Monday, 30 September 2013

Battle of the Blades 4

Last night, Suzanne and I attended CBC's live show of "Battle of the Blades Season 4". Last week was the introductory episode where all the skaters were introduced and interviewed. This week was the first week of competition.
Getting tickets was not easy. Suzanne learned that some were becoming available on Saturday. She bought them, only to learn that she couldn't pick them up at the box office of the arena but had to go to a TicketMaster outlet to pick them up. That sounds simple, right? WRONG!

As she purchased the tickets in the late afternoon, she assumed she'd be able to go to any TicketMaster outlet on Sunday morning. WRONG!

Evidently, of the 15 outlets in the greater Toronto area, only ONE is open on a Sunday. And it was located at Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket. For a while she accepted defeat and decided it was crazy to drive all the way from Brighton (where she spent the weekend) to Newmarket to pick up the tickets and then to Ajax (where she lives) and then to the show in the southwestern corner of Toronto. But then decided to go for it.

I got the message to meet at her condo in Ajax and 4:30 which would give us plenty of time for me to pick up Suzanne and drive through Toronto and possibly grab a bite to eat before taking our seats at 6:30. The traffic was actually not bad and we got to the area in only an hour. We found a wacky Polish/Irishpub, The Albatros in Lakeshore Village - a part of Toronto I've never explored.

The pub was completely decorated for Hallowe'en - tons of ghoulish things - even all the way back to the restrooms. I had an excellent hamburger and was pleasantly surprised when I asked for mustard to get authentic Polish mustard! Cool!
After dinner, we easily found free on-street parking just across from the arena and once inside, after mugging by the "Battle of the Blades" sign,
we quickly found our seats.
Once the ticketed people were seated after 6:30, the seats were filled by those who waited in line for seats all day. We moved over more to the centre for a better vantage point.
This put us closer to the judges, Kurt Browning, Jamie Salé and P. J. Stock. (I apologize for the graininess - flash photography was prohibited so there wasn't enough light most of the time)

If you look at the other side of the ice, you can see that there are 3 rows of people on the ice behind the lights, then about 8 rows of people in chairs on bleachers behind the boards.
The show started promptly at 7pm where it was broadcast live to the Atlantic provinces and tape-delayed across the other time zones in Canada for local starts at 8pm.

This is the third year Suzanne and I attended. We went the very first year (2009) when it was held at Maple Leaf Gardens. That was shortly before the Gardens was closed and a big Loblaws grocery store was opened. The next year BOTB was held on a sound stage in the southeast corner of Toronto. We didn't attend the third year and last year there was no show due to cost-cutting by the CBC.

It's a lot of fun for only $12 admission fee. It's unfortunate that getting tickets is such a pain in the ass. Thanks, Suzanne, for all your efforts getting our tickets yesterday.

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