Lloyd’s roller rink closed 2018, but that wasn’t the end of skating in CalgaryIn the years since Calgary’s last-standing roller rink closed, Terry Roberts has taken to skateboard parks and trails around the city. But for him — it wasn’t just about roller skating — it was about the people.
“I can honestly say that everything that Lloyd’s brought us has carried on into my adult life, as well as everyone I know,” Roberts said. After the iconic roller rink closed in 2018, Calgarians sought out roller skating at pop-ups and workshops across the city.
And the people who organize those events say they’ve seen enough demand from Calgarians for roller skating that work is underway to open a new permanent location. That rink, slated to open in the coming months in southeast Calgary, will be called the House of Skate.
Roberts first laced up his roller skates when he was 13 — and now at age 64 he said he’s excited for what the new rink will bring.
“It’s a whole new generation. Everybody that was a part of Lloyd’s for all those years were a part of [owners] Lloyd and Flo’s culture. This is all going to be a new culture, this will be all new … It’s just a lot of people coming together to skate and socialize,” he said.
Theresa Tucci, co-founder of House of Skate and Calgary Roller Skate, said after Lloyd’s closure, roller skating culture in the city didn’t die, but it did go underground. Soon after the closure Tucci and her business partner Kathleen Janzen, who uses the skate name Roxy, started running roller skate pop-ups at gyms across the city.
Those pop-ups were mostly attended by veteran skaters looking for a place to skate. But during the pandemic the popularity of roller skating took off. “What happened there is people were looking for more recreational activities and there were some TikTok roller skaters that blew up. The resurgence in skating from that point — there was a worldwide shortage of skates,” Tucci said.
The proliferation of roller skating on social media, and it becoming prominent again in pop culture — roller skating was included in P!nk and Usher concerts — brought it back into the public eye, she said. “People were getting back into it from a long time ago or new people … were getting into skating.”
Janzen, co-founder of House of Skate and Calgary Roller Skate, said they heard loud and clear at pop-up events that there was huge demand for a permanent rink. “It’s going to give people a space to go on the regular to skate, to learn to skate, to meet new people and just to keep building that community that has brought so much to our lives,” Janzen said.