For better use and better management. The UNOFFICIAL Website of Toronto's Outdoor Skating Rinks


See also Site Map


 
Contact Us!

mail@cityrinks.ca

Policies

Website and Privacy Policies

Google Analytics
Search

City Rinks Toronto


Custodians:
 You are on the home page of www.cityrinks.ca

Welcome to The Unofficial Website of Toronto's Outdoor Skating Rinks

 

There's nothing like outdoor skating

A project of CELOS

Latest News

posted December 03, 2016

On the city's outdoor rinks web page, nine more rinks were scheduled to open today, Dec.3. At noon today, seven of them are now listed as open. Three rinks are listed as closed, two due to "mechanical issues," and Glen Long for "poor ice conditions." Six more are closed for renovation, and one new rink in Scarborough (McCowan District Park) is not finished.

The city's three-day start-up ice-making (below the "industry standard") got enough help from the weather that it seems to have worked for the most part.

Harbourfront's Natrel Rink (not municipal) has "industry-standard" ice maintenance: see their webcam.

Find your outdoor rink


click for a map


List of Rinks and addresses.


Google Map of rinks and satellite map


Get Connected

What makes rinks run well? See our animation.


 

12 noon Nov.26: 30 rinks open for the season!

rinks being rebuilt: six rinks are closed for construction

lighter,quicker, cheaper fixes: read more

prev next

City Skating programs

Information gathered from Toronto.ca

For drop-in hockey and shinny times, see this schedule (shows arenas as well as outdoor rinks): drop in hockey and shinny.

For pleasure skating, see this schedule (shows arenas as well as outdoor rinks): leisure skating.

Special Programs

For women's shinny see this scheduleWomen's Shinny

Lessons

Skating Lessons


Cityrinks Lists of Interest

Skate Rental.
Natural Ice Rinks.
Covered Outdoor Ice Rinks.
List of Unfenced Ice Rinks.
historical weather data

Editor's Blog by Jutta Mason

2016 -2017

Here are some "lighter, quicker, cheaper" (LQC-type) fixes we proposed in our 2016 Outdoor Rink Report for some Toronto outdoor rinks.


Scarborough Civic Rink in 2015

Scarborough Civic Rink in 2018?


Giovanni Caboto Rink now

Giovanni Caboto Rink in 2017?

Knock out a wall, add some windows, snacks, and loaner skates.


Mel Lastman Rink now

Mel Lastman Rink next year?

The empty market building could be used for skate lending.

Each could be done for between $5000 and $30,000. But sadly, city hall wouldn't consider our report. The councillors message was effectively "go away." So for now we'll have to stop trying to help make rinks better. But we'll still document what rink users say, and what we see on rink visits.


2015-2016 Editor's blog


2014-2015 Editor's blog


2013-2014 Rinks users' blog


2012-2013 Editor's blog


Media 2014-2015

Feb.10, 2016

From: CUPE Local 79 <president@cupelocal79.org>

Date: February 10, 2016 at 6:46:21 PM EST

To: Local 79 members

Subject: Bargaining update: Raise the stakes - Take your breaks!

Reply-To: CUPE Local 79 <president@cupelocal79.org>

Join us for a great skate on Family Day!

On February 15, Locals 79, 416 and 4948 are hosting skating parties at rinks across Toronto. It’s a great opportunity for you and your family to get a little ice time while showing the public our dedication and commitment to the quality public services that make Toronto a great place to live.

The skating events will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.on Monday, February 15, at the following rinks:

Nathan Phillips Square, Mel Lastman Square, Scarborough Civic Centre and High Park.

There will be free hot chocolate, visits for the kids from some Minions and maybe even a Storm Trooper or two, and lots of fun.

Dec.11, 2015

CTV News: "Skating Ban to be lifted at High Park's Grenadier Pond"

Toronto City Council voted 28-9 on Thursday in favour of a program that will allow skating on a designated area of Grenadier Pond next year... Doucette proposed that the city allocate $50,000 to hire an "ice engineer" who would test the thickness and quality of the ice on a daily basis, for a period of eight weeks.

He or she would then post signs or flags to let skaters know when the ice is safe to use, and which parts of the pond are available for skating....Council voted in favour of the motion only after [Councillor] Doucette agreed to drop the funding request from $50,000 to $25,000.

Instead of hiring an engineer, city staffers will be trained to do the tests.

Weather permitting, legal skating will begin in the winter of 2016-17.

