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For the novice skater, going for a spin on a city rink these days can become a death-defying adventure.

On weekends, popular rinks are crowded with experienced ice-worshippers racing around at heart-stopping speeds.

Teenagers jump on and off the ice on a whim and five-year-olds seem to zip around as if they were born with skates on. Fuelling the fast and furious skating frenzy is usually the latest chart-topping song being played at eardrum-popping level.


If you're looking for an alternative to the hustle 'n bustle of city rinks there is a place in Canada. It's called Cedarena and it can be found in the City of Markham; just thirty minutes north of Toronto in Ontario.

There's a sense that you've taken a step back in time as soon as you begin the short trek down a dirt trail leading to a cottage-like dwelling nestled between trees.

The scent of hot chocolate and the warmth of a wood-burning stove, the only heat source in the cottage, greet visitors upon entry.

After paying a nominal fee, it's time to lace-up. No need for lockers here. Just like the old days, shoes are tucked under old, scuffed wood benches and bags are hung on nails around the well-aged walls.

Cedarena -- Where Skaters leisurely skate to gentle tunes from the 40's and 50's.

Outside, two steps lead down to the oval hockey-sized rink encircled by boards.

Skaters leisurely skate to gentle tunes from the 40's and 50's, as well as the occasional waltz. Couples of all ages are seen skating hand-in-hand as if in a romantic trance. Children are left to skate on their own without fear of getting lost or being trampled.

Cedarena -- Along with the hot chocolate, a concession sells coffee, donuts and steaming hot apple cider that was made to sip slowly on the large deck facing the rink.

Built in the late 1920's by the hamlet of Cedar Grove in Markham, the charming Cedarena provides a glimpse of what skating rinks were like decades ago. It's a natural rink that is cleaned and re-flooded nightly.

Location of Blizzard

It was that untouched, vintage look of the rink that caught actor LeVar Burton's eye while scouting for locations for the feature film he directed, Blizzard.

This family movie, released in 2003, follows the story of a lonely, young figure-skater who finds a friend in a cute, animated reindeer, Blizzard (voiced by Whoopi Goldberg) after she moves to a new town.

Visiting Cedarena

If you're planning to visit Cedarena bring your own skates as there are no rentals on the premises.

Getting There

Take the 401 East to Markham Rd; turn north to Steeles Ave; turn east on Steeles; go to Reesor Rd; turn left and go north for about 1km.

The rink is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday for evening skating (7.30-10pm) and Sunday afternoons (1-4pm).

Tuesdays evenings (7.30-10pm) are reserved for adults only.

Admission is $2.50 for 15 years and younger and $5 for 16 years and older.

Free and ample parking.

Keep in mind that Cedarena is a natural rink, so if the weather is too warm skating will not be permitted. To find out about skating conditions: Call their hotline number at (905) 294-0038.

By AP Rodrigues.

Additional Credit:
Thanks to Gary Mount for updating us on the admission changes.

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