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Bold: Adventuring on the Ramsey Lake Skating Path

Ramsey Lake is the jewel in the crown of Greater Sudbury. paid a visit to the skating path to find out what draw folks to glide along its surface every winter

There might be only a couple of weeks left, but for hardcore skating fans, it means there is still time to enjoy the Ramsey Lake Skating Path in Sudbury. 

It's one of those things that adds to the quality of life in this Northern Ontario mining city where participants can enjoy their sport and non-participants can be amazed at the sight of scores of skaters whipping along the northwest shore of the lake in the heart of the city.

The skating path runs nearly 1.5 kilometres from the Sudbury Canoe Club to the bay at Science North. The city's website said the extension to Science North is closed this year because of ice conditions. 

It's nice when the sun is shining but even when it's overcast and windy, you will see the avid skaters, legs pumping, arms swinging, swishing hard on those tempered carbon-steel blades, biting into the ice. Occasionally you will see a skater wearing those professional-looking speed skates, similar to what you see at Olympic events. These skates are made in a way to keep the blade on the ice longer, providing more traction. 

But it is the desire; what's in the heart, that drives so many Sudburians out onto Lake Ramsey so often said some of the skaters we spoke to.

"I love coming out here. For me, it's a great workout," said Bruce Wrightsman, who aside from being a long-time citizen of Sudbury is also a professor at the McEwen School of Architecture. 

He said he is a semi-retired runner and finds that as an exercise, skating is easier on the body for an older person.   

"Ice skating is a lot better on my joints. We'll just say it's a good workout for my hips and legs and stuff like that. I just, you know, enjoy getting out and getting a good workout," said Wrightsman.

It was almost the same for three younger people who couldn't wait to get out on the ice on a sunny Sunday, just because it was there. 

Szabo Aulenbach, Griffith Roberts and Avery Bernier are three students from Alexander Public School in Sudbury who were having as much fun as the older and more accomplished skaters on the path. And they weren't even skating. They were "booting", sliding on their boots, seemingly without a care at all for their unconventional style.

"I was basically just hanging out with them. They asked if they wanted to come here. So I just said yeah", said Avery.

"And yeah, we're into booting, " she laughed and all three students said they could indeed skate but because they were near the path, they weren't going to miss the chance to go sliding along.

Jo-Anne Dupuis of Sudbury said she likes to get out to the skating path five or six times a winter. She said the nice weather is one thing that she enjoys but the skating itself is also good for much more. 

"I like the nice sunny weather, the warm temperatures, of course. Plus, I need a little bit of a mental health day to myself. So I thought this was a perfect opportunity," she said.

Dupuis added that the sunshine and the good exercise was uplifting for her. She admitted she almost stayed home. 

"I'm very happy I came out. I procrastinated. I am quite an active person. And for some reason today, I procrastinated. But it was meant for me to be here, and I'm very glad that I did this."

Ethan Moggy was also pleased to get out skating and said it was partly because his mom, Lindsay Moggy encouraged him to join her out on the path for some exercise.

"I always like skating. I like playing hockey. So, it's not as good as playing hockey. But it's still you know, getting out and getting the skates on. It's fun," said Moggy. 

He added that the exercise and fresh air is something that helps him sleep better once he gets home.

In the past the skate path has opened in mid-January and usually continues to be open until mid-March depending on weather conditions, or when the natural lake ice is no longer safe.

Residents are encouraged to keep checking the city's website for updated information.

Len Gillis is a reporter at Bold is made possible by our Community Leaders Program.


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Len Gillis

About the Author: Len Gillis

Graduating from the Journalism program at Canadore College in the 1970s, Gillis has spent most of his career reporting on news events across Northern Ontario with several radio, television and newspaper companies. He also spent time as a hardrock miner.
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