September 19, 2015, "Keep the Bureaucrats off the Pond" Chris Selley, National Post

Excerpt:

"a one-time capital outlay of $192,000 and annual operating costs of $123,000, to cover “the services of an ice engineer and ice surveyor,” “de-naturalization of a portion of the eastern shoreline to ensure safe access,” “maintenance staff … maintain the ice surface,” yet more staff to provide first aid and keep skaters in their officially approved area, “purchase of required maintenance equipment such as a Zamboni,” “construction of a seasonal storage building,” a “safety perimeter boundary, a flag system, minor safety lighting and signage,” “seasonal washroom facilities and office space for staff.” So that people can skate on frozen water. Which they do anyway, every year it’s safe, without incident. It is beyond parody."

Chris Selley "Keep the Bureaucrats off the Ice"

Keeping rinks open longer

Feb.28, 2015

"For city hall, $200,000 for rinks is a stretch." Globe column by Marcus Gee. Some excerpts:

The city’s 2015 budget is close to $10-billion. Spending by the parks, forestry and recreation department alone stands at $437-million...

The city government has a staggering list of responsibilities. It issues 45,000 building permits a year and conducts 165,000 building inspections. Its paramedics answered 274,220 medical calls last year, while the year before its cops made 41,255 arrests. It maintains more than 4,000 emergency-shelter beds in 58 locations.

City hall is spending $162-million for new subway cars and $600-million for new buses, not to mention $1.6-billion to upgrade the Ashbridges Bay sewage plant and $88-million to build new bike paths. Its state-of-good-repair backlog – what it needs to keep everything from falling apart – stood at $3.7-billion for 2014....Within a few years, city hall forecasts it will bump up against its debt ceiling, which keeps debt-servicing costs to under 15 per cent of its tax levy....

The plain fact is that the city must either a) do fewer things for its residents, or b) ask them to pay more for what they get. On past evidence, it will opt to do c) neither, and get Tim Hortons to pay for ice rinks instead.

Comment from CityRinks: There is a fourth option: do some better housekeeping of the outdoor rinks program.

(1) Open the rinks as soon as the sun is low and people are excited about winter (mid-November).

(2) Turn the rinks into more hospitable places, so that they’ll get maximum use during the skating season. That includes keeping the change rooms and washrooms open on all the stat holidays, and having more skate rentals. Staff can move the focus from rule-enforcement to fostering people’s enjoyment of skating, of the outdoors, and of wintertime neighbourhood sociability.

(2) Then close the rinks when the sun gets too high for good ice, fuel costs go through the roof, and attendance drops off anyway (early March).

Feb.26 2015

Globe editorial "Skating rinks are an essential service."

Feb.25 2015

Globe: "Toronto moves toward making more outdoor rinks available." Excerpts:

Toronto’s parks committee has moved to address recent criticism over the city’s ice skating policies, approving two motions that aim to make more outdoor rinks available, and for longer.

On Wednesday, the committee approved a motion to create a contingency fund that would allow the city to extend its outdoor rink season in years when the weather is cold enough to do so. The committee also approved a motion that asks city staff to report back on the viability of allowing skating on Grenadier Pond in High Park.

Feb.24, 2015

Globe: "Last-minute donation needed to extend Toronto's skating season." Excerpts:

Waste management company Green For Life, which last Friday pledged $100,000 to keep additional rinks open through the March break, withdrew the offer after city staff flagged problems over the weekend. Tim Hortons stepped in Tuesday with a replacement donation, matching a $100,000 gift from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. The corporate funds will allow an additional 12 rinks to stay open for an extended season, taking the total in the city to 29. All others are now closed....

...Councillor Gord Perks said the rules on donations and sponsorship are clear and the switch could have been avoided if the sponsorship deal had been vetted by city staff before they were announced.

“In between the announcement and today, someone in the public service checked the rules and found that there was a problem with GFL,” he said. “I think it’s a great thing that members for the community want to step up and help out, but we have to make sure that we are absolutely spotless when we take that money.”

MLSE also has extensive dealings with the city, including a $10-million loan it received from the city last year for the expansion of BMO field.

Asked whether city policies were followed in securing the donations, Mr. Tory said the corporate donors approached the city and details were worked out by city staff. He agreed measures need to be taken to avoid such last-minute fixes in the future.

“I think we have to take a serious look at how many rinks we can keep open with city funds – knowing that they are not unlimited – through the school-break week,“ he said.

