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 Home ¦  Reports »  Blogs »  CommunityLetters

Community Letters

Second round of letters, November 2016

From Belinda Cole, Nov.6 2016

Dear Mayor Tory, Councillor Bailao,

I notice that City Hall will be confirming the Parks and Rec report on outdoor ice rinks on November 8th.

Last March, CELOS presented its report on running ice rinks to the CDRC. 15 years of experience running rinks in ways that work for us - the people who use them. A wealth of practical experience about how outdoor ice rinks can be run in creative, cost-effective, innovative, neighbourly ways.

City staff, charged with reporting on rinks, made no reference at all to the CELOS Outdoor Rinks Report.

Invaluable experience made available to the city - for free.

No takers.

The story I understand from this is that the City is impervious - no ears to hear, no eyes to see - anything outside of their own bureaucratic creation.

I would much rather pay for city initiatives built on programs that actually work.

Lost opportunity. Totally unacceptable.

Most disappointing.

From Andrea Holtslander, Nov.6 2016

Dear Mayor John Tory and Councillor Ana Bailao,

I think it is outrageous that the Community Development and Recreation Committee has essentially ignored the CELOS' outdoor rinks report in the CDRC's own report on Toronto's outdoor rinks.

Thanks to the efforts of CELOS, the Dufferin rink is a lively, welcoming space for the entire community, and also bears the burden of being a destination rink with people traveling from across the city to enjoy it. However, as CELOS' rink report outlines, the city needs to step up to make the rest of the city's rinks function as well as this rinks does, and to maintain its success.

From David Cayley to all six members of the Community Development and Recreation Committee, Nov.6 2016

I'm disappointed that the Community Development and Recreation Committee has not seen fit to do anything about the excellent Rink Report that was submitted to you by CELOS last April, or to reprimand the General Manager for completely ignoring its suggestions in her response to you.

This is not the first time that a set of simple, do-able, affordable suggestions for the better use of our artificial rinks has been made and ignored. The same thing happened back in the 2007-2008 season when an even more ambitious report was referred to staff and then completely forgotten. It seems to me a great shame that when citizens take up this kind of work, and then make eminently practicable proposals about how the rinks could run better, that this work should be ignored and, in effect disdained. The city may belong to its citizens in theory, but it's clear that, in practice, it belongs to its government and bureaucracy. All through the period during which CELOS has been lobbying for its reform, Parks and Recreation has cost ever more and done ever less, and yet Council has been unwilling to listen to those who know what's wrong and how it might be fixed. What a waste.

From Patrick Thoburn, Nov.4, 2016

[These efforts] have made a big difference to our family, especially when the kids were young, and they have enriched the Dufferin Grove community, and the city.

From Erella Ganon, Nov.5, 2016

Outdoor rinks are a vital part of our neighbourhoods. We are lucky enough to have one right here in the Dufferin Grove Park.

The politicians should be doing this work.

Preserving an important aspect of winter in Canada should be a priority. It canít all be about condos and retail development.

From Simon Chamberlain (Pearen Rink), Nov.5 2016

It looks as though transit and high-profile downtown parks like under-Gardiner and Rail Deck are the main "flavours of the moment", and most anything else that would cost money or take staff time and effort is being relegated to never-never land.

First round of letters, April 2016

From Jutta Mason to some rink friends:

Dear friend of outdoor rinks,

I'm hoping you can send the two-sentence e-mail below to city council's Community Development and Recreation Committee on behalf of outdoor rinks.

Why your email can help: When people go to depute to councillors, it's sometimes hard to get their attention. They are often distracted from listening by checking their text messages, reading other documents, or talking to each other.

Nevertheless, CELOS is taking one more kick at the can on April 13. We've prepared a report based on 13 years of the rink diaries. The report highlights the main problems and suggests some simple remedies.

It would help if you could send the committee members the following email in the next few days, so they see that more people care about the outdoor rinks:

Dear councillor: please give the "2016 outdoor rinks report" from CELOS your careful attention. Well-run rinks are important to Torontonians.

