Will a roller-skating resurgence happen in Calgary?
Women fundraising to buy 200 pairs of rental skates so they can host pop-up public events
In February, the city's longtime roller-skating rink, Lloyd's Recreation, closed its doors, leaving Calgarians to spin their wheels about where to go for a good roll in the city.
Now, two roller-skating fanatics are hashing a plan to keep the sport alive in the city.
Kathleen Janzen and Theresa Tucci have launched a website and started a fundraising campaign with the goal of buying 200 pairs of rental skates so they can host pop-up events at various venues.
"It's the movement, it's the speed, it's that feeling of the wind blowing in your hair," said Janzen — who skated under the name Roxy Acetylene for roller derby — on what draws people to the sport.
"The people around you, the smiling faces — everybody can enjoy that. You can enjoy skating when you're six, you can enjoy it when you're 17, you can enjoy it when you're 60."
A fundraising event, Roller Skating is Staying Alive, is set for Sunday at the Chinese Cultural Centre (197 First Street S.W.) featuring a family skate from 12-6 p.m. and an adult skate from 6-10 p.m.
Lessons will be be offered and participants are asked to bring their own skates.
"There's joy and freedom and community connectedness when you're out there on the rink," said Tucci.
No longer having a dedicated rink in Calgary has left a hole in the local roller-skating community, which Janzen said has experienced a renaissance of sorts in recent years.
"It's taking on different forms," she said. "People are doing things like skating in skateparks, doing ramps and bowls. They're learning to jam skate, which is dancing on roller skates.
"I'm seeing all these activities come up, and now that we've lost a place where people can access it as a beginner, try it out and learn a few things, that's been a real loss. So we want to take away that barrier and make it easier for people to get into roller-skating."
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