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Here's a look at the running of Barbara Ann Scott Rink during the rink season of 2005/2006. Toronto has 47 neighborhood compressor-powered outdoor rinks (that's not counting the big outdoor rinks in central squares). The rinks range from lively meeting places for their neighborhoods to squalid hangouts for very troubled people. The rinks are also demonstration sites of the joys and troubles that beset city staff. Jutta Mason visited some rinks every day, some just occasionally.
4.20 pm. 1 skater, 3 people sitting on bench in the middle of the ice, 2 people changing into skates inside. No staff. 2 youth drinking giant bottles of ice beer on a park bench close by. One of them took a piss against the corner of the building. Lots of passersby, but they don’t seem to be looking at the rink much.
Sunny, 8 degrees.
3.30 pm. Good ice, only one wet spot. Three young guys playing hockey. The on-site rink staff person, who has messy hair and big pants, tells them to stop, and they argue. He says in frustration, “Listen to me, if it was up to me, I wouldn’t tell you to stop, but I’ll get in trouble. I’m just like you, bro!” They argue some more and he compromises and tells them they have to stop the minute a pleasure-skater comes along.
Three minutes later an elegant European women comes in with her skates. She asks, “Would you please ask them to stop playing hockey?” He says he’ll stop them when she’s ready to go on. I’m closer to the door, so I yell out to them, “five minute warning! There’s a pleasure skater coming on!” The hockey players smile and nod. I tell the woman, “they say they’ll stop the minute you come out.” She smiles, the rink staff smiles – a perfect picture of Canadian agreeableness. It works!
10.20 p.m. nobody was skating. There were just three or four street kids sitting on a bench, interested doing some business, maybe.
It’s 4 degrees celsius and the sun was out for a while. Now it’s clouded in but the damage was done.
3.30 p.m. All covered with water, and mushy underneath.