Roller skating is alive and well in Bala
FALL DOWN SEVEN TIMES, STAND UP EIGHT
Photo by Roland Cilliers
Kingsleigh Bynoe, 2, picks himself up after another fall at the Bala Arena's roller skate night on Saturday.
Photo by Roland Cilliers
The rollerskating nights at the Bala arena attract people of all ages.
MUSKOKAN - Roller skating is still going strong in Muskoka.
Three times a week at the Bala Arena, skaters both young and old come out to strap on the four-wheeled skates and try a few tricks on the rink. Roller-skating rinks were once common in cities across Ontario, but changing trends have turned them into a fairly unique attraction.
Greig Young, manager at the Bala rink, said they’ve been successfully holding roller-skating nights there for years.
“We used to do it four nights a week, but now it’s only three,” said Young. “We generally see seasonal residents here, but we have a couple here who are local. Most of the time we get seasonal residents of all ages.”
On Saturday night the rink had a wide assortment of skaters. There were young children trying to stand up on the skates and some significantly older and more experienced skaters.
Tanya Bynoe was out with her two-year-old son, Kingsleigh, as he worked to get comfortable on the skates. He was having a few difficulties standing up, but that didn’t stop him from trying.
“This is his first time roller skating and he’s determined,” said Bynoe. “He doesn’t want to leave. He keeps getting up.”
The energy level at the rink was kept high with classic ’80s rock ballads blasted from the speaker system. The attraction of roller skating seems to be the same today as it was 30 years ago — it’s a lot of fun.
Dean Soilleux, an experienced roller skater, was at the rink showing off his skills.
“I’ve been roller skating for close to 40 years now, and I’ve been coming here pretty much my entire life. I danced a bit when I was younger,” said Soilleux.
While Soilleux seemed to have no trouble moving quickly around the rink, and even performing a few tricks, the sport didn’t seem to come that easily for most of the new skaters in attendance. Many of the younger kids were uncertain on their feet even after several minutes of skating around.
What is certain though is that roller skating is as much fun for children today as it was three decades ago. There are lots of smiles to be found on the faces of skaters of all ages as they circle, and in some cases dance, around the rink.
The Bala Arena, located at 1009 Maple Street, is available for roller-skating on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
It costs $2.50 to get into the arena and another $2.50 to rent a pair of skates.