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I played shinny down at Kew this morning Sat. They scraped then flooded at 7:30am and we played at 8:00am. The ice was really good for the first half hour and then it snowed up pretty quickly. They still flood even on warm days and it only takes about ten minute to dry up. Could be the location ( a little cooler down by the water in the Beaches) or good compressers, but I think it's just really good maintenance. We had about 20 skaters. Rink maintenance down there is nothing but spectacular. We even played Fri. morning at 9:00am before it rained.
No official reports on this but Kew Gardens in the Beach was open with a flood ( perfect ice) on Christmas day, boxing day and again today New Years day and the dressing rooms were open but no staff on site. The rink though was posted as closed. Just an early morning flood and rooms opened. Played shinny there all three days at 9:00am with about 15 skaters each day, followed by pleasure skating families.
After 8pm the pleasure rink is shared with shinny players, so you get a lot of puck and stick action even if you're in only for some pleasure laps. Most of the shinny players are just practicing, shooting pucks etc, but it's a dexterity practice for skaters.
Saw parents and kids and some skating rookies trying their best not to get hit. Even when the shinny rink wasn't busy there were still people with sticks on the pleasure rink. The rink is not supervised, at least not on those hours.
New mandatory equipment for skating on boxing day on City Rinks: lock cutters (even those posted on the city of Toronto website as 'open' during holiday hours). Rosedale Park was shut down last night when a group of us arrived for women's shinny from 9-10pm. Apparently the attendant left at 6pm. Some people hopped the 20 foot fence. My friend who grew up in the Czech Republic looked at the rink through the chain links and said, "This is what Communism was like."
The problem with getting anything changed about how the rinks are run is that once someone has made a decision at the parks department it seems like it can be quite difficult to get them to change their minds. As i mentioned in my email earlier i spent a fair amount of time last year dealing with people from the parks department. Even finding out who i should call took a protracted effort. I forget her name but the regional manager or whatever her title was, who is in charge of several rinks in the area was the brick wall i ran into. There was no communicating with her
Last week at Ramsden Rink, a rink staff person told everyone at Adult Shinny to wear helmets the next time they played. Most everyone murmured to each other that they would do so (whether they meant to or not). Last night at Rosedale the single rink staff on duty confronted me as I arrived at the rink. She asked me very strongly whether I had a helmet. When I told her I did not she was very insistent that I and all the others had to play with helmets or that the next time we came without helmets she said we might not be allowed to play (!).
I told her that I sincerely doubted their ability to enforce this and to make players comply and that at Dufferin this is not enforced and hasn't been for years. She said that she would normally let us play at our own risk, but the City supervisor for the rinks would be coming to do inspections. What was she to do if the supervisor saw that they were not enforcing the policy? I asked then if there would be repercussions for rink staff and she was not at all sure.
She then said she was going to kick all the players off the rink at 10pm. This is when the rink closes, but the lights remain on for a longer period and, over the past few nights I have played, the other rink staff have been good enough to let everyone play on. At Dufferin, the rink staff allow users to play on unsupervised time from 9pm-11pm on the pleasure skating side during the permits on the hockey side and until the lights go off. I wonder why this can't happen here as long as rink staff don't mind putting the nets up and locking the rink later than 10pm.
The rink was quite busy during Adult Shinny -- quite a contrast to the past week with barely 6-8 players showing up. Now there were roughly 30 players and a goalie. At 9:45pm the same rink staff lady came on the ice and shouted that there was 15 minutes left until she locked the rink. Sure enough, at 10pm she came on and told everyone to get off. The game did stop but a number of stragglers continued to play with their friends. Others were angry and called her names behind her back. It did seem ridiculous to end the night while the bright lights shone on. However, I did not argue as the official closing time for the rink is at 10pm according to the Rosedale Rink page on the City website.
The lady hovered by the gate to the rink waiting for everyone to leave. As I was leaving I offered to help putting the nets up which she politely declined. I wished her a good evening, while she had a worried look at the 8-10 players that had not yet left the ice.
I'm now reviewing that, as of a few years ago and very likely to the present, there have been zero claims against the City for unhelmeted injuries on outdoor rinks. Next time I will inform the rink staff of this -- if they are worried about liability. If it is concussions we're worried about, helmets are no guarantee against such a thing. The lady seems worried about her and the staff's accountability if the supervisor shows up and reprimands them over this. I find this curious at Rosedale as the rink staff are often not onsite and last night was an exception. I wonder if the next time I show up sans helmet if I she will try and bar me from playing? I wonder if the supervisor is Kevin Mercer, supervisor of active living?
