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Rink Diary


2021 - 2022

Rink diaries from earlier years:

2020 - 2021

COVID-RELATED RESTRICTIONS:To find out how to book a skating time, go to the city's outdoor rinks web page.
All shinny hockey has been removed except for Greenwood (and only children and youth are allowed there). The city's opening rules are described here and our rinks blog is here.

Nov.28, 2020

Opened for the season

2019 - 2020

NO report

2018 - 2019

Jan.9, 2019, email from rink user

Buttonwood rink seems to have gotten a near full renovation. Looks like there is a new cooling equipment installed, new fencing, the stands have been pulled outside the rink, the wooden path on the north side of the ice is gone, and the ice is about 10-15% wider....Despite the old equipment Buttonwood has always maintained a fairly consistent number of skaters.

The ice was a solid 8/10 last night despite fairly warm temperatures and rain, something that the old cooler could probably not have kept up with.

The city also covered up the door to the skate house, which was presumably used at one point as a changeroom? A few skaters were hoping that a renovation would include the reopening of the skate house and a warm place to change, but that seems like it's never happening now :(

Dec.4, 2018

Listing changed to "open" this afternoon.

Dec.3, 2018

The rink was scheduled to be open on Dec.1, 2018, but on Nov.30 the listing was changed to "under construction," no reason given. Still that way today.

2017 - 2018

Dec.10, 2017

The rink is listed as open, even though the schedule said it would open mid-January.

Dec.4, 2017

bare concrete on the rink pad....

...but compressors are on

the only signs: "rink closed," schedule as if there was ice, "no smoking" and "no trespassing after hours"

Missing: any information about what's wrong with the rink.

Dec.2, 2017

The city's rink web page says "Delayed opening due to mechanical issues, estimated to open January 2018." Sounds like they plan to run it as a natural ice rink.


2016 - 2017

no rink visits

2015 - 2016

Jan.20, 2016

Now that the weather is cold, the rink's ice looks very good. This rink seems to have excellent lighting -- but we're not sure how much they use it.

big expanse of good smooth ice

there are four of these good light standards
Dec.27, 2015

Listed as closed Dec.24 to 27.

Dec.19 2015

The rink is now listed as open.

Dec.16 2015

Buttonwood has been marked as closed for many days. The puzzle is, why is their ice so bad? Is it because of an old compressor that no longer has enough kick? Or is it because ice-making is done by staff schedule rather than by a best-practice schedule? Should this rink be taken over by the community, hosed as a natural-ice rink but with the compressor still on?

The compressor plant is going -- why is there so little ice?

Very thin ice, showing the cement: 45 other rinks are running

truck outside: no service truck, a graffiti removal truck. Really?

more detailed information would be good

2014 - 2015

Jan.24 2015,

I tried to go skating at Buttonwood rink on Thursday and the lights were off. I returned on Saturday evening to go skating but the ice was not skate-able. Seems as if the ice has not been cleaned in a long time. From Rink User CH

The city's web information page says nothing about Buttonwood not being maintained: see their open/close listing. It would be helpful if you call the city's help line at 311 to report this. They will pass the message to the rink supervisor and should get back to you within 48 hours. From CityRinks

Dec.2 2014,

This rink was listed as open on Nov.29, but then quickly as not open -- seems to have finally got going around Tuesday.


Monday, November 25th, 2013

We went by late Monday night. The compressors were on and a layer of rime build up covered the surface of the rink.


2011 - 2012

Saturday Dec.3 2011

No opening day sign. Good amount of people.


2010 - 2011

Sunday January 2, 2011, e-mail from a skater named Eric, visiting from Kansas. Eric wrote:


Just returned from a little vacation to Toronto to play some shinny and just hang out around the city.

Where I live in Kansas, I can get about 45 minutes of ice time per week, so it is a fun break to head up there and get a few hours per day.

I figured I've found your website so helpful, that i would run through our week and report on the rinks we visited.

Buttonwood, 4:30pm: We dropped by the rink about 5pm to find it completely empty, with a worker just cleaning the ice. He said he had been to four rinks and Buttonwood had the best ice of any of them due to the unseasonably warm weather the last few days. He scraped and flooded the ice and a large family showed up to play shinny as he was finishing with three adults and three kids. After an hour or so, a number of older teens and young adults arrived until around 7pm when there were about 25 players. They seemed to be regular visitors. The rink was nice, however, one side is a cement pad (like many of the rinks, apparently) and pucks lost to the cement demand some gymnastics to avoid damaging skate blades.



December 8 2008

Letter to from user O.L.


On your website it say that Buttonwood Rink was suppose to be open on December 6th. I visited the rink and found only one thin layer of ice down and the gates locked. I know this rink is not high priority for the city because itís so small, but maybe you could get some updated information for your website to let others know when it opens.