Feb.22, 2015:

The Star: editorial "Toronto should find money to keep its outdoor ice rinks open."

Feb.20, 2015

The Star: "Corporate donors keeping 12 rinks open"

Feb.27, 2015

The Star: "Eleven Outdoor rinks will remain open until March 16"


Grenadier Pond

February 18, 2015

The Star -- Councillor Sarah Doucette will ask staff for a report

January 25, 2015

The Star - a story about writer Richard Sanger's yearly adventures on Grenadier Pond

January 26, 2015

CBC story and poll about skating on the pond.

January 27, 2015

680 news story

Torontoist story

January 29, 2015

National Post editorial about skating on Grenadier Pond

"Get out there and skate" by Peter Kuitenbrouwer.

Star editorial about skating and tobogganing

Rules for a community rink

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:

  • Respect programs and permit times in designated areas.
  • Do not use hockey sticks or pucks on the pleasure skating side.
  • Leave the ice surface or any other rink area when asked to do so by staff.
  • Put garbage in cans, not on the floor.
  • Do not smoke in the rink house or on the ice.
  • Be considerate of noise levels.
  • Do not use foul, offensive or racist language.
  • Do not fight or play roughly inside the building or on the rink surface.
  • Do not damage anything.

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.

Ice Allocation Policy and Permits

posted November 12, 2013

City of Toronto website links

 

Helmets

Helmets have lost some of their luster in both the medical and the sports media. It turns out that they have some important limitations in preventing concussions -- which is really their main purpose, as far as many skaters are concerned. The City of Toronto has hung on to its 9-year-old mandatory helmet policy, requiring all shinny hockey player to put on head armour. Little kids under 6 are also required to wear ONLY CSA-certified hockey helmets -- for pleasure-skating. Hockey helmets are designed to absorb impacts from pucks, sticks, and body-checking.

CELOS, the Centre for Local Research into Public Space (the sponsor of this website) has ollected quite a bit of material on all sides of the helmet question.

Cityrinks.ca Opinion

A Rink Safety Story

The approach of mandating hockey helmets for little kids effectively blocks families from using the rinks if they don't want to buy another set of helmets in addition to the bike (or trike!) helmets most kids already have.

Read this rink user's story

The Data

Noncompliance by shinny hockey players continues to rise citywide. The city's inability to enforce its own policy should be a flag to rinks management.

Data collected by Rule-Makers

Data collected by CELOS

Helmet Rules Across Canada

PFR Management

It's time to revisit the helmet rules, but with a different procedure than the last time. Instead of a staff decision made at a closed meeting at City Hall, the city should welcome wide-ranging rink-user input. Read our latest letter from Kelvin Seow, City Manager for PFR, and the latest letters to and from Jim Hart, General Manager for the PFR, City of Toronto.

Click on correspondence for everything we've received from city management through the years.

Problems with the City's Helmet Policy

...continued

City Rinks Special Edition on Helmets

Read the Special Helmets Issue and its References as published January 9th, 2014

Links

"Restore CSA"

A Calgary group called RestoreCSA and their claim that the CSA’s monopoly on hockey helmet certification in Canada "appears to be in violation of multiple sections of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)"

On November 28th, the Federal Industry Minister, James Moore, made a declaration to Parliament that materials developed by the CSA and incorporated into provincial laws are merely "voluntary standards" whose character as independent of the law is unchanged by inclusion within the law. As noted previously, this action invalidates as a legal requirement all inclusions within law as furnished by CSA or other commercial entities." 178 specific CSA standards included within a wide variety of Federal laws.

Z262.1 is the identifier for the CSA standard for Ice Hockey Helmets.

Additional Web links

 
BASIC RINK LITERACY

Toronto has more outdoor compressor-cooled rinks than any city in the world - 52. But our civic knowledge of the physics of ice maintenance hasn't kept pace with our collective rink wealth. Many people seem to find it amazing, even shocking, that outdoor rinks can be skateable when the air temperature is above freezing, as high as 11 or even 15 - during the low-sun months.

What's the surprise? Collectively, as taxpayers, we spend about $500 a day at each rink to fuel the compressors that cool the rink pad. The rink compressors vary between 100 and 200 horsepower each. You can hear their noise through the compressor-room doors at the sides of the buildings. These compressors push a brine (salt water) or glycol solution through a big tank of cooling ammonia, and then out into the extensive grid of PVC pipes underneath the concrete floor of the rink. The cold liquid brings the entire big concrete slab to well below freezing, so any water that's put on the surface of the rink pads sets up as ice right away. The brine liquid in the pipe grid circulates back into a large pipe in the "header trench" right next to the building, underneath where everybody stands when the zamboni is doing ice maintenance. From there the brine gets pushed back into the compressor room, where it passes through the freezing-cold ammonia tank, and out again into the pipes under the concrete, and so on.

