Every Friday in February from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the City of Brantford held a free Skate Party event at the heart of the city’s downtown, Harmony Square–located on 89 Dalhousie Street.
The evening started with a showcase performance from the Brant Skate Club and was followed by a registered skate event.
“If you haven’t seen the performance, it’s outstanding,” Jennifer Middleton, Coordinator of Special Events for the City of Brantford.
“It was a fantastic start to the evening, a highlight of the night,” said a community member.
Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud, silver medalist skaters in Senior Paris were involved in the show and started off the night with a figure skating performance to excite the crowd.
The Brantford community enjoyed a live DJ to create an upbeat atmosphere, skated under warm lights strung across the rink and took a break from skating by warming up with some free hot chocolate donated by Tim Hortons.
Attendees were welcomed to enter their names into a draw for prizes donated by downtown Brantford businesses, such as a gift basket, gift cards or branded clothing.
“This is our first year running it. Usually, February is a pretty busy month for us, but because of the provincial protocols, we were unable to host our regular events,” said Middleton.
Fortunately, the Skate Party allows the community to get together while still adhering to current COVID regulations.
Jenny, a party attendant, her daughters and nieces were looking for an opportunity to skate and found the Skate Party to be a great way to enjoy winter fun.
“We were looking for a place to skate and a place to have fun with the kids. There’s free hot chocolate, music and everyone is in high spirits,” said Jenny.
“My favourite part is the hot chocolate and skating in the lights with my cousins and sisters all night long. I am very excited,” said one of Jenny’s daughters.
Middleton believes it is essential for the city of Brantford to be eventful.
“The more events a city puts on, the stronger the community grows. When we host events in harmony square, we see the same families coming down and you build connections. Events uplift our hearts and bring the community together. We always like to say that we love to spread joy with free community fun and events.”
Another attendee of the event believes it’s important for Brantford to have community events like the Skate Party as it encourages the connection of Brantford citizens.
“I love to come out here skating with my kids. They’re all different ages, but skating is something they can all do together regardless of age. It’s important for Brantford to be eventful because we all come to this event sharing the love we have for our city and harmony square. Attending events makes our love for each other and our city grow more,” said the attendee.
Though the Skate Party events are over, students can still enjoy a party of their own on the rink. Middleton thinks harmony square is an excellent way for Laurier Brantford students to enjoy a break from their studies.
“We welcome Laurier students. We love Laurier students. Grab your skates and come on down,” said Middleton.
Regular free skate hours range from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily free of admission, with the rink closing for the season on March 9. In the summer, students in the Brantford area can look forward to full summer programming.
“Harmony Square is the place to be all year long,” said Middleton.