With the weather often being unreliable it can be tough to know if the lakes are ok for skating. Even if they are frozen the ice can be choppy, the snow might be difficult to plow through and if it is melting it can be a slushy affair.
There are times when it is nice to go to a rink and skate and there are plenty of them around the country. I found this great Ice Rink Guide where you can plug in your town, city or region and the database will give you a list of the rinks in the area along with contact details. Dare I say all the rinks have time set aside for public skating.
It is not quite like the days when we used to skate around the rink in Oakleigh, listening to the latest top 40 on a Saturday afternoon while checking out the guys (I was never allowed to stay for the evening session). There is no music here and it is hardly the local teens' idea of hanging out - or even picking up. This is a more serious stuff - people go to the rinks to skate and you see a real range of people. We were there a couple of days last week along with other families, dads with their kids, groups of young friends and hockey enthusiasts practising their shots. Times are divided during the week to allow for sessions with and without hockey sticks. So far it hasn't been a problem to be there while half the skaters have sticks and pucks, but you do need to keep your wits about you - especially if you have little ones - and there tend to be plenty of them wizzing about the place!
You can also do a search on this database for a hockey club or go through the list of clubs around the country - there are plenty to choose from.
If you love skating (or your kids do) and it is not hockey that is your cup of tea then there are also figure skating clubs that practise at the rinks. Take a look around on the noticeboards for information or check out the figure skating association's site or better still, this list of clubs.
Now that I have tempted you to get out on the ice I'm sorry to say this last weekend was the last of the open-to-the-public sessions. It is such a shame considering the spring we were in Canada we skated right through - whereas the Swedes seem to think March=spring=no more skating.
So we took the chance and took the kids to the rink during last week's school holidays - lots of fun! They love it and so do we. This was just their third skating session for the season - I'm kicking myself that we didn't get out earlier!! But the season starts again in October and before we know it October will be upon us again - here is how the kids did this weekend: