With spring on the horizon, time is running out for Ottawa skateboarders to take advantage of an indoor park in the Aberdeen Pavilion. 

Birling, an Ottawa-based skate shop, has teamed up with the City of Ottawa, to create a space for skateboarders to practice their skills every Tuesday and Wednesday evening until March.

Kyle Robertson, one of the four owners of Birling, personally understands the struggles of not being able to participate in the sport during the winter.

“As someone that’s grown up in Ottawa, it’s very hard to skateboard during the winter,” Robertson said.

The pop-up park features constructed obstacles funded by the Ottawa Skate Association, including ramps and everything else necessary to continue practicing where skaters left off in the warmer months. 

Skaters must reserve a slot for “sessions” which happen in three intervals on the specified evenings: 5 to 6:20 p.m., 6:30 to 7:50 p.m., and 8 to 9:20 p.m.

“This whole project was spearheaded by my business partner Adam, who also sits on the board of the Ottawa Skate Association, but is now city-run,” Robertson explained. 

Jeanine Anderson, program coordinator for Lansdowne Park, has been overseeing the project, including staffing, scheduling and day-to-day coordination on behalf of the city. 

“A lot of cities have indoor facilities for summer sports. There are indoor options for people to play racquet sports. There are indoor options for swimming. It’s not uncommon. This program is a little bit unique in that it requires a large space with flooring with a certain level of durability,” Anderson noted.

An inside look into the free skateboarding sessions occurring at the Aberdeen Pavilion. (Video © OttawaRecCulture on Youtube)

Makenna Ruddy has been skateboarding throughout her teenage years and is a member of the Birling skate team. 

“The community is encouraging and supportive, and if you are a beginner the community is always looking to help you along,” Ruddy said.

The free skateboarding sessions even include a prioritized time slot for women, girls, and gender-diverse folks, coinciding with Birling’s philosophy when it comes to skateboarding.

“I would like to think and believe that Ottawa’s skate community is … open to accepting skaters of all abilities, genders, and races. So that’s what I would say is a strong point for Ottawa,” Robertson said. 

“I love being a female skateboarder because we are such a small group and it doesn’t matter your age or skill level, the girls are completely inclusive and supportive. Skate girls know no limits,” exclaimed Ruddy.