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See January diaries
Rob Elliot, a local artist who skates at Campbell, has offered to decorate the rink changeroom with some whimsical plywood penguins on skates that he made. On Sunday he met with a recreation staffer and placed four of the penguins on a wall inside the changeroom.
Recreation staff are waiting for park workers to bring out the rubber mats that were stored in the compressor room at the end of last winter. Rec staff lay out the mats on the changeroom's concrete floor to protect visitors' skates. Rec staff are willing to move the mats themselves but aren't allowed into the compressor room where they are stored.
The rink is scheduled to open on Saturday along with the majority of the outdoor rinks operated by the city. The compressor is running, but park workers haven't cleaned leaves and other debris off the rink surface. The rink is covered in rain water that has begun to freeze.
One of the outdoor lights on the rinkhouse has a broken case. The north gates to the rink are missing the two metal bars needed to attach keep the top chainlink half in place. The big bars on the bottom boards half of the gate won't slide into place because the two half of the gate aren't in alignment.
Park workers have finally moved the rubber mats into the rinkhouse.
The rink is still covered in leaves and debris including part of a broken hockey stick. The rainwater is partially frozen making it unlikely the debris will be cleaned before park workers lay down the layers of ice.
Rec staff spent the day laying out the rubber mats inside and outside the rinkhouse. Most of the mats are laid out once for the season, but every Saturday and Sunday rec staff have to lay out additional rubber mats so pleasure skaters can walk to the campfire area and to the rink through the west Zamboni gates. Since staff have to work with donated mats that are different sizes laying out the outdoor mats can get tricky. To make sure things go smoothly when the rink opens on Saturday, staff did a trial run of laying out the temporary mats.
Rec staff are still cleaning and organizing things in the rinkhouse to make it ready for Satuday's opening day. Staff have extra work to do because Campbell unlike most city rinks has a snackbar and a skate loan program. Adapting the rinkhouse 'office' for these programs involves a lot of arranging and rearranging.
The rain water on the rink surface has completely frozen. One member of the public put on his skates and tried out the ice. He was able to skate around the rink without any problems even though park staff haven't begun to lay down the ice layers yet.
When rec staff arrived in the afternoon to do more work in the rinkhouse, they found that park staff had laid down some ice the night before. The ice looks good on the surface despite the debris underneath. Park staff have also brought over benches and a picnic table from Dufferin Grove. This means people will have a places to sit and eat during the Saturday and Sunday campfires.
The tap in the woman's washroom is broken.
The ice is looking good despite the debris underneath which may become a problem when the sun rises higher later in the season. People have started skating even though the rink doesn't officially open until Saturday. When staff checked the rink at 7pm, a group of teenagers were playing hockey in the dark.
Rink season begins
Opening day. When rink staff arrived at 9am the ice had been scraped and flooded. Park staff had only delivered one hockey net and rec staff were forced to bring over a pair of the small shinny nets from Dufferin. Hockey players started coming at 10am. It wasn't too busy with 10-14 guys on the ice at a time. Staff sold a lot of hot dogs to the players. There was a poor turnout for pleasure skating with about a dozen people on the ice at a time. The rink lights didn't come on on time and people were forced to skate in the dark. The Zamboni made its second appearance of the day shortly after 6. After the Zamboni left, a park worker who said he was an electrician came and turned on the outdoor lights. This made the hockey players happy. All during the day last year's regular shinny players came to the rink by car and truck to check on the ice. Rec staff also answered many calls from people wanting to know if the rink was open.
Earlier during the week when rec staff were getting the rinkhouse ready, they worked in the cold because the heat in the building was turned off. Staff contacted recreation supervisor David Haines for help. He asked park workers to turn on the heat but they couldn't get into the building. Finally on Saturday, the rec supervisor asked rec staff to check the fuse box in the office. When rec staff looked at the box, they remembered that park workers had put in a toggle switch last year that allowed them to turn the heat on and off. Thanks to David Haines' sound advice, rec staff sheepishly realized they could have turned the heat on by themselves a week ago. Foolish rec staff!
before 9am scrape/flood
When rink staff arrived the ice appeared to have been scraped earlier in the morning. The one hockey player skating said the ice was good. There was still only one hockey net at the rink. Later in the afternoon, a Zamboni driver from Dufferin brought over a second net.
The morning was slow but by noon there were 10 hockey players on the ice. At one o'clock they were surpised to be asked to clear the ice for the new Sunday pleasure-skating hours 1-3pm. The players were polite but argued they should be allowed to stay on the ice until the skaters arrived. (There were three skaters in the dressing room.) Staff explained that when skaters see how players on the ice during skating hours, they often turn away because they don't think the skating hours are being enforced. This was a problem at Campbell in the past. At first there were few skaters on the ice, but by 2 o'clock there were thirty.
The Zamboni came a second time at 4pm and did a flood and scrape. The rink was busy after pleasure skating ended. At 3pm there were 15 players on the ice. Just before 4 there were 24 with more in the dressing room. Players kept arriving even after staff closed the changeroom at 6pm.
Some local teenagers who don't skate use the Campbell rinkhouse as a hang-out. They are loud, crude and rude to staff. When staff try to control their behaviour, they become belligerent