The committee chair is James Pasternak: [email protected]

The sponsor of the item is Joe Mihevc: [email protected]

the other committee members:

Paula Fletcher: [email protected]

Josh Colle: [email protected]

Ana Bailao: [email protected]

Jon Burnside: [email protected]

I'll send you a short email afterwards to let you know what happened.

Thanks, Jutta

Dear Councillors

Having grown up and having raised my children in Toronto, I can wholeheartedly attest to the fact that the city's outdoor rinks have been an important part of our lives.

Winter is often an isolating time as many stay indoors to escape the cold. Creating spaces where neighbours can gather in comfort to share in winter activities and to warm up between and afterwards has helped my family (and many others) to embrace this season and to stay connected. I love the changes that have been inspired by the local community over the years to these great spaces and encourage more of this kind of input.

Please give the "2016 outdoor rinks report" from CELOS your careful attention. Well-run rinks are important to my family and to all Torontonians.

Angela Moore

Please give the 2016 outdoor rinks report from CELOS your careful attention. Well-run rinks are important to Torontonians.

Indeed, I believe Torontoís outdoor rinks are one of the cityís great treasures. I have played on these rinks for over 25 years, and hope to play on them for the next 25 years.

Best wishes, Albert Koehl

Dear councillor:

Please give the "2016 outdoor rinks report" from CELOS your careful attention. Well-run rinks are important to Torontonians.

This is super important to me.

I think that if citizens take the time to make a report such as this one, our elected representatives and other stake holders should absolutely read every word.


Erella Ganon

Dear Councillor Mihevc,

I am forwarding this e-mail to you in appreciation of your interest in and support of the Celos report. I will watch with concern, knowing that its acceptance will depend on your active participation in the discussion.

We are counting on you.

Patricia M. MacKay

Dear Councillor Pasternak,

I care about skating rinks. I care about children having access to healthy outdoor activity. I care about citizen involvement!

This report has been thoughtfully written by people who want the best possible opportunities for families to enjoy affordable recreation and wholesome time together.

Please read this report and give it wise and intelligent consideration.


Patricia M. MacKay

Dear Councillors, I'm a resident of the Dufferin Grove neighbourhood, writing all the way from a work trip to South Africa.

I urge you to read and take seriously the recommendations of the 2016 CELOS report into outdoor rinks in our city. There are no other amenities quite like these and our rinks draw users from a wide radius to enjoy community, the outdoors and physical activity. They are part of what makes Toronto the liveable city it is, envy of other cities worldwide.

Yours sincerely, Abigail Pugh

Hello Mr. James Pasternak (Committee Chair, Community Development and Recreation Committee),

My name is Rohan Walters. Iím writing with regard to the importance of Toronto outdoor rinks programs run by the city.

My story is short. I arrived from Jamaica in 1967 in time to see the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup. I learned how to skate on city run outdoor rinks before becoming an avid hockey player in my youth.

Rinks such as Rosedale, Christie Pits, Grenadier Pond, Dufferin Grove, Ryerson, City Hall, the Beach, Monarh Park and more ...

Now in my adulthood I have taught both of my children to skate at Dufferin Grove and Mary McCormick ice surfaces primarily. I have volunteered to teach beginner adult shinny with others at Wallace Emerson for approximately 7 years as well as volunteered for many a skating trip with my children when they were in elementary school. Attached are some pictures of various years I have taught; women and men from all over the world who did not skate or play hockey and are now avid skaters and lovers of hockey. Places like Japan, Portugal, Mali, Australia, Ireland, England and more.

Iím the tall black male wearing the red jacket.

Please continue to support the city ice rinks and organizations such as CELOS. Well-run rinks have done more for Toronto Unity than you could possibly imagine. Giving immagrant and local kids, men and women opportunities to establish important and long lasting relationships to our communities as well as promote the hockey businesses and local teams.

Toronto Ice Rinks play a pivotal ambassadorial role in our city and in our country. This is not an exaggeration.

Go Leaf Go! - Translation --- Toronto Skating and Hockey Rock. Letís keep it going and do better. Support CELOS initiatives and their studies.



Rohan Walters B.Arch., Principal Designer Spaces By Rohan Inc.

