VARSHA SRIGANESH / SPUTNIK PHOTOGRAPHY
Snowy evenings, frost bitten fingers and toes, rosy cheeks and red noses all mean one thing; winter is here in Brantford.
Harmony Square, the heart of Downtown Brantford, is made into a skating rink in the winter months. The Square, located at 80 Dalhousie St. opened for skating on Dec. 13 of 2019 and will continue to be in use for skating until March 21 of 2020. The Square is free admission and is open every day from 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.
Despite the freezing weather and mountains of snow falling from the sky, the chilly temperatures and typical Canadian winter doesn’t keep skaters off the rink.
Most nights people of all ages crowd the rink, calling and laughing to each other. This family oriented activity is suitable and fun for all. Members of the public join students of Laurier with the fun evening activity.
The rink is home to those taking their first glide on the ice, to people learning to skate and to skaters of all talents ready to show off their skills. The ice is never empty and is often seen being used by students and families.
Skaters who have not skated for ages have used the rink and loved it. People from young to old alike are all filled with joy as they use their skills and take part in the winter’s sport.
“Once I got on the ice, I thought to myself, ‘where have I been all this time? I should be on the ice more often,” said Laurier student Monica Van Ittersum, “it’s a good place for people to hold hands, learn to skate and have fun., it’s a judgment free environment.”
Lovers holding hands adorn the rink, keeping each other from falling, laughter twinkling through the air as a light snow drifts from the night sky. The light of the moon and Christmas lights illuminate the ice, the sharpened skate blades add a music cutting through the wind.
Children are howling with joy as they glide across the ice, some learning how to skate for the very first time. The crisp air chills the sky, and brings friends to huddle closer together for warmth as they struggle to stay balanced on the slippery ice.
Harmony Square is a public meeting spot for people to meet one another, enjoy company and make
lasting memories. Parents and children alike share memories that will dwell in their hearts. In the past, many lessons performed by parents to teach their children how to skate have been conducted at Harmony Square and many more will be held in the future.
“My wife and I foster children so I’ve brought quite a few children down to learn how to skate here,” said Pete Swanson, “it’s always great around Christmas when they’ve got the ice and the parade and everything going on down here … It is a great thing.”
An outdoor ice rink brings back a sense of old times, like living in a memory filled with nostalgia. A free skate for the community that brings everyone together is what Harmony Square promotes. The festive lights, cheery music from nearby stores and sounds of glee from Downtown Brantford are all focused on the Square.
Friends are easy to make when there is one thing everyone has in common; the love of the ice. Strangers talk to each other while lacing up their skates, soon turning to acquaintances and then to becoming friends. Adults, students and children all join in on the harmonious evenings and fun that will be made into memories.
“We’d like to come back here as often as we can during the winter, it’s a nice location, it’s bright, it’s beautiful with the lights and it’s got a really good sense of community,” said first time attendee and mother of children at the rink, Carolyn Freeman.
“The kids have already managed to make some little friends here, so I’m sure they’re going to build a lot of memories that way,” she said.