CONSTANCE BAY – The Constance Bay Skateway has ingrained itself in its community so completely, in such a short time, it now has its own logo.

Last January West Carleton Online reported on the trendiest recreation opportunity to pop-up in the Constance Bay community during the pandemic – a nearly 2.5-kilometre skating trail along the shoreline of the Ottawa River in Constance Bay.

The trail, created by a small handful of community volunteers who just kind of went with the flow when this year’s winter conditions aligned perfectly for the creation of the skateway earlier this winter, has only grown larger in popularity and stature as winter progressed and activity opportunities waned due to the pandemic.

This stretch of the Ottawa River was always a popular area for ice-fishing, snowmobilers, cross-country skiers as well as other activities not as easily described (we’ve even seen a photo of a skier being pulled by a horse).

The Constance Bay Skateway has brought out even more community members to an area, already dotted with small skating rinks along the shore. It gave skaters an opportunity to get a great skate in with the incredible visuals of the river community with the beautiful backdrop of the Gatineau Hills.

In these challenging times when all group recreational activities have been cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the skateway really struck a chord in Constance Bay. Thanks to Constance Bay resident Jennie Joly, the Constance Bay Skateway now has a logo.

“I really started by making a t-shirt for myself,” Joly told West Carleton Online on Family Day (Feb. 15) from her backyard which overlooks the skateway. “I started watching some older movies like Meatballs with Bill Murray, and I really liked the style of t-shirts the camp counselors wore. The skateway is really fun. But I didn’t know if we called it the Constance Bay Skateway, is it the Bailie Avenue Skateway? I saw a post on Facebook that called it the Constance Bay Skateway, so I started to play around with the logo and I loved it. I sent it to my dad, because he has Facebook, and asked him to post it to the Constance Bay community group, just to show my love. Immediately people started to contact me to make them extra shirts, so I did.”

Joly says the logo idea came from some people very close to her.

“I actually thought of my kids skating and what they look like,” Joly said of the process. “They have the helmet and the skates, and they are not perfect, so I actually found the design and purchased it for commercial use and did the rest of the design myself. It’s a fun representation of young kids on the skateway.”

And now Joly is in the clothing business, and it’s caught on with the community.

“My dad sends me screenshots of people wearing the swag,” Joly said.

She also partnered with young Constance Bay clothing entrepreneur Mackenzie Aldis who founded the BayLife line of clothing.

“It’s kind of the first time ever I made something that had that kind of reaction,” Joly said. “So immediately Phil (Aldis) and Mackenzie contacted me, asking how I did this. I learned a lot through Makenzie, she’s wonderful. So, we tried to come up with a way we could collaborate. In the end, Mackenzie decided sweatshirts is what she wanted to do. I really wanted to kind of keep the creative control of the t-shirts, because I like using the different colours like the dark blue and the neon, I find it pops. She really wanted to use the blacks and greys. I said that’s fine, let’s try to find something that works. Every shirt that’s gone out has been more or less different, unless someone has made a special request. But I like that they are all colours you can also wear in the summer, they’re fun, neon-y.”

Joly and her family live on the shoreline a stone’s throw from the Constance Bay Skateway and she’s so happy those hard-working volunteers made it possible. The skateway has taken on a life of its own.

“Absolutely, it’s so fun,” Joly said. “We’re on it at least once or twice a day, whether we’re on it with the kids or by myself and we have used it to every capacity. It’s inspiring to see the amount of people on it. I love the sense of community. As you skate, you meet your neighbours, within social distancing of course. It’s another way to meet people outside, so it’s been wonderful. I’m so incredibly happy, and I hope we’re able to do it every year. I don’t know if Steve (Platthy) knows what he’s created, but I know there are people who would love to see a festival next year if we can. Our own little Winterlude in West Carleton on the ice. I know there are lots of people who would like to see it again and would contribute to next year.”

If you are interested in getting your own Constance Bay Skateway branded gear, you can contact Jennie Joly at jennie.joly@gmail.com.