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This rink was listed as closed for part of yesterday ad is again closed today.
This rink was scheduled to open today and did, but then was closed again before closing time, maybe because it was raining lightly.
Rink diaries from earlier years
This rink was scheduled to open Nov.25, 2017, but was rarely listed as open.
At noon, the rink is finally listed as open again.
Note from Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker:
First, thanks very much for bringing this error to my attention. Today is the perfect day to skate, so I'm disappointed that the City has not updated/corrected its website.
It was impossible to skate last week at the Civic Centre when the temperatures where about 10 and the rink was a giant puddle; but it should be in great shape today.
My staff are making sure:
1.) We correct this error ASAP.
2.) We figure out why this error was made and then make sure it doesn't happen again.
Response from the PFR general manager's office:
PFR staff advised that the outdoor rink at Albert Campbell Square is the only outdoor rink in Toronto that is not operated by Parks. It is operated at a part of Scarborough Civic Center under Rob Cashen of Facilities Management (also cc'd on the original e-mail). Mr. Cashen or his staff are the ones appropriate to respond to your concerns.
Still listed as closed,with the same outdated message.
On the city's website, the rink is still listed as closed. It's finally warming up (to minus 3 at 5 p.m.) after days of very cold weather. The operator at 311 agreed that the post is probably out of date, and she consulted her supervisor to see if they can send a message to Parks reminding them to update. It turns out they can't. She suggested that the public can leave a message on the Parks and Rec complaints line, which we did.
On the city's website, at 10 a.m. this rink is still listed as closed (from Feb.28) due to soft ice conditions, even though the current temperature is minus 12 celsius.
This rink was scheduled to stay open until March 20, but it was closed for the season on March 10.
Response from rink user:
Today was the Mayor Tory's second annual "skating party," with at least three councillors in attendance as well (De Baeremaker, Cho, Kelly). The weather forecast was for rain or at least drizzle, but it was just cloudy. The ice was excellent despite the overnight rain -- maybe the staff brought in the Nathan Phillips Rink water vacuum. (Three of the city's four civic rinks are in basins and so the water can't run off on its own.)
So there was a good crowd there, maybe around 200 people or even more. It appeared that maybe half were city staff from various departments, with their kids. There were free skate loans -- the city contracted the people who run Nathan Phillips Square skate rental, and people didn't have to pay. That was a hit. Because of the free skates, there were quite a few people on the ice who were on their first try at skating -- but there were no skate aids. There were four rink guards, and they were kept busy helping wobbly skaters to get off the ice, upright.
There was a sign attached to a fence, a little distance from the rink and up some stairs, saying that skating at this rink implies acceptance of being photographed, and for anyone under 18, it implies parental permission to be photographed. The rink was "closed" to anyone without that acceptance or permission.
And certainly there were plenty of cameras, i.e. the inevitable cell phones for selfies, all the way up to media filming on tripods.
There was free MacDonald's coffee in a special MacDonald's van with five staff in MacD uniforms, and free hot chocolate and hot cider delivered by Treats. At one time, maybe up until amalgamation, any such city event would have been done internally -- local rink staff (in this case, from Albert Campbell Rink) hosting the event themselves, doing all of it. They didn't charge for their full hours, either, because it was a point of pride, a kind of game, to put on a really nice event and show others in the city how hospitable their rink or rec centre or park was. But those times are gone. Perhaps it's cheaper and maybe more reliable (fewer last-minute sick calls) to contract it out, this way. Strange to see, though.
There were about 8 police, several in skates, and an ambulance van as well. There were two mascots walking around the rink and across the ice giving high fives (Marlies and Raptors), and a Maple Leafs player but we didn't see him. The mayor came with his wife and said they intended to skate. But they may not have had time -- there were so many people doing selfies with him.
This didn't exactly have a party feeling to it, more of a corporate event -- an unlikely way for people to meet new friends, certainly. But the weather was mild, the DJ was good, and there were some dance moves from the better skaters, here and there. About half the people were not skating; it looked like they had come just to watch. And the people-watching was kind of fun.
One of the odd things was the presence of 5-6 people with "Indie88" jackets on, who were walking or skating around with big cardboard signs with the radio station's name on it. They were giving high fives too, just like the mascots. They said they were there to raise awareness of the station, and that in winter they go to various outdoor rinks and then blog about them on their website. And indeed, on their website they do mention a few rinks. But they seemed to be aware of only a small number of the 50.
City-sponsored outdoor events as an opportunity for marketing your brand. Is that part of what drives such events? It certainly seems so.
Facebook post by Ravi Bhagwandin: As a Scarborough resident I've always found the Albert Campbell ice rink thoroughly disappointing. Its saving grace is that it is quiet on weeknights, which makes for an enjoyable skate when you want to move with some speed.
It's more often than not worth making the long trip down to any number of ice pads further west. It's a shame because I feel like this acts as a deterrent for introducing the large immigrant population Scarborough has to skating and winter sports in general.
The city's website listed this rink as open on New Year's Day from 10 until 10, and indeed it was. The rink is not so easy to get to, but there's some pay-and-display parking on Borough Drive to the south, and even on new year's Day the doors through the municipal centre have been left unlocked so people can pass through to the rink. The rink staff says that sometimes it's possible to park at the nearby TDSB lot as well.
This rink has an anonymous, businesslike feel about it -- put on your skates, skate around, take off your skates, and leave. There's no encouragement to hang around and socialize, meet your neighbours, find out what's new. The new changeroom is clean and comfortable and more than ample, considering the small number of skaters usually there. But there's no lookout toward the rink, and the sign outside saying "snack bar" is not true. There used to be a kitchen long ago but when the change room was renovated, the kitchen was removed. No skate rental either. A perfect example of the missed opportunities that are a City of Toronto specialty.
