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figure skating

Ready, Set… Go!

Halifax hosts the 2011 Canada Games—the biggest sports event in Nova Scotian history

By Christina Copp and Trevor J. Adams

In February, all eyes will be on Halifax as it hosts the Canada Games. Running from February 11 to 27, the Games will be the largest multi-sport competition in Canada in 2011.

Sports fans have lot to look forward to during the Games. “Essentially, [there are] 20 different sports, so it’s like putting on 20 national championships over 18 days,” says Melissa MacKinnon, director of communications for the Games. She suggests that outdoor sports fans head over to the long-track speed skating at the new Oval on the Halifax Common. Admission is free.

All of the events at both ski venues are also free for fans. A 45-minute drive northwest of Halifax, Martock in Windsor hosts cross-country, biathlon and snowboard competitions Freestyle and alpine skiing take place at Wentworth, an 80-minute drive north.Other highlights include gymnastics, badminton and synchronized swimming at the new Canada Games Centre in Clayton Park, hockey at the Dartmouth Sportsplex and Halifax Metro Centre and boxing at the Halifax Forum. A 40-minute drive west of the city, the St. Margaret’s Centre in St. Margaret’s Bay hosts short-track speed skating and figure skating. The Metro Centre also hosts the opening ceremonies.

The party will continue after the athletes’ days are done, too. “Celebration Square in Grand Parade will be the place to be each evening,” says MacKinnon. The concert venue in front of Halifax City Hall will feature acts like The Stanfields, Christina Martin and Matt Mays. Martin, a multiple Nova Scotia Music Award Winner, was one of more than 300 acts who submitted their names to perform during the Games cultural festivities.

“I applied to perform during the Canada Games because I want to be a part of this monumental event that is taking place on my home turf,” says Christina Martin. “After experiencing the excitement from performing at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this fantastic event.”

Games CEO Chris Morrissey is excited about the potential to bring Haligonians, athletes and visiting sports fans together. “Everyone can come together to celebrate athletic achievements while enjoying live entertainment that showcases Nova Scotia talent and culture,” he says.

Running from February 11 to 27, the Games embrace a wide variety of disciplines. For schedule and venue details, click here or phone 902-490-2011.

Weekend Roundup, April 30 to May 2

Mark the coming of May in the traditional style of our ancestors: laughter, fun and celebration. This weekend, Toronto invites you to take your pick amongst skating, musicals, tours,  fine dining and more.

Friday: Kurt Browning and friends skate their way to Sears Stars on Ice (photo by Stephan Potopnyk)

Friday, April 30
Reach for the heavens while applauding at Sears Stars on Ice, where you can witness first-hand the art of figure skating as interpreted by such Canadians as Kurt Browning, Jeffrey Buttle and our beloved 2010 Olympians, Patrick Chan, Joannie Rochette, and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

Nosh on traditional public-house favourites like nachos or poutine at the Mill Street Brew Pub. Happy Hour goes late into the evening with a variety of artisan beers, wines and whiskies.

Mark the final day of Keep Toronto Reading month with a trip to a local public library. Attend readings by various authors of books, poetry and plays at the Diaspora Dialogues event.

Saturday: See Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate at the Stratford Festival (photo by Andrew Eccles)

Saturday, May 1
Indulge in the English canon’s finest at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, a short drive away in the picturesque town of Stratford. Enjoy productions of the Bard’s romantic comedy As You Like It, as well as the Cole Porter musical Kiss Me, Kate (itself an interpretation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew) and a magical staging of Peter Pan.

Dig into a hearty Mexican burrito at Hernando’s Hideaway. Or sample many other Mexican delights—faijtas, enchiladas, quesadillas, nachos and more—at this ebullient Old Town restaurant.

Discover the latest addition to Canadian painter Michael Adamson‘s abstract art oeuvre at his Moore Gallery exhibition, entitled Distant Relation.

Sunday: Elicia MacKenzie stars in Rock of Ages (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

Sunday, May 2
Catch the musical love story Rock of Ages in its second week of performances filled with rockin’ ‘80s hits like Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister.

Savour French cuisine at the brasserie-style Le Papillon on Front. Quebecois dishes like tourtière are a specialty, and the restaurant also boasts a huge menu of savoury crepes.

Take a stroll through Toronto on 100-plus tours as part of Jane’s Walk, which wends through the city’s diverse neighbourhoods. Indulge in the Black Creek community walk, peruse the Annex or grab a bite to eat in Kensington Market while viewing the city through experts’ eyes.

http://www.hernandoshideaway.com/home.html

Hot Date: Icy Spectacle

Kurt Browning shows off at Sears Stars on Ice (photo by Stephan Potopnyk)

APRIL 30 An evening of glittering costumes and gleaming blades is assured as Canadian figure skating luminaries including Kurt Browning, Joannie Rochette and Jeffrey Buttle hit the rink for Sears Stars on Ice. The famed skating showcase is marking its 20th year of bringing fancy footwork and top-quality choreography to more than 200 venues across the country, so expect a bit of extra lift in performers’ lutz leaps and more speed to their spins. Ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will also appear, fresh from their gold-medal performance at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Air Canada Centre, 7:30 p.m., $27 to $152; call 416-870-8000 or visit here for more details and to purchase tickets.