Monday December 8 2008, reply from to Orest Leshchyshen, cc'd to City Councillor [email protected]|Gloria Lindsay Luby, City outdoor ice rinks manager Kevin Bowser, and City rink information line staff Kelly McInnes at [email protected].

I'm sorry you were disappointed by our wrong information on The problem is that we are not an official city site and so it's sometimes tough for us to find out about delays in opening. However, let's try to follow up now. I'm cc'ing this e-mail to your City Councillor and also to the manager of city rinks. The city has its own "rink hotline" but if you tried it, you will note that Buttonwood Rink is left off their announcements. That's strange, because your rink is in a great location and I think it gets a lot of use from local youth -- of which you may be one, am I right? (Because you started your e-mail with "hey.")

Please let me know what the city rink staff's answer is, to your question. For now, we'll write that it did not open on December 6 and we're awaiting an update. Perhaps the city's information line staff will be able to find out -- I've cc'd her on this also.

Tuesday Dec.9, 2008

E-mail from Councillor Lindsay Luby's office to O.L. and, cc to Terry Hickingbottom

Further to your e-mails below, Terry Hickingbottom, Supervisor, Active Living, advises that Buttonwood Rink was delayed in opening as there was an issue with the compressor which needed attention. The issue was resolved and staff were able to cool the pad on Friday. The pad had skaters on it last evening and although the ice is not as thick as other locations, it will continue to build over the next few days weather permitting. There is no menu selection on the 338 RINK line for any of the Etobicoke York minor pads as they are all drop in facilities.

Tuesday Dec.9, from to Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby

Thanks for getting the answers so quickly. I have posted your response on the Buttonwood Rink blog.

As for the city "rink hotline" not having drop-in rink information for your ward, may I suggest that they simply add the opening dates for the drop-in rinks to the city's recorded information, as they do for the larger drop in rinks like e.g. City Hall?

It only takes a moment, and it would be a help to rink users who don't want to go to their neighbourhood a rink only to find it's not open yet.

Also, the City's web site still gives Dec.6 as the Buttonwood opening day: I'm sure you agree that it would be good to keep the City's web site updated, again so that rink users could rely on it.

Wednesday December 10 2008

unsupervised shinny hockey, what a thrill

The rink is in the middle of a big open space behind an apartment building. At night it's visible from far away because of the bright rink lights and the steam rising from the condenser. The ice looked good, despite bad weather yesterday (rain mixed with snow). At about 7 pm the rink had 25 youth on it, skating around or talking. A few girls, mostly guys. Almost half seemed to be smoking. There was no adult at all, nowhere nearby either. The mood was merry, lots of ribbing, but it didn't sound mean. Some of the kids remembered having their photo taken last year, and they commented on its having been the "featured picture" on the homepage for some time.

Sticks were thrown into the middle and then suddenly there was a fast game. There are no boards, and the ice doesn't even cover the whole tennis court -- on one side there's suddenly cement -- but it didn't seem to bother anyone. A few kids wore helmets. Most didn't.

shrine for a murdered youth

Outside of the rink, against the chain link fence, was a shrine for 17-year-old Boris Cikovic, who was murdered near the rink in early October. There was a hockey stick, a basketball, some lanterns, a photograph, a plastic wreath, and a little printed description, maybe from the funeral.

A rink maintenance staff person came by to check on the rink. He said that there had been many layers of water put down to get the rink ready, "every day, every day, we were out here" and he was clearly pleased at the results -- good ice and a rink full of kids, playing shinny. The memorial is right beside them, and at least some of the kids must have known this talented young hockey player. But as long as there are kids and places where they can play, life goes on.


2007 - 2008

Saturday January 12

Saturday afternoon at Buttonwood Rink.
Click on picture to enlarge it.

2:30pm About a dozen boys and girls are playing hockey. They look like kids playing baseball in the back field, just messing around. The big difference is that this pickup game depends on a 50 horsepower compressor and the machinery to clear the ice. A whole city bureaucracy is needed to set these friendly, goofy kids up in their play area. Some of them don't even have skates.

We ask them if we can take their picture, and tell them they'll be posted on the website. This interests them for half a minute -- being on TV would last a little longer -- but then they return to their game. Two of the three girls are goalies, and they get frustrated with each other if they let the puck through. The boys flash up and down the ice and don't seem to take anything very hard.

Saturday December 8

Shinny at Buttonwood

1:45pm This is a shared-use rink where shinny players and pleasure skaters use the ice at the same time. A city worker at the site says this is an "off the track place. There's nothing here at all." During our visit there is a lively game of shinny involving ten players. There are also a few pleasure skaters, but the rink is largely empty despite the huge housing development nearby. A CELOS researcher spoke to a woman who brought her daughter here to skate. The woman says she used to skate here as a child. She says it was never busy and she brought her daughter here because she knew it wouldn't be crowded.


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Content last modified on November 30, 2021, at 07:55 PM EST