From Cedervale Women Shinny Skater to Deirdre Norman: All was great at Cedarvale AIR tonight. 18 women, fun game, ice was ready and guys gave us no problem clearing off at 8:30. Thx for all your help. E
i have been playing at scadding and at other rinks in the city for 15 years, so i know a lot about outdoor hockey in toronto. I had some issues with how scadding was being run last year in terms of the number of permits they issued. They basically killed the game at the rink by over booking permits, 2 people would show up to play their permit and 30 people would be kicked off the ice. Every week night had a permit, and 3 of 5 weeknights had permits from 7-10. After working my way through several layers of bureaucracy and not having any luck getting anything changed i gave up. I figured well what can i do?
One good thing they started doing at scadding 2 years ago was not locking up the actual ice surface at 10 oclock .The change rooms would close at 10 but the lights would stay on until 11 so even if there was a double permitbooked that night u could go and skate around for an hour. However near the end of the season last year, they started kicking everyone off the ice at 10 and locking up the ice surface... when i inquired about it i was told that there had been noise complaints... which was strange to me for a number of reasons. This year they have continued with their early closing of the rink and also have been kicking people off the ice and locking it at 6 on sundays. This past sunday there were 25 people playing hockey at 5:45 who had to get off the ice, supposedly "for insurance" reasons .... i dont know how that makes sense when they pleasure pad is still there and people can play or skate on it 24 hours a day.
To Wendy Jang: ...The outdoor season is here and going well so far. I do need a little help from you regarding the new Cedarvale AIR. The first women-only shinny was yesterday and the women had to share the ice with the guys again. There were only 6 women as it is not well known yet and the 'lead' gal decided to share because she was unsure of how to best approach the situation. There were no difficult or abusive behaviours but obviously we want to start off on the right foot (skate) so if you could let me know who is the rink supervisor for that rink and/or who to contact to make sure there is staff and they are aware of the women-only-no-matter-what policy I would be appreciative. Ellen, the 'lead' gal said that the only staff person was the zamboni driver. There should have been a rink guard somewhere. Can you please let me know names and contact info so that I forward this before the next shinny time?
7pm-8:45pm Adult Shinny was quite crowded. Almost overwhelming numbers. It was 5-on-5 hockey and the benches could scarcely hold all the players waiting for their next change of shift. Still, the firm one puck rule is impressive as compared with Dufferin where multiple pucks and people playing in different corners of the rink -- and nearly running into each other -- is common.
A recently maintained surface was chewed up quite quickly with the amount of hard skating and the number of players. The ice maintenance is quite regular and frequent at this rink.
8pm-10pm Adult Shinny was quiet -- only 7 men showed with most in their twenties; and two men in their sixties. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming to include a newcomer (myself) joining in.
This rink is in a secluded area in wealthy Rosedale. There is only the single hockey rink with a well-kept change room and plenty of rubber mats to walk to and from the rink and change room. Due to its secluded location and the neighbourhood, there is quite a disparity between rink users at Rosedale and rinks like Dufferin. However, nearby Ramsden, and still in the affluent area (but quite visible off of Yonge) has had near overwhelming numbers during the Adult Shinny hours in the evening.
There was quite a bitter wind this night, but the rink was quite sheltered being in a park surrounded by mansions and trees. The ice was decent for being at least a week into the scheduled opening of the rink, but the recent warm weather and rain made the ice soft, but good enough to skate on. There was no staff on-site and I did not ask other users if the rink had opened on schedule on December 1
Rink management has to take control seeing that the posted schedules are followed. Yesterday, because a few people were allowed to play shinny during Leisure skating, the 10 boys who showed up to play hockey felt that it was wrong to follow the schedule because there were just a few leisure skaters. At one point one of the buys stuck out his hockey stick far enough to smack my shin while I was skating my laps. Finally, they gave up when several parents with children arrived. But for 1 adult planning his afternoon around a scheduled skate, it was a very disturbing encounter when there was no need for it.
...They sometimes also set it up where some skaters take half the ice during designated Leisure Skating hours and hockey players take the other half. This "blurs the line" and causes problems. In my opinion the schedule should be strictly enforced
Withrow simply opened with ice that was too thin, much like Dufferin was on opening day on he 24th, but it got one (ONE) flood over the next three days and nobody moved the warm water off the rink during the rain. Combined with heavy use, it was pretty hopeless. Opening the rink on Dec 1 with just a few mm of ice was probably the first mistake. Other rinks seemed to have much thicker ice. One night of good floods could have solved the problem, but I don't think they do night floods. In my experience, one night of hourly floods (even with a hose) is worth two or three of daytime maintenance.
