#Winter Fun – Wordless Wednesday February 1, 202368 Comments This post was inspired by a small exhibit my mother had at the library a few years ago titled Winter Fun. My mother often paints her memories, but many of our favorite winter activities have been popular forever. You can never build too many snowmen…. Real or….. ….on canvas. Outdoor skating party – 1902 – photo courtesy of the county archives. In an area blessed with lakes and rivers skating has always been popular, although it must have been difficult to skate in a long skirt and coat. I remember my dad saying he had saved up $5 to buy a pair of skates towards the end of the Depression. He was thirteen. My mother recalls a boy she liked asking her to go skating with him but she didn’t have any skates so she stayed home. Later that afternoon he went with another friend and drowned in the river. No wonder arenas are so popular here, especially now that the river never freezes over. The city used to have an outdoor rink but any dad will tell you how much work they are to maintain, especially during a mild winter. Skating on Lake Chipican – a small inlet off Lake Huron – photo 1961. The same lake today – but not quite as busy. Sometimes you see games of pick-up hockey, but often it isn’t cold enough to freeze other than a small patch near the shore. (My photo – 2022) Hockey on the Pond (2015) – with the family dogs. When I was a kid we used to skate on the pond behind the barn with my cousins. The boys would play hockey and we would pretend to be figure skaters. Me at age 6 – and are those corduroy pants? I remember being upset that I had to wear black boy’s skates, but by the time the arena opened in town I had white ones. The nicest thing about skating in the arena was listening to the music – all those great 60’s hits blaring over the loudspeaker. Note the wide open fields – once we skated all the way to the bush at the back of the farm when a layer of freezing rain/ice had formed on top of the snow. Another version of Skating Behind the Barn (2016) The Barn in Winter (2005) – behind the house was a large yard, where we would play fox and goose in the snow (google the rules) and build snow forts. I only remember the bus being cancelled once for a snow day….it must have been an exceptionally bad storm as we were off school for 3 days. Tobogganing was another popular (and sometimes dangerous) sport if there was a steep enough hill nearby. When I was a teenager I broke my tailbone on the slats of the toboggan when my neighbour who was pulling us with his skidoo went too fast and we hit a bump. After I had almost passed out from the pain, I ended up on the couch and missed a whole week of school. Winter Fun (2017) I remember an after-school tobogganing party in grade 8 in a gully with trees – it horrifies me now to even think about it. A small man-made hill in a nearby park (with a gentle slope and no trees in sight) still attracts a few kids. Including this little one with the neon-pink-glow-in-the-dark sled. Not sure who was having more fun, the kid or her parents! Horsing Around (2014) – On the day my mother and her family moved to their new farm in the country, it was snowing and bitterly cold. Looking out the window, she saw my dad and his brother coming up the lane with a team of horses to see if they needed any help setting up the wood stove. (The year was 1944, and tractors were not common yet, nor furnaces.) They were both 18 and eventually got married. I guess you could say she married the boy next door! On The Way to Gramma’s House (2014) – After a day spent outdoors there’s nothing like a cookie and a warm welcome at gramma’s house. How many more days until Spring Thaw (2005)?