Downtown Winnipeg parking lot to be transformed into outdoor disco roller rink

Dig out your best gold lame and bell-bottoms.

For one night only, an Exchange District outdoor parking lot is being transformed into a ‘70s inspired disco roller rink.

The free event called IllumiSkate The Night is rolling into downtown Winnipeg on Saturday as part of Nuit Blanche Winnipeg.

IllumiSkate is the brainchild of a trio of roller skating lovers, Signy Thorsteinson, Golda Ferrer and Jill Munro, affectionately known as the 3 Skate Sisters.

They originally met and bonded over their love of the sport through the Peg City Rollers Club.

“The Peg City Rollers actually formed in the midst of the pandemic, and I think that was the common ground was just finding some sort of freedom in the midst of isolation. We really do feel that freedom when we are on wheels,” Ferrer said in an interview with CTV Morning Live Winnipeg on Friday.

The trio came up with the idea for the event after seeing similar outdoor rinks pop up during the pandemic across North America, Asia and Europe.

According to Ferrer, IllumiSkate The Night will mark the first time Winnipeg has had an outdoor roller rink, although there was one at Riding Mountain National Park in the ‘60s.

However, the Skate Sisters are pulling inspiration for their outdoor rink from the Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace, an infamous Los Angeles rink that burned bright in pop culture in the late ’70s and early ’80s, only to be rebooted in 2022 at Rockefeller Center in New York .

Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace closed its doors in Los Angeles over 40 years ago, but left an indelible imprint on pop culture. It has since been rebooted at Rockefeller Center as an ode to its late ’70s glory days. (Source: Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace/Instagram)

Winnipeg’s one-night-only roller rink is being created on an outdoor parking lot at 116 Market Avenue East.

It is one of dozens of events and instillations taking over downtown Winnipeg Saturday as part of Nuit Blanche Winnipeg, a yearly celebration of contemporary art and culture.

Those coming out to skate are promised disco balls, plenty of thumping dance tunes, photo booths, and skaters adorned in their best glitzy, over-the-top ‘70s attire.

“We’re expecting about 80 skaters and whoever else wants to come. As long as you have a pair of skates, you’re welcome to join us on the rink. People that can’t skate can spectate,” Ferrer said.

– With files from CTV’s Joseph Bernacki

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