Listed as closed Dec.24 to Dec.27
Rink diaries from earlier years:
A March-break event for youth and families. Skate lending, music with a DJ, a movie inside afterwards. Lots of friendly police (must be an at-risk youth partnership). Lots of rink guards too, for the occasion, but the rink itself was pretty mushy, so the staff put pylons across more than half the rink surface.
| rink guards waiting for skaters
The rink change room is now open, nice but deserted. The sign outside still says there's a snack bar, but there isn't. The only staff on site in the morning is a zamboni driver. We ask him if there are sometimes school visits on weekdays, but he says he's not sure.
There are lots of lockers, and windows too, only they don't face onto the rink.
This is the first day that the city's website has actually listed this rink as open.
Email and photos from rink user Charles Tin: "Update: no ice at Albert Campbell yet. I have enclosed a few pictures. The new change room looks finished, still a few leaves on the side of the rink."
Note: the city's rink web page listed this rink as having opened on Nov.22.
This rink opened 5 days late. When we asked the rink staff why, he said he thought it just took them longer to make ice. Now the ice looks good. But it was windy and cold. At 11.15 a.m. there were three boys on the ice, kicking a puck around, obviously hoping to play shinny. But it wasn't allowed. Then a dad came with two kids, hoping just to skate. They had to change outside in the cold because the change rooms are being renovated, and so the space was locked. However, the washrooms were open, and warm.
A first-time visitor to the rink said that the whole square looked a bit down on its luck.
No sign of flooding or any start-up. For comparison: Dufferin Rink
3:30pm: Although the city website has maintained all week that this rink is still not open "due to mild weather," it was most certainly open. The ice looked good, though there were a few pylons on the ice that looked like they were leftover from a sunnier time of day. There were 3 girls on the ice, and a mother standing by, and 2 people inside the changeroom. There was a very friendly rink guard outside.
Inside, there were three very intimidating teenagers huddled in the staff office chatting - they all said they worked there, but probably two of them were just friends. No one had any brochures to offer, and no one knew the phone number. There were no opening signs.
From rink user Rafael Lewis: The rink is open for skating and the ice was in pretty decent condition between 11 am and 12 pm. I counted a total of 7 people in the hour I was there, but not all on the ice at the same time. Lots of skating room.
Friday November 20th, 2009
This rink will not be opening on schedule. The compressors were not on and there were a few puddles of water on the pad (probably from the rain fall. There were leaves still on the rink and the area around did not look like it was cleared or litter picked in a while. There were no staff visible.
Albert Campbell Square Rink was scheduled to open yesterday, according to the city web site and the staff report to city councillors. And it did open yesterday, with very good ice. There were three skaters on the ice today at 11.30 a.m., and three rink guards -- a luxurious ratio of 1:1.
The rink guards said that yesterday wasn't very busy either. That may be because of confusing information. The city's "rink hot-line" still has the end-of-season message from last March, and it ends with the message: "Leisure skating will return weather permitting in December 2008." It then directs rink users to the Access Toronto line, as though that was a direct line: "For information at this location, contact Albert Campbell Square at 416 338-0338." But that line -- it's just the city's central information line downtown -- is only active on weekdays between 8 and 5.
The "rink hotline" message still has the same last-season message on it, saying the rink is now closed and will open again in December. Since it's a weekday, the Access Toronto line was accessible, and they said that the rink is open, and that they would look into the glitch on the "hotline."
Hurray, the "rink hotline" message has been changed to say it's open. It sounds friendly and inviting. The assistant to the Ontario Minister of Tourism sent an e-mail inquiring about City Hall rink, so we sent him a link to this rink too. Its location is dramatic, and the ice is very smooth.
At 9.30 pm the rink is unsupervised but the music is on and the ice is good. There are six youth there in the semi-dark, three hanging out and three skating. One of the skaters is practising his backward skating, very gracefully.
2pm Two-thirds of the rink surface is a lake unsuitable for skating. There are ten skaters on the remaining third. During CELOS' visit skaters co come and go, but many don't stay long because there isn't enough room to skate.
About 25 people skate in an orderly fashion around and around the Scarborough City Centre rink. Three staff in uniform observe the orderly skaters. The mats are not close enough to the many benches to aid skaters in accessing them except in one place. Strollers and others on wheels will find this rink hard to access.
The City website says the rink will be open today, but it isn't. I get off at the Kennedy LRT stop at 11:15am. The stop is connected to the Scarborough Town Square mall, which is crowded with Christmas shoppers. (There's a big line-up to see Santa.) This is my first visit to Albert Campbell and I have a bit of trouble finding the rink. As far as I can tell, there aren't any signs showing the way. There are signs pointing to the Scarborough Civic Centre, but none to the rink itself.
When I do find the rink, it's deserted. It hasn't even been flooded. Part of the surface is shiny, but it's only a sheet of rain water that has frozen in the bitter cold. I start taking pictures. A city employee approaches and begins to make friendly conversation. He tells me the rink will probably be open on December 5. He also tells me there is a problem with the equipment because they are upgrading the air conditioning in the building next to the rink. He goes on to explain that the rink shares an evaporation condenser with the air conditioning. system. I ask him if the rink is usually busy. He says it is. I also ask if they rent out skates. He says they don't yet, but they have considered it, because it's something people ask about. It's very cold as we stand there talking. He tells me the rink is located in a bit of a wind tunnel.
diary entry by MM