Dear Councillor Pasternak, Mihevc, Fletcher, Burnside, Colle, Bailao

I love my local ice rinks, and I want to see them really well run.

There are a number of simple ways to do this.

Would you kindly give the "2016 outdoor rinks report" from CELOS your careful attention.

Many thanks for giving your attention to our city's wonderful exisitng! rec facilities.

Belinda Cole

Dear Councillors,

I was present at a meeting of the Parks and Environment Committee in 2007 at which the Centre for Local Research on Public Space (CELOS) presented a report on the operation of Toronto' outdoor artificial ice rinks. The report was based of years of experience at Dufferin Wallace and Campbell rinks, and it made detailed, sensible and affordable suggestions for improved management of all city rinks. The committee referred it to "staff" and it was never heard of again. This was a singularly unhappy moment in my political education. Citizens coming forward with timely and intelligent suggestions. backed up by years of hard work, was obviously of no interest or worth to the members of that committee. This Wednesday you have a chance to make amends, when CELOS presents you with a second rink report. I hope you will take it.

Dufferin Grove, and later Wallace and Campbell rinks, became centres of community and conviviality through the application of a handful of simple principles: create hospitable places with food, fire and rental skates available and hire attentive staff able to sustain such a hospitable atmosphere. In the last few years, these principles have been overridden by careless management. The city's many rinks really are, as CELOS says, a precious civic resource. It's time to start taking better care of them. I urge you to give Jutta Mason, who will be deputing to you for CELOS on Wednesday, your full attention.

sincerely yours, David Cayley

Dear Councillor:

Please give the "2016 outdoor rinks report" from CELOS your careful attention. Well-run rinks are important to Torontonians. This is an understatement. Having a an outdoor recreational place to gather has become a fundamental component in our family and neighbourhood life. Whether with covered in ice or exposed concrete littered with skateboarding structures-- the rinks are a dynamic all ages community hub. Please hear our plea.


Gillian Green

Dear Councillor Pasternak:

Please give the "2016 outdoor rinks report" from CELOS your careful attention. I believe Councillor Mihevc is the sponsor of this item.

As a rink user at Dufferin Gove Park, I have a long-term interest in making our public rinks the best community resource they can be. The CELOS report has many good ideas for achieving this, and is the result of thoughful, in-depth research.

Regards, Liz Martin

Dear Councillors,

On April 13, I understand that the Community Development and Recreation Committee will be considering a report prepared by the citizens' group CELOS. I would urge you to read it and take its contents very seriously. This is the work of Jutta Mason and others who have worked so hard and long to study, understand and promote the positive functioning of rinks and parks in this city. As an avid user and neighbor of Dufferin Grove Park, until the past couple of years I have had the great privilege of enjoying the results of that hard work and good sense-- though I have seen a marked deterioration in certain aspects of park and rink functioning in roughly the last two years. While I'm not sure of all the reasons for this, it would seem that it is part of the campaign by Parks and Rec to "get the park in hand" and make it more like other (arguably severely non-functional) parks in the city.

The work of Jutta and CELOS is admired by people from around the world. This report represents much observation, analysis and good sense. Please do them the courtesy of reading it and considering its contents carefully.

Yours sincerely, Kathryn Scharf

Dear councillor: please give the "2016 outdoor rinks report" from CELOS your careful attention. The report is well researched and civic-minded. As a parent of young children who has routinely made good use of rinks throughout downtown Toronto, I would argue that well-run rinks are important to Torontonians! They encourage outdoor play in the long winter months; they build community; they promote healthy life styles; they equalize access to recreation. Thank you,

Katharine N Rankin Professor, Geography and Planning

An experiment was conducted at Dufferin Grove. The experiment was conducted over many years. Much data supports it's hypothesis: that community governance being the lead in an operating partnership with municipal functionaries results in better public space than public space run by municipal functionaries alone. The city did not fund the experiment. It was conducted gratis and given to the city a gift. That the city has not dealt with its findings is the most offensive waste. It can be explained but not condoned.

David Rothberg

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Content last modified on November 06, 2016, at 03:45 PM EST