Olympic spirit encourages us to enjoy local winter sports

By: Guest Columnist

 | Feb 07, 2014 - 11:32 AM |
Yes, it has been cold out, but there’s something about winter that makes our city seem warm, even in the coldest months. As we settle in to watch the Sochi Winter Olympic Games this month and celebrate our athletes, I encourage everyone to get out and make use of the very facilities that inspired so many of our local athletes.

Skating, hockey, skiing, sledding, sliding ... the list of fun outdoor activities that a winter in Northern Ontario provides is endless!

For all of our local athletes – whether Olympic calibre or not – the first push off on skates or first glide on skis came on a local rink, lake, trail or hill. The same rinks, lakes, trails and hills we all continue to use today.

The Ramsey Lake Skate Path and Queen’s Athletic Skating Oval are great FREE venues to enjoy this winter. As well, Greater Sudbury has three downhill ski hills and a variety of cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. Follow the city on Twitter (@GreaterSudbury) for regular updates, or go www.sudburytourism.ca for a winter events calendar.

The city also has reasonably priced public skating at most arenas all week long, as well as public swims at local pools and memberships for sale at local fitness centres. Or join a cross-country ski club. Or take up snowshoeing, or ice fishing, or snowmobiling. They may not all be Olympic sports, but they are bountiful in Greater Sudbury, and they will get you active outside while having fun with friends and family.

Also at this time of year, Greater Sudbury is alive with many festivals, carnivals, special events, sports activities and so much more. There are all kinds of winter activities, games and great food the whole family can enjoy at all of these carnivals.

This month, the Walden Winter Carnival kicks off Feb. 6 at the T.M. Davies Arena, and the Minnow Lake Winterfest starts on Feb. 15 at Moonlight Beach. As well, Coniston Winterfest runs Feb. 7 to 9, and the Beaver Lake Winter Carnival runs Feb. 21 to 23.

The Pond Hockey Festival on the Rock runs Feb. 7 to 9. It’s a fun-filled weekend of hockey, skating, fresh air, food and plenty of hot chocolate the whole family can enjoy on beautiful Ramsey Lake.

In January, thousands of Greater Sudburians joined me in signing a banner encouraging our local Olympic athletes – Meagan Duhamel, Devon Kershaw and Rebecca Johnston. That banner was packed with support and well wishes, and will be displayed in the Canadian residence in Sochi as a reminder that our city stands behind our athletes.

And it is a reminder also to us that the same opportunities that were open to them in their formative years are also open to us. Winter is a time to enjoy family and friends in Greater Sudbury. Take advantage while you can.

Marianne Matichuk is mayor of the City of Greater Sudbury.

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