Monday, January 20, 2014

Does anyone remember ice skating at Belle Isle?

I remember as a child a great deal of my time during the winter was spent on the ice skating or playing broom ball. Broom ball is a sport similar to hockey only instead of a puck you chase a round ball and instead of ice skates you wear special rubber-soled shoes. Sometimes my friends and I would plan to meet at the ice arena in town. Other times I would head for a nearby pond and skate with whoever happened to be there. If I had a friend spending the weekend I might plan something adventurous -- such as skating along the river from our house to Lake St. Clair. It took some doing -- as it was more than a few miles to the lake and someone had to be around to drive us back -- but it was always worth it. It was a good workout and a great way to spend time with a friend.

Around here, I am told, Belle Isle was the popular spot for ice skating.

My mother-in-law said she loved spending the day there. On Saturday mornings (usually sunny Saturdays) she would wake up early and make a big pot of soup and a stack of meatloaf sandwiches. Then she and her children (all seven of them) would pack the car with their ice skates and picnic lunch along with a few warm blankets and a Thermos of hot chocolate and head to Belle Isle for a full day of ice skating.

I wonder?

Do people still go skating at Belle Isle?

If not, where do people go?


  1. We would skate there every chance we could. We would be dropped off there on Saturdays and Sundays and play hockey all day. We packed up hockey sticks, pucks and a shovel. You would clear your spot and have challenge hockey games against other guys that would show up. Polar Bear Gus would appear out of nowhere, in his bathing suit and just howl. We weren't quite sure what he was up to and kind of stayed away from him. You could warm up in the casino building and buy hot chocolate and a hot dog. Great Times! Would love to do it again.