Celebrating Sir John A.'s Birthday

The purpose of Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate is to celebrate the birthday of the Father of Canada's Confederation and our first Prime Minister -- many would say the best. So what better time to go for a kilt skate than January 11.

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Unseasonably warm weather had closed the Rideau Canal Skateway, so instead, why not try out the new Canada 150 skating rink on Parliament Hill?

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The Government of Canada spared no expense in building a rink to help celebrate Canada's 150th birthday. It was capable of hosting NHL style hockey

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No indoor changing rooms, however -- not a problem when the temperature is climbing to 10 degrees.  The refrigeration coils keep the ice surface hard.

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Skaters book their 45-minute time slot.  The 5-5:45 slot seemed to be one of the quietest -- some eight of us skaters had the ice pretty much to ourselves.

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The skaters were outnumbered by other admirers of Sir John A. who, rather than skating to celebrate their hero, chose instead to gather every year on his birthday at his statue further up Parliament Hill -- where he looks across at the skating rink.

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Speeches are read; poems are recited.

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And each of us places a long stemmed red rose on the statue. 

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There's a lot of roses...

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And the effect can be quite striking!

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This was a tradition that began several years ago by Kevin MacLeod, who among his many distinctions, was the Chair of the Scottish Society of Canada, and a great champion of Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate. Kevin wasn't able to join us this year for the group photo.

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But afterward many of us headed down Elgin Street to a bar named in Sir John A's honour.

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And we raised a glass both to the 203rd birthday of Sir John A. Macdonald, and to the speedy recovery from medical procedures of our friend, Kevin MacLeod.  It was a great way to spend a birthday!

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