Category Archives: durham

The Most Classic of All Canadian Experiences

There are many things Canada is known for – mounties, moose, igloos (yes, I jest), etc. – but this weekend, I experienced the ultimate of Canadian activities. I was invited to spend the night with my friend at her house in the Durham Region (sort of like our “county” in Houston) about 40 minutes outside of Toronto. We had planned to have her boyfriend grill his fabulous steaks, drink some wine, watch “Sex and the City” and cause general debauchery. We also watched her dog eat corn straight from the cob. Normally I would say “only in Texas”, but in this case, it’s “only in Durham”.

The next morning, her son had hockey practice, so after having homemade pancakes with Nutella (thanks Rob!), we bundled up and headed to the arena. When we pulled up, there were about 1,000 SUVs in the parking lot with both parents and kids hauling their 200 lb bags of hockey gear and sticks in and out of the arena. When we walked in, scores of people were rushing around and the temperature was about 5C. There were 4 pads of ice in total. On one side, the figure skating pad filled with – no kidding – 3 year olds who appeared to be barely walking but with these itty-bitty tiny skates glued to their feet and helmets on their head. They were holding onto orange pylons and scooting slowly around the rink. Seriously, I think Canadian children come out of the womb with skates on their feet. There’s really no other explanation.

On the opposite side of the building were the hockey ice pads. These tiny little boys looked just like the pros but were all of 5 or 6. It felt like the entire town was at the arena that morning and I was told that the same scenario was happening all over the GTA that day, like every Saturday. Once hockey begins in September, practice and games are a weekly event that occur until April of the following year. Holy crap — that’s a lot of weekends spent bundled up in North Face drinking Timmy Ho’s. Not to mention, it’s not exactly cheap for your kid to play hockey, averaging $450 just to join the team and not including equipment, travel, etc. Wow.

While we were waiting for my friend’s son to change into his gear, we scurried over to the ubiquitous Tim Horton’s to get a coffee – the MOST Canadian of all Canadian institutions. There must be more Tim Horton’s coffee consumed per capita in Canada than all the Starbucks in the universe combined. There is literally not an hour that goes by without seeing someone holding a Tim Horton’s cup in hand. I’m convinced they spike their coffee with something to make you come back for more (crack?)

By the way, did I mention the very good looking dads at the arena? Definitely the place to spot hot guys. But I digress. Once we got back to the arena, practice was starting so in we went. It was, of course, even colder inside and I had stupidly only brought my light scarf and coat. So there I sat – in Whitby, Ontario on a saturday morning, Tim Horton’s in hand, watching little boys and girls play hockey and ice skate at the local ice rink. It was one of my most memorable Canadian experiences.

1 Comment

Filed under durham, hockey