Residents skate local bodies of water across Interior on Sunday

Skating on the channel

Sarita Patel

Due to COVID-19 restriction, there isn’t much to do this Family Day long-weekend but Kelowna residents made the most out of this week’s cold temperatures by skating the channel located across Tugboat Bay Beach on Sunday.

“This is the first time this has ever happened, it’s pretty crazy,” says Alex Robins whose parents have lived at the Sunset Waterfront Resort for the past 20 years. “I was so surprised when it froze … it’s so mind-blowing to me.”

While Steven Weeks and Jonny Deleurme got word from friend’s social media about the unique opportunity.

“We’ve never seen this before, so it’s a first for us,” says Weeks.

“I’ve never seen anyone skate out here, it’s cool,” adds Deleurme.

Weeks jokes about how in the summer he swam the channel but nothing like this. The boys along with some other friends found a puck on the side of the water and had some fun skating and passing the puck around under the Dolphins statue next to Waterfront Park.

“I think it’s really neat, it reminds of me of Bowness in Calgary where they skate in amongst all the ice down there same idea — it’s great,” says Natalie Wheatley, who’s lived in Kelowna since 1978 and has never seen the water freeze over.

Eric Stansfield lives in The Dolphins building which is right next to the water and says he watched the ice slowly form and for the last three days people coming by to test the ice.

“We’ve been here for three-and-a-half years and this is the first time in that timeframe that we’ve seen people out here with the skates and the puck and pulling their kids around sleds — it’s fun, it’s neat to see.”

Stansfield invited his daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter to experience the fun and safe to say dad was out of breath after pulling the young on a sled for around an hour.

It wasn’t just Kelowna that reaped the benefits of the cold weather. Photos sent into Castanet show residents of West Kelowna, Salmon Arm and Lake Country enjoying the ice — including one with skaters and a polar dip at the same time.

Robins, a hockey player for the Revelstoke Grizzlies, lives steps away from the channel and says his mother alerted him of the public on the ice which prompted him to lace them up himself.

“I think this is something years down the road I’ll tell my kids if I ever come by this I’ll be like, “I skated on this once” so it’s pretty cool.”

“It kind of takes everything that we’ve experienced over the last year and put it behind us for an hour, two hours ... for everyone out here enjoying today, you kind of forget about it,” adds Stansfield.

Warm weather is expected for the upcoming week meaning the ice might not remain solid for those who missed out on the Sunday Skate.

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