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Rink Diary

2021 - 2022

Nov.27, 2021

Opened for the season

Rink diaries from earlier years

2020 -2021

The rink is closed for construction until Jan.2021


Rink diaries from earlier years

2019 - 2020

No reports

2018 - 2019

Nov.26, 2018

This rink was listed as closed for part of yesterday ad is again closed today.

Nov.24, 2018

This rink was scheduled to open today and did, but then was closed again before closing time, maybe because it was raining lightly.

2017 - 2018

This rink was scheduled to open Nov.25, 2017, but was rarely listed as open.

2016 - 2017

March 13, 2017, email to City Concillors Glenn DeBaeremaker's office

We have been monitoring the city's listing of Albert Campbell Rink and are surprised to see it still marked as closed on the city's web site. The detail message says "The rink is closed on February 28th, 2017 and March 1st, 2017 due to water on the ice and ice softness." But the main rinks list has listed the rink as closed every day since then. Now it's two weeks later.

Is that wrong information or is there a problem at the rink?


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.

March 9, 2017

Still listed as closed,with the same outdated message.

March 5, 2017

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 The operator at 311 agreed that the post is probably out of date, and she consulted her supervisor to see if they can send a message to Parks reminding them to update.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.

March 4, 2017

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.


2015 - 2016

Email from Robert Cashen, Facilities Management, East Toronto, question re Civic Rink closures

This winter....our closures were mostly because of standing water on top of the ice. We don't have any of the issues that Parks have identified. We have always started the 1st week of December as that is what was mandated by the former City of Scarborough. City of Toronto mandated last year that they would like to see rinks open a few weeks earlier. We can get the pad temperature down if it isn't too mild. Last year the temp was over 15 degrees Celsius on both November 26 and 27 while the average for the last part of the month was well above zero. It difficult to get the pad temperature down when it is that warm. Especially for a rink that is completed surrounded by windows. In my experience....once we get the ice in we very rarely close the rink until the warm weather at season end.

March 10, 2016

This rink was scheduled to stay open until March 20, but it was closed for the season on March 10.

Jan.25, 2016, email from Farnaz Patel, assistant to Councillor De Baeremaker:

Would you happen to know if the lighting issue had to do with maintenance (a few lightbulbs were out) or a request (to put in more lights at this rink)? If you could please advise that would be much appreciated.

Also, our office heard back from staff about the parking issue outlined below. Despite Glenn's efforts to have the parking lots open for the public, we were informed this is something that is not justified at this time. Unfortunately in the past, we had issues with people parking their vehicles over long periods of time (2-3 days and even weeks on end) which made it difficult for City staff to find parking space. For mainly this reason, the parking lots cannot be open. However, this gentleman may be happy to know that there will be free Saturday parking on the south side of Borough Drive soon. So he can always use that portion of the street when coming to Albert Campbell Square rink to skate.

Response from rink user:

Just to follow sister took 14 girls skating at the Civic Centre Sunday. The rink was closed as the Zamboni apparently has been broken and it was not considered safe.

Now to the lighting... ....the rink is only half lit. There is a light that shines on half of it. I'm not sure how to further elaborate on that comment. It is a half-lit rink. Most rinks are lit by lights that cover both sides of the rink. Perhaps that is clearer. I suppose someone could pay a short visit to the rink at night and that might shed some light on this issue? No pun intended, of course.

Jan.9, 2016

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.

January 4, 2016

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.

January 1, 2016

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.

altogether about 15 skaters at 1 pm.

seasonal decoration
December 31, 2015, email from G.K.:

The forgotten, yet lone, Scarberian rink sits at the city centre with nowhere to park. The rink is half lit, the other half in darkness at night. This rink should be a light, happy place but it is a reminder that Scarborough is neglected and poor. I can't say this without some anger and disgust: is it not possible to light the other half of the rink?!!!! Is it not possible to open the city employee parking lot in the evening so I can park nearby?! We must conserve those parking spots for the oh! So important people whom are oh! So busy and can't find time to get a light to light up the other side of the rink? Is that right?

My poor shameful, Scarborough.

Dec.27, 2015

Listed as closed Dec.24 to Dec.27

Letter from to Councillor DeBaeremaker and Mayor Tory, Dec. 17, 2015

Dear Councillor DeBaremaker and Mayor Tory,

We just read about your winter skating party at Albert Campbell Rink on January 9. Would you like to borrow our collection of skates for the event? Our collection is called Randy's Loaner skates and consists of 125 pairs of good-quality skates in all sizes from very small to adult, plus some helmets. They are available without charge.

Last year the GH Wood Foundation gave us a grant to establish a free loaner collection, modelled on the skate loan programs at the three Ward 18 outdoor city rinks. Then the NHL Players' Association topped it up with 20 more sets of sticks, gloves and helmets as well as skates.

Over the years at the Ward 18 outdoor rinks we've noticed that skate loans are particularly popular with newcomer groups, both youth and families.

Let us know if this is of interest to you.

Rink diaries from earlier years:

2014 - 2015

March 19, 2015

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.

soft ice where the sun shines

lots of day camps


skate lending station

disappointment -- they didn't have his size

| rink guards waiting for skaters

Jan.12 2015

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.

11.30 a.m.: one skater-

lots of ice barriered off to the side

new change room benches, and lots of lockers

low usage: crowding not likely to be a problem

rec staff office -- locked, but gives a city land line number

Dec.1, 2014

This is the first day that the city's website has actually listed this rink as open.

Nov.23, 2014

rink pad with no ice yet

renovated changeroom, photo taken through the window

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.



Dec.7 2013

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.

ice looks good

looking for the change room, garbage by the stairs

doors locked, keep out

renovation of change room, lots left to do


2011 - 2012

Nov.17 2011

No sign of flooding or any start-up. For comparison: Dufferin Rink

Saturday Dec.3 2011

ice fine for skating

ice a bit thin at one end

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.

Thursday Dec.8 2011

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.

Dec.8 -- good ice, not many skaters

rink intentionally surrounded by shade


2009 - 2010


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.


2008 - 2009

Sunday Nov.30 2008

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.

Excellent ice, few skaters

Rink guard to skater ratio is luxurious

Tuesday Dec.2 2008

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."

Wednesday Dec.3, 2008

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.

Monday Dec.8, 2008

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.


2007 - 2008

Saturday March 15

Two-thirds of the ice was covered in water
Click on picture to enlarge it

7-10 people on the remaining third of the ice
Click on picture to enlarge it

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.


Saturday January 12, 2008

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.

Saturday December 1, 2007

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


That is real ice, but it's only frozen rainwater.

Snow and litter covers the rink pad

Construction cranes in the distance.

This way to the closed change room.


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Content last modified on December 03, 2021, at 12:31 PM EST