I find it unsurprising that Withrow and Dieppe are close closed, since there was no ice maintenance at all on Sunday or Monday, and it saw pretty heavy use Monday afternoon. A good thick sheet of ice would have held up to the weather yesterday.
It is very sad that there is so little time for public skating and the scheduling is ridiculous. Who can come to skate with kids daytime during the week when ordinary family people work and normal kids go to school? It seems that this rink does not operate to meet needs of local community.
I visited all of the rinks in this corner of town, which includes Withrow, Riverdale, Monarch, Kew Gardens, and both Regent Park rinks.
On Friday (Nov 30th) night the rinks were mostly still closed, the ice was very thin and was covered with snow. Kew Gardens was open and busy, but very snowy. The staff member was actually holding a shovel but said he is under strict orders not to shovel because the Zamboni guys don't like it. Withrow was left unlocked on Friday and a bunch of kids were playing shinny the night before the official opening. Obviously, Greenwood was closed.
Sunday (Dec 2), it was rainy and there was no real effort at all to clean up the rinks. Most of the rinks were locked up by the evening with standing water on them. By 8pm, when I stopped by, most had frozen, but were thick with frost.
Monday (Dec 3) evening, I dropped by Withrow and Riverdale and saw a heavy layer of frost likely left over from the day before, and very very thin ice. It didn't look like the ice crew stopped by at all, and the staff member confirmed that he hadn't seen them. Unfortunately, Withrow had 20 skaters in the afternoon and the ice was worn down to concrete in several areas.
I do have to point out that the rink house staff at all of the rinks I visited were EXTREMELY helpful, aware of the various concerns and issues and happy to work with the skating public. I want to commend the staff I've seen out at the rinks themselves for working with people to figure out shared ice time when it was appropriate and to enforce the schedule when it was needed. That is how the rinks should be run. They all seemed extremely disconnected from the ice maintenance crews, which was a bummer. Most of them seemed a bit down when I asked about the ice condition and they shrugged and said they really didn't have any control over that.
The ice maintenance crew I ran into on Saturday (Dec 1) was also very nice. They lamented not being able to flood at Riverdale East because of a lack of hot water, so they did a scrape-only, which isn't great seeing how thin the ice is at this point. Perhaps that's better than putting down cold water on a cold night where it would just crack anyway. But I have no idea where they were Sunday (Dec 2) (to clear water and avoid frost) and Monday (Dec 3) (to flood), and the ice conditions have suffered because of it.
I've stopped by the Regent Park rinks 4 times in 3 days and have never seen anyone skating. Granted, the conditions were poor, but that was unlike most of the other rinks down this direction.
FYI, rennie was trashed over the weekend and have now stopped offering open adult skates from 10pm-midnight. Major bummer considering its one of the best pickup games in the city...
The ice was thin on the pleasure skating pad and hockey side, but was maintained regularly by a friendly zamboni driver and was in very good condition for the first day of the season. There was a good turnout of parents and children, but not at all crowded. The ice may be doing better here than other more crowded rinks with less skating traffic on the ice.
Went later in the evening to play shinny and the zamboni driver came on the ice at 9pm but let all the hockey players know they could play for another hour if they would wait for him to finish surfacing. This was unexpected for a driver to cater so well to shinny players. All in all, it was a great game of shinny with youth and adults who very friendly with each other. There was no swearing or fighting -- exceptionally well behaved for shinny in Toronto! A one puck rule was firmly kept and all of the players cooperated in shifts on the bench.
A few skaters at Kew Gardens in the Beaches. Ice still pretty thin. Lots of people stopping by to have a look, with zero answers about official opening date.
At 11:15pm. Wallace Rink had ice and 5 workers scheduled to lay down mats. Only problem was that there were no mats to lay. The ones from the previous season were taken off site from the garage and put at Phil White Arena. Then they disappeared.
At 11:30pm, two of these workers went to Campbell to start flooding. 2 additional workers were in the garage - maybe electricians to turn on the rink lights?
11:40pm. Two staff were at Trinity Rink laying down the first flood of the evening, with the rink lights off
11:50pm. Harry Gairey People on the ice skating around, lights are off, hockey side locked.
12:10am. Ryerson There were two trucks and three staff on the ice. Ice looked thick and in good shape, people skating around.
12:26am. Regent north. The lights were off, there was ice and the rink looked like it had been recently flooded. There was a lot of water on the ice - so much so that you could see lots of run off from around the gates and drainage holes. There was a hose that was left running, into the main drain just outside the rink. Also saw some wooden skateboarding ramps nearby.
12:49 Harry Gairey There was a park's truck and two staff on site now. Just before we left we saw them drive out the zamboni. The lights were still off.