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A review of Edmonton’s Silver Skate Festival

By Angela Kazmierczak

Edmonton’s longest running winter event, Silver Skate Festival, took place this year from February 11th to February 21st at Hawrelak Park. Even if you missed this year’s Silver Skate Festival, there’s always next year’s to attend. As I’ve learned, there’s a reason to experience this at least once in a lifetime. It’s also an excuse to explore the River Valley and it’s free.

From admiring art inside wooden tipis, building a fire, experiencing different cultures, skating on the city’s largest skating pond, learning about bears and foxes, gasping at blazing sculptures, sucking on jalapeño Cabane à sucre, to swaying to soulful jives, I found a heartwarming reason to attend during that one snowflaked day.

Though the event unites the Edmonton community and helps forge friendships with other friendly explorers, it’s mostly about passing traditions to the younger generation. That Hallmark realization makes people lengthen their stay and continue attending, explained a young man working one of the maple syrup trucks. 

A taste of what happened at Silver Skate Festival during the early afternoon, February 2022. THE NUGGET / Angela Kazmierczak

When next year rolls around, I recommend you and a friend or family member explore a few sites to start and try out urban poling, which involves trekking with walking sticks to engage the muscles. There’s also snowshoes to rent for 60-minute intervals. 

The teeth-chattering cold, dripping noses and frozen toes are also a part of the experience, unless you of course are smarter than me and walk to the massive fire pit near the pond or raise your hands over the fire pit between sites. 

That being said, gloves, a toque and winter boots are a must for this event, especially if the thermometer drops to a blowy -23 degrees Celsius. If you like getting lost in a story, the Elder Stories (near the Heritage Village) is also a must. If you like nature, this is your moment to silver skate your way through the River Valley. 

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