of aficionados who brought great enthusiasm to the first annual event. Kendra put the skate together on her own, without the support of the national organizers at the Scottish Society of Ottawa, or the financial contributions of the Scottish Government. For those or us who are trying to build a Canada-wide tradition to celebrate Sir John A. Macdonald and Scotland's contribution to Canada's multicultural heritage, this is a very big deal.
This is the first time that a community has has organized its Sir John A's Greaty Canadian Kilt Skate without any impetus from us. Kendra's inspiration came from the events she had heard about from her friends in other kilt skate cities -- and she decided this was a fun way to get her family and friends to get more enjoyment out of the Canadian winter. This is "organic growth" and it shows that the kilt skate phenomenon -- so distinctively Canadian and undeniably Scottish -- has the capacity to keep on growing.
Way to go, Kendra! We're looking forward to seeing the Lloydminster Sir John A's Kilt Skate continue in your community next year, and spread to other cities and towns across Canada in the years to come.