On a sunny February afternoon, the carillon called out from Parliament’s Peace Tower as kids and parliamentarians clipped their feet into cross-country skis.
Hosting the third annual cross-country Ski Day on the Hill a full 50 years after winning an Olympic gold medal in downhill skiing, Senator Nancy Greene Raine encouraged Canadians to become the fittest nation on Earth — a call to action as part of National Health and Fitness Day, which is June 2 of each year.
“Not everybody has the chance to alpine ski. Mountains aren’t always nearby — but we have snow all across Canada,” said Senator Greene Raine.
“My vision here is to show people that, with some tracks in the schoolyard, kids can get out and get active in the winter time.”
Set to retire from the Red Chamber in May, Senator Greene Raine is preparing to pass the torch on an issue dear to her heart — health and fitness. In addition to Governor General Julie Payette, senators Diane Griffin and Mary Coyle also attended the event.
“All Canadians of all ages should get outdoors and be active, as much as possible,” said Senator Coyle. “We can’t all be Olympians, but we can be inspired by them.”
Speaking of inspiration, Senator Griffin recalled one of her fondest ski memories.
“How about downhill skiing in Sun Peaks with Senator Nancy Greene Raine! Not that I could keep up with her! But I certainly learned a few tips and improved my technique,” said Senator Griffin. “I think when we live in a country with so much winter, it’s really the only thing to do.”
While Team Canada athletes are going for gold at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, who knows? Maybe Canada’s next ski legend just strapped on his or her skis for the first time at Ski Day on the Hill.