It’s a Skater’s World: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
On the eve of their participation in the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, we ask Canadian figure skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir about the special places their travels have taken them.
Over their two-decade-long career, Olympic gold-medalists, silver-medallists and three-time world-champion ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir have called many corners of the globe home. The southern Ontario natives won Olympic glory in Vancouver, lived in Kitchener-Waterloo, trained for ten years in Michigan and have now relocated to Montreal, all the while travelling non-stop to compete or tour for fans. On the eve of their participation in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, we asked them about some of their favourite spots in the world.
Tessa: “We moved to Montreal two years ago, mostly because we wanted top-level coaching. We consider ourselves extremely lucky to live and train in the Saint-Henri and the Little Burgundy area. We hit the jackpot. To be in a city that’s filled with art and culture and fashion, we draw off that energy and apply it to the art we try to create on the ice. Add in some of the best food in the world with the Old Port and that European flair, and it’s a really spectacular place to be. I love Foxy on Notre-Dame, as well as Café Lali, where they also sell art. As far as shopping, Billie Boutique on Laurier is my go-to spot.”
Scott: “We went to the very northern tip of Scotland near the Orkney Islands not long ago, and it was one of the few times we travelled without our skates, for pure pleasure. We were there in May and it wasn’t warm, that’s for sure, but it was magical. We went on hikes, and the wilderness and the rocks were just stunning. We visited distilleries on the Orkney Islands and learned a lot; we stayed in Ackergill Tower on the edge of the sea… and we laughed so much. The people have a great sense of humour.”
Tessa: “We’re so lucky, because skating is extremely popular in Japan, so we spend a lot of time there. I still discover new things, though. For instance, just a couple of weeks ago a friend showed me a fabulous area of artisan boutiques behind Omotesando. I love having those unique pieces. Tokyo is a city of contrasts: historic temples and the most high-tech contemporary architecture – it makes for a vibrant cultural experience.”
Scott: “There are so many people, yet it’s so clean. Japan has to be my favourite. You can walk down an alleyway, and what looks like a hole in the wall can be the best sushi place or noodle house of your life!”
South of France
Tessa: “I went there with my mom after winning the world championships for the second time in 2012. Èze is a tiny, tiny village on the top of a mountain and it looks over the Mediterranean, where we sat and sipped rosé – it will always be one of my favourite memories.”
Scott: “I’m a sucker for Nice. I mean that whole coast is a fairy tale – you drive down and the sun is shining, you’re literally feet away from your death on the edge of a cliff, but you’re in heaven. It’s got all the qualities of France: great wine, amazing food, but with the best weather.”
Tessa: “Vancouver has such a special spot in my heart because of the 2010 Olympic Games. It has that laid-back vibe, it’s so approachable, it’s easy to manoeuvre, the mountain and water access, the cool boutiques in Gastown… it’s great. And it sounds funny to say, considering Tokyo’s on my list, but the sushi in Vancouver is amazing!”
Scott: “I have so much fun in Victoria. There are great little English pubs. Vancouver is a special city, but Victoria has such a different feel. It’s a small-town, island feeling – it’s quieter, but it’s pretty wild at the same time. The people are fun, it’s easygoing and so friendly. I love a pint and a plate of bangers and mash in a warm, cozy pub.”
Tessa: “How can you get any better than Paris? The iconic architecture, the Seine, the shopping. I’m a huge fan of the Musée d’Orsay, I love seeing the Degas, and even sitting and enjoying champagne in the restaurant is something so special. Père Lachaise is one of my favourite spots in Paris, just to wander. We used to have the privilege of competing there nearly every season, but when you’re competing it’s hard to fit in sightseeing. So I went back in the spring as a total tourist and stayed in Le Marais. I feel as if somehow my soul belongs in France.”
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