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There's nothing like outdoor skating
A project of CELOS
Find your outdoor rink
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See the list of rinks.
What makes rinks run well? See our animation.
For drop-in hockey and shinny times, see this schedule on toronto.ca (shows arenas as well as outdoor rinks): drop in hockey and shinny.
For women's shinny in the city, see this schedule pulled from toronto.ca Citywide Women's Shinny Hockey Times 2012-13
Rentals and lessons
Rink User Blog
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KEW Rink - Jan 12, 2013 - from Carl Dusome
I played shinny down at Kew this morning Sat. They scraped then flooded at 7:30am and we played at 8:00am. The ice was really good for the first half hour and then it snowed up pretty quickly. They still flood even on warm days and it only takes about ten minute to dry up. Could be the location ( a little cooler down by the water in the Beaches) or good compressers, but I think it's just really good maintenance. We had about 20 skaters. Rink maintenance down there is nothing but spectacular. We even played Fri. morning at 9:00am before it rained.
KEW Rink - Holiday hours - from Carl Dusome
No official reports on this but Kew Gardens in the Beach was open with a flood ( perfect ice) on Christmas day, boxing day and again today New Years day and the dressing rooms were open but no staff on site. The rink though was posted as closed. Just an early morning flood and rooms opened. Played shinny there all three days at 9:00am with about 15 skaters each day, followed by pleasure skating families.
Giovanni Caboto Sunday Dec.30 2012 From Relmar Boys
After 8pm the pleasure rink is shared with shinny players, so you get a lot of puck and stick action even if you're in only for some pleasure laps. Most of the shinny players are just practicing, shooting pucks etc, but it's a dexterity practice for skaters.
Saw parents and kids and some skating rookies trying their best not to get hit. Even when the shinny rink wasn't busy there were still people with sticks on the pleasure rink. The rink is not supervised, at least not on those hours.
Rosedale rink - Dec.27 from Sally Bliss
New mandatory equipment for skating on boxing day on City Rinks: lock cutters (even those posted on the city of Toronto website as 'open' during holiday hours). Rosedale Park was shut down last night when a group of us arrived for women's shinny from 9-10pm. Apparently the attendant left at 6pm. Some people hopped the 20 foot fence. My friend who grew up in the Czech Republic looked at the rink through the chain links and said, "This is what Communism was like."
Harry Gairey Rink - Dec.14 2012, from Josh S.
The problem with getting anything changed about how the rinks are run is that once someone has made a decision at the parks department it seems like it can be quite difficult to get them to change their minds. As i mentioned in my email earlier i spent a fair amount of time last year dealing with people from the parks department. Even finding out who i should call took a protracted effort. I forget her name but the regional manager or whatever her title was, who is in charge of several rinks in the area was the brick wall i ran into. There was no communicating with her
Ramsden rink: Thursday December 13, 2012, from William Lam
Last week at Ramsden Rink, a rink staff person told everyone at Adult Shinny to wear helmets the next time they played. Most everyone murmured to each other that they would do so (whether they meant to or not). Last night at Rosedale the single rink staff on duty confronted me as I arrived at the rink. She asked me very strongly whether I had a helmet. When I told her I did not she was very insistent that I and all the others had to play with helmets or that the next time we came without helmets she said we might not be allowed to play (!).
I told her that I sincerely doubted their ability to enforce this and to make players comply and that at Dufferin this is not enforced and hasn't been for years. She said that she would normally let us play at our own risk, but the City supervisor for the rinks would be coming to do inspections. What was she to do if the supervisor saw that they were not enforcing the policy? I asked then if there would be repercussions for rink staff and she was not at all sure.
She then said she was going to kick all the players off the rink at 10pm. This is when the rink closes, but the lights remain on for a longer period and, over the past few nights I have played, the other rink staff have been good enough to let everyone play on. At Dufferin, the rink staff allow users to play on unsupervised time from 9pm-11pm on the pleasure skating side during the permits on the hockey side and until the lights go off. I wonder why this can't happen here as long as rink staff don't mind putting the nets up and locking the rink later than 10pm.
The rink was quite busy during Adult Shinny -- quite a contrast to the past week with barely 6-8 players showing up. Now there were roughly 30 players and a goalie. At 9:45pm the same rink staff lady came on the ice and shouted that there was 15 minutes left until she locked the rink. Sure enough, at 10pm she came on and told everyone to get off. The game did stop but a number of stragglers continued to play with their friends. Others were angry and called her names behind her back. It did seem ridiculous to end the night while the bright lights shone on. However, I did not argue as the official closing time for the rink is at 10pm according to the Rosedale Rink page on the City website.
