The brave (and bundled-up) will inherit the Beach

Cold enough for ya?

All this consistently cold weather has been an unavoidable reminder about the nature of the country we live in. Sure, the grumblers will curse under their breath, the climate change deniers will spout their nonsense, and a lot of people will choose to stay inside for a Net­flix marathon over heading down to brave the wind chill at Kew Beach.

But I would like to salute those few hardy, hearty souls I see out on the waterfront regardless of the hysterical hyperbole broadcast by the weather forecasters. Carry on, brave lovers of the outdoors, you truly embody the spirit of a northern nation.

During the Beach Village BIA’s Family Day Sunday event, I saw smaller crowds than normal, but those who bundled up to face the extreme cold were rewarded with appreciative performers and a gloriously sunny day. Down on Kew and Balmy beaches dog walkers, dogs, and bipedal walkers converged on the icy shore, taking in a sneak preview of the Winter Stations, an art/architectural installation celebrating the embracing of the season.

And the beach itself, well, it’s hard to describe the beauty of a frozen shoreline to those who haven’t seen it themselves. Suffice it to say, if ever one were inclined to take in the changes wrought to our familiar shoreline by ice and cold, this is the year to do it. It’s not every year we get such consistent cold temperatures, and there haven’t been massive ice formations like those on the beach for around a decade.

Not content to check out the art or simply go for a walk in a winter wonderland? Well maybe some activity will get the blood pumping.

Kudos to the skiers regularly seen gliding alongside the boardwalk. Your dedication to your sport, despite the sometimes less than ideal conditions, and the canine landmines, is inspiring.

For those looking for some serious Canadian tradition, there’s no shortage of outdoor natural ice rinks for skating and shinny – in fact, there are more rinks this year in the East End than there have been in recent memory. From the newest at Stephenson Park, to the most organized at Fairmount Park, to arguably the most scenic rink in the city in the Glen Stewart Ravine, there’s a rink not too far away from almost every neighbourhood in our coverage area. Check out our map of local rinks at beachmetro.com/2015/01/27/map-east-skating-rinks/ to find one near you.

Looking for something with a bit more adrenalin? How about tobogganing? Any kid can tell you all you really need is a hill (a short one will do if you’re not close to the Cassels Avenue Playground slope or the waterworks hill – even the Main Street bridge embankment sees lots of sliding action after a snowfall), a sled (a garbage bag or large piece of cardboard will work as a substitute), and the willingness to climb back up the hill once you’ve reached the bottom.

Even if you’re not interested in fully embracing the cold and snow, the least you can do is tolerate it, if only for the benefit of any kids in your vicinity who haven’t yet learned to hate the cold. With any luck, they’ll be out on the beach in 20 years, bundled up and loving the best the Beach has to offer during every season, instead of growing up with the belief that complaining about the weather is the official national sport.


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