Sunday, February 19, 2012

Park It!

While running some errands downtown last week I decided to wander over to Stuart Park to see what was happening.   The outdoor ice rink that opened last winter has been getting rave reviews from my friends and neighbours and I was keen to check it out.

I picked a perfect day.  It was crisp, clear and sunny and the park, located right next to Kelowna Yacht Club on Okanagan Lake, was a hive of activity.  Not having brought my skates, I had to be content watching people of all ages, from children to seniors glide around a sheet of ice as smooth as glass.

A particularly cute couple caught my attention as they skated around the rink holding hands, while Taylor Swifts "Fifteen" played over the P.A.

On the lakeside promenade, skaters of a different sort sped along the boardwalk, some on roller blades, some on skateboards, dogs trotting happily along with them. Between docks in the Yacht Club Marina, a flock of feathered skaters toddled along the ice surface, appearing to walk on water.

Overseeing it all, was the Kelowna Bear, a lovely sculpture in my opinion, that looks quite stunning at night when the park is lit up.  The Bear has had it's controversy for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the artist is from Rhode Island, and not the Okanagan.

Whatever your thoughts on the bear, Kelowna's Stuart Park is part of a very vibrant area just north of the downtown core across from City Hall.  It's worth a visit in all seasons, but particularly in the winter when the ice rink draws the community and tourists together.

Afterwards a visit to Giobean Espresso,  just up the street for a warming latte would top off an afternoon of skating perfectly!  In fact, if you began your afternoon at the nearby Kelowna Art Gallery, you'd have yourself one heck of a date.

In the summer,  I've strolled by the park a number of times and watched the Okanagan Derby Dolls doing their thing.  Looks like fun, but I think it's a little out of my league.  For now I'll be storing my figure skates in the car, so I'm prepared the next time I find myself driving past.