skating the canal – a dream come true
Patricia Sanchez and Jono Partridge photographed in Confederation Park.
Ice skating is a passion and a profession for Patricia Sanchez and Jono Partridge. Both are skaters with the Disney on Ice “Frozen” North American tour. Although Ottawa was not a scheduled stop, this lovely couple took one day from their busy calendar to visit our city.
Patty, from Madrid, Spain, had spent five consecutive summers in Ottawa, as a teen, learning about our country and studying English. Her dream was to one day return in winter and skate on the canal, as well as to visit her host family and friends and, of course, to show off the nation’s capital to her skating partner and boyfriend, Jono, from London, England. We spent a couple of fun hours with them, and were mesmerized by their jumps and twirls as they skated happily on the world’s longest skating rink. We got a fascinating insight into what it is that captivates both returning visitors and first time tourists to our great city!
© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project
When asked what they most liked about Ottawa, Patty recalled the first time she visited the city, as a young teen, and asking for directions to get to her English academy. She asked one person, who in turn asked another and another, until a group of people accompanied her safely to her destination! As she says, “By the time I arrived at the reception desk I was with eight people who helped me find it. I will never forget that day!” Jono was also drawn to Ottawans’ kindness. “This was my first experience in Canada, which I’d heard so much about. The typical Canadian is seen to most foreigners as being polite, courteous and kind. The residents of Ottawa really lived up to this and it made my first experience a thoroughly enjoyable one.”
The Rideau Canal definitely exceeded their expectations. Both have skated on numerous icy surfaces but the feeling of “openness” that it allowed them was unforgettable. As Jono explained, “This was such an amazing adventure which really can’t be put into words. It was my first ever experience of a naturally frozen canal. It took my eyes a while to believe what they were seeing! The other surprising thing is how great the quality of the ice surface was. I had always been told that natural outdoor surfaces aren’t great but once I stepped onto it, I found that I could glide far further with one push that I could dream of doing on almost all the man-made ice rinks I had ever skated on.” Patricia, on the other hand, had seen the canal countless times, but surrounded by flowers and trees. “I just loved it! I used to skate indoors during my summers here and would always be told to come to the canal in the winter. After spending five summers in Canada, I finally got the chance to skate on it. It was my dream come true!”
As was to be expected, Patty introduced Jono to BeaverTails! He recalled later, “I was feeling full from lunch but Patty was trying to convince me to get one. I told her that I was still feeling extremely full so we should get one to share and I would just have a few bites. After my first bite, I realised how good it was. The next time I looked down at the BeaverTail, I had eaten most of it and had to pull out a great apology as to why there were only a few bites for Patty left!”
Thank you, Patty and Jono, for posing for our loveOttawa camera and sharing your fond memories. We hope to see you again soon, so that you may experience the exhilarating “feeling of skating on what seems like an endless ice surface with the wind behind you!” And, perhaps, while eating a BeaverTail!