Newcomers try skating at Charles Clark Square
The boards got a workout as much as the ice surface as newcomers to Windsor and indeed Canada gave skating a try Saturday at Charles Clark Square.
Only in the country for three weeks, Hamzah Qualyoubi laced up a pair of skates alongside his cousins Yazan and Zaid Qualyoubi.
While they clung to the railing for extra support they weren’t afraid to venture out into open ice.
“This is beautiful, it’s amazing,” said the 20-year-old Hamzah who just recently arrived from Jordan.
Nearby All Saints Church sponsored the popular afternoon skate for newcomers that attracted more than 100 participants.
“We’re overwhelmed but in a good way,” organizer Art Roth said of the crowd. “I didn’t know we’d have a mob like this.”
Fathers held the hands of skeptical toddlers as they gingerly stepped toward the frozen surface while moms watched from nearby.
“I am scared,” said Jenan Mikha when asked why she didn’t join her 11-year-old son Rami Shaya on the ice.
Mikha and her family came from Iraq four years ago but this was their first visit to Charles Clark Square.
“It’s a nice place, my son is enjoying it,” Mikha said.
Yazan’s family has been in Canada for three years. His father was volunteering inside the church for the event.
“This is awesome, now I know how to skate,” the 15-year-old said.
His 10-year-old brother Zaid was equally enthusiastic saying “this is one of the best winters I’ve had in Canada.”
Windsor West MP Brian Masse joined the crowd.
“I love skating,” the NDP member said. “Something like this does so much for the integration of youth. Some of these kids come from countries that have winter but they’ve never had the chance to skate before. This gives them that chance.” That’s the point, said Roth. “I like to think they feel a little more Canadian after trying it,” he said.