The only serious match for this powerful cooling system is the sun. In the months on either side of the December 21 winter solstice, the sun is very weak. It doesn't get to spend very much time above the horizon, and that suits the compressors just fine. By March, though, the sun is getting much higher in the sky, and the compressors labour to keep the ice frozen at minus 4.

Even on a sunny day at the end of February, when the air temperature is minus 8, the ice gets really mushy near the reflective boards, and a bit soft in the middle. The compressors are losing ground as the sun prepares to bring on spring and summer. But on a low-sun Monday in November at 11 degrees, a thin film of water forms on top of solid ice, and the shinny hockey and pleasure-skating are brilliant.

It's not only rink users whose rink literacy is in some need of upgrading. The city's rink staff are also confused. In our travels around the city's outdoor rinks, we have heard some zamboni drivers say in low-sun November that they can't make ice because the temperature is above zero. Over the years, the city's Parks management has blamed a multitude of ice-making sins on the temperature, global warming, etc. Convenient - but most of the time, not true. The compressor-cooled rinks can do their job, and having all those rinks can take some of the sting out of the dark months of winter for Torontonians. But if the zamboni staff tell you that their zamboni sinks into the mush in early March, you'd better believe them -- or just take a look yourself.

Here's an interesting history of mechanically-cooled ice rinks, written in 2004 by Ted Martin, then the general manager, Ontario Operations, with Cimco Refrigeration in Toronto.


Rink information log


Ice Maintenance


Unfenced rinks


Holiday Rinks


Rink ice conditions information


Rink-related injury claims against the City of Toronto, 2010 to 2014


A History of Toronto's outdoor ice rinks, by Jutta Mason


TORONTO'S OUTDOOR RINKS AS WINTERTIME NEIGHBOURHOOD SOCIAL SPACES

Many of Toronto's 52 compressor-cooled municipal outdoor rinks are bare-bones sports facilities, but some are also important wintertime social spaces for their neighbourhoods. People expect to meet acquaintances there, to chat and catch up on news as well as skating together. Double-pad rinks are more likely to have this function, since pleasure-skating is anytime there, not only in restricted time slots. A few single-pad rinks have also become social spaces, either because of a particular location in a neighbourhood or because of programs (such as a weekly community supper) that maximize the friendship possibilities of the rink.

Double-pad rinks that are also neighbourhood social spaces (to widely varying degrees): Rennie, High Park, Dufferin, Wallace, Harry Gairey, Otter Creek, North Toronto Memorial, Hodgson, Ramsden, Dieppe, Greenwood.

Single-pad rinks that are also social spaces: Buttonwood, Colonel Sam Smith Skating Trail, Valleyfield, Wedgewood, Ledbury, Campbell, Cedarvale, Christie Pits, Kew Gardens, Withrow.

Harbourfront's Natrel Rink (not municipal) is both an entertainment venue and a social space where friends often arrange to meet.

The wintertime social meeting-up function of rinks needs to be better recognized, and fostered, than it is at present.


The City of Toronto is almost always behind Harbourfront in getting the rinks open. Here's why:

The science is there, the history is there (pre-amalgamation), professionals say it can be done, Harbourfront is doing it, even volunteers have done it. This list supplies the fundamentals of ice making.

Questions or Comments?

Contact cityrinks.ca at mail@cityrinks.ca to :
  • Ask General questions:
  • Share Rink stories or pictures
  • Report Problems at any of the rinks
  • Contact the editor
  • Discuss Technical website issues
  • Find detailed rink information including schedules at City Rink Details
Contact the City of Toronto
  • For individual rink schedules: dial 3-1-1
  • The City's rink hotline 416-338-RINK (7465) is no longer in service
  • A few rinks have a direct line. Go to the individual rink profile through the Quick Links.
  • For permit phone numbers see "Contacts to get Permits" in the Rules & Permits tab
  • City website for Skating & Rinks

Pond hockey as it's always been played: no helmets, no body armour, no checking, no slapshots - just the joy of the game


hosted by WordAndData.com | powered by pmwiki-2.2.80
Content last modified on January 09, 2016, at 09:59 PM EST