Torontonians strip down and skate for a 'good cause'

Christopher Kotsopoulos (left) and Nicci Sharpe (right) skate during the Polar Bear skate at the Bentway.  (CBC - image credit)
Christopher Kotsopoulos (left) and Nicci Sharpe (right) skate during the Polar Bear skate at the Bentway. (CBC - image credit)

Torontonians enjoyed the warm weather by stripping down to their bathing suits or underwear for a skate at The Bentway Saturday afternoon.

This was the non-profit's way of inviting Torontonians to both skate for a "good cause" and donate clothing to newcomers and refugees, and close the year in a wild way.

"The Bentway embraces the idea of an urban surprise," said David Carey, co-executive director of The Bentway, which manages a 220-metre, figure-8 skate trail under a busy expressway.

"We're here at this beautiful park under the Gardiner Expressway, this highway that everyone thought they hated. So the Polar Bear Skate is our way of leaning into the unexpected," Carey added.

Christopher Kotsopoulos and Nicci Sharpe started skating during the pandemic and took part in the Polar Bear skate to try "something out of the ordinary and something new," said Kotsopoulos.

The two also didn't mind not wearing clothing to skate.

"Surprisingly, it's refreshing," said Kotsopoulos.

CBC
CBC

Clothing Drive

The Bentway also organized a clothing drive during the skate to recognize the holiday season is meant to be a time for giving. The non-profit New Circles Community Services collected clothing for newcomers and refugees.

"The Bentway's a winter destination and skating is a Canadian tradition," said Carey.

"A lot of new Canadians have never experienced winter this cold before. So we're working with New Circle to equip them so they can experience winter in comfort."