It's turned out to be a beautiful day for a kilt skate at the Old Port of Montreal. We're always at the mercy of the weather: last year, for example, Winnipeg had to be cancelled because the ice had melted; this year, Montreal had to be rescheduled because a winter storm walloped the city. But everything works out in the end -- and the ice at Natrel Skating Rink in the Old Port of Montreal was excellent.
Enjoying the freedom of gliding along the ice is one thing. Driving through the snow-bound streets of Old Montreal to get to the skating rink is quite another. There's a reason why the St. Andrew's Society decided to reschedule the Montreal kilt skate for January 20: last night, the heavy rains that had been soaking the city turned to a freezing drizzle as the temperatures dropped.
Overnight, the freezing rain turned to snow, and this morning, Montrealers began digging themselves out.
Drivers who had parked their cars last night on rainy streets, woke up this morning to find their vehicles buried.
I had come all the way down from Ottawa to take part in the 4th Annual Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate in Montreal. I didn't want to leave without at least trying to get onto the ice, so I trudged through the snow to the Natrel skating rink.
The amusement park at the Vieux Port was open for business, in spite of the storm, but some of the businesses were not likely to get many customers.
But most important for a kilt skater, the crews were at work clearing the ice at the Natrel Skating Rink.
The grooming went on throughout the morning and afternoon.
In high expectation that the rink would be open sometime this afternoon, I headed out with skates and hockey-stick saltire.
The original Montreal kilt skate was scheduled to begin at 2 pm. But by 2:15, they were still grooming the ice.
But just before 3 p.m., the skaters were allowed onto the rink.
Even the youngest got into the spirit of the kilt skate.
And the snow dogs made a guest appearance.
There were friends to be made.
And it turned out to be a great day for skating after all.
Bottom line: the St. Andrew's Society of Montreal made the right call when they rescheduled the kilt skate. It would have been very difficult to get people here through the snow for the 2 p.m. starting time. And besides, the ice wasn't available until 3 p.m. That being said, the Natrel Skating Rink is a terrific place to hold a kilt skate. It helped Montreal take the bragging rights as the Kilt Skate Capital of Canada for 2017.
And now that I'm back at my hotel on Rue St. Paul, I'm thinking it sure would be nice to join the St. Andrew's Society of Montreal for the event next week. It's going to be terrific, and I hope Montrealers will come out in great numbers.