The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Canada 150 Skating Day

Rideau Hall, Saturday, March 18, 2017



Good afternoon, everyone!

I’m so pleased to welcome you to our beautiful new winter pavilion and newly refrigerated ice rink for this Canada 150 Skating Day announcement.

What could be more fitting than announcing this new initiative at Rideau Hall, where Canadians have been taking part in winter activities for so much of our history?

That includes on this very ice rink, where in the last 6 weeks alone, we have welcomed more skaters than ever before in an entire winter season. As part of celebrating Canada’s 150th, refrigerating our historic rink has extended the skating season and has provided access to more Canadians than ever before.

I’ve been a skater my whole life. In fact, one of the earliest acts of kindness I can remember occurred when I was a teenager playing hockey in my hometown of Sault Ste. Marie.

Our team was pretty good, and I remember one winter’s day my teammates and I learned that a scout for the Toronto Maple Leafs would be coming to watch us play.

To the Senators fans in the crowd today: please bear with me!

Back in those days, I had never owned a new piece of hockey equipment. But when word got around that a Leafs scout was in town, the owner of a local sporting goods store came to me and said, “I have something for you.”

It was a brand new pair of skates.

I scored three goals that night. It was all in the skates. Scarcely a day has gone by that I haven’t thought of his act of kindness.

And I’ll never forget the feeling of taking to the ice on those new skates.

Skating is part of who we are. It’s part of the social fabric of Canada.

It brings people and communities together. It’s part of a healthy and active winter lifestyle. It’s a thing of beauty.

This is why I’m so pleased to that December 10 of this year will be Canada 150 Skating Day.

On this special day, rinks and arenas right across the country will provide free access, allowing as many Canadians as possible to get out for a skate together.

I would like to thank all those who are participating, and I encourage communities and rinks that aren’t yet involved to consider taking part in this great event. I would also like to thank Rogers Communications and Skate Canada for their support and leadership in this initiative and for bringing skating to communities right across this country.

Canada 150 Skating Day is a wonderful initiative, a fitting birthday present for Canada and a fine tribute to skating in our country.

Thank you for making it happen, and for being here today.