The lady hovered by the gate to the rink waiting for everyone to leave. As I was leaving I offered to help putting the nets up which she politely declined. I wished her a good evening, while she had a worried look at the 8-10 players that had not yet left the ice.
I'm now reviewing that, as of a few years ago and very likely to the present, there have been zero claims against the City for unhelmeted injuries on outdoor rinks. Next time I will inform the rink staff of this -- if they are worried about liability. If it is concussions we're worried about, helmets are no guarantee against such a thing. The lady seems worried about her and the staff's accountability if the supervisor shows up and reprimands them over this. I find this curious at Rosedale as the rink staff are often not onsite and last night was an exception. I wonder if the next time I show up sans helmet if I she will try and bar me from playing? I wonder if the supervisor is Kevin Mercer, supervisor of active living?
Editor's Blog by Jutta Mason
See the full story
Thursday February 7 2013
The city's website has a brand new feature on the outdoor rinks page: a column that tells skaters which rinks have a change room and washrooms and which rinks don't. The only problem is that it's not telling the whole story. All of the city's compressor-cooled rinks have change rooms and washrooms -- only some of them have been kept locked for years. The city's "state of good repair" budget has often been used for tearing down solid buildings and replacing them with shiny new ones. Sometimes even the shiny new ones are kept locked, for example at Queensway Rink and Sherbourne Rink. A sad example of squandered resources.
What is shinny hockey? A little film clip from Campbell Rink.
Our rinks are community rinks. All members of the community are welcome to skate, play hockey, or meet their friends here. Rink staff would be pleased to answer any questions you may have about the programs and policies.
Please observe the following rules so that everyone can enjoy the rink:
In case of a serious disagreement between rink staff and a rink user about any of these rules, the staff may ask the rink user to leave the rink until the matter is discussed with the Recreation Supervisor. If the rink user refuses the staff’s request to leave the rink, a letter of trespass may result.
City of Toronto website links
For tournmanents, special events, and other one-time bookings, complete a One-Time Use Application, and submit your package to the permit office.
About Rink Costs
Rinks By The Numbers is a Cityrinks Library section which is a start at extending our investigation of city rinks budgets (a bit over $3M per year). Much of this is a "public filing cabinet" with links to lots of material, including staff allocations, while we sort it out.
Here's an article from our 2007-2008 news: $250,000 more to zamboni the ice: why? See Outdoor ice maintenance costs.
Freedom of Information
Here's an idea of the type of work often involved in getting information from the city.
Women of Winter 2007-2008
About Running the Rinks
See Correspondence 2011-2012 for insight into how ongoing issues are handled.
Here's a basic orientation: Basic "rink literacy".
Read up on the fundamentals of ice making.
The CELOS Outdoor Rink Report:
Prepared in 2007 by CELOS, funded by the Metcalf Foundation, this report provides outlines of city rink operational issues and their possible solutions. The report is still relevant today (2010-2011).
Monday Rink Reports:
Climate and Outdoor Rinks:
To determine the rink season (by ice condition), changes in temperature matter much less than the angle of the sun. Our weather researcher shows why: get the facts.
311 Rink Information Monitor:
Read about the City's rink hotline monitor and 311 rink information monitor.
Here's some material from the City's Archives.
We've kept journals from time to time, such as News 2008-2009 - Extending Artificial Ice Skating Season 2008-2009; Injury Risk at Ice Rinks investigated.
We have our rink news journals going back to 2005.
Remember the Save our rinks campaign from 2007?
There was a Rink Management Board proposal in 2006.
Report cards were created by this website for the 2007-2008 season.
Most Rink detail web pages have diaries to peruse. Some go back several years.
Christie Pits 1923
City Skating Brochures
posted September 29, 2007
Note: These are brochures for 2011-2012, but only contain schedules for lessons, not leisure skates. "Fun guides" include all fall and winter activities.
Toronto weather forecasts:
Do you have Rink Diary material to share?
If you have stories, pictures, rink condition updates, a family or community event, etc. to share about your local outdoor rink, send us the material at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll post it in the rink diaries (subject to editing of course).
an info bulletin about
Rink Shoveling for
Central Toronto outdoor rinks
Contact the City of Toronto