Penticton’s Glengarry figure skating celebrates 60

Glengarry Figure Skating Club celebrates 60 years of developing skaters on Saturday.

DEVELOPING QUALITY SKATERS has been part of the success that the Glengarry Figure Skating Club has enjoyed during its 60 years. Angelina Veltri

Sixty years of developing skaters is being celebrated by the Glengarry Figure Skating Club on Saturday at McLaren Arena.

To commemorate the occasion, the club is having a free public skate from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. There is also a fundraising skate-a-thon from 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. Cake and warm beverages are being served.

Lisa McEachern, spokesperson for the GFSC, said everyone with the club is excited.

“They are very proud to be a member of a club that has lasted so long,” she said.

McEachern is excited to show off the club’s historical background, putting in time digging through the Penticton Museum’s historical archives for articles and photos with assistance of staff.

Dale Wood, a former member and coach at the club during her time as a skater from age eight to 17, said it was very successful and a big part of the community.

“It was huge,” she said, adding that there were between 250 to 300 members.

Wood said the popular winter carnival filled Memorial Arena. She credited the success that several skaters and the club enjoy to coaches such as Delores Causier, Darren Gillett and Mary-Diane Campbell.

Being part of the club was special to Wood because her parents didn’t have a lot of money.

“This was a privilege for me to skate,” said Wood, who competed in nationals in a pair with Ray Troyer and went to Toronto as a Glengarry Fours. “We were really a family. I just couldn’t get enough of skating.”

Gail Thomas was another member of the club during Wood’s time. Thomas loved her time with the club. She too loved skating and enjoyed the coaching of Causier.

“I think it’s pretty fantastic,” she said of Glengarry’s 60th birthday. “It’s unfortunate that the numbers have dropped off so much. There is so many activities for the kids to be part of these days. When I skated there wasn’t much else for kids to do other than hockey or figure skating.”

Her favourite memory was being involved in the carnivals.

“We used to do fabulous carnivals every year,” she said. “New costumes and great big line numbers. Group numbers. Everybody participated. All the people that had won competitions got to do solos. There was spotlights and the arena was filled.”

Enjoying the celebration this weekend will be coaches Trevor Buttenham and his wife Katerina, who will be hanging out with the skaters. He’s looking forward to the day as Saturday is typically a coaching day.

“It’s going to be nice to have the  kids out there. They get a chance to have fun,” he said. “We try to make skating fun. It’s nice to take those days where you can just go out and really enjoy what you do.”

With ice time being expensive, Buttenham said they don’t allows the skaters to play around. He said “this is a chance for them to do that.”

While the club brings awareness to its proud past, McEachern said their future looks good as their skaters are competitive.

“Hopefully we will last another 60 years,” she said, adding that there is enthusiasm with new skaters and the board is very active.

The club is hosting regionals in February.

Club notes: Sign up for their CanPower and CanSkate recreation programs starts in January. It is a 10-week intake from Jan. 6 to March 14.

People can register online at www.glengarryfsc.com/registration/ or call Trevor Buttenham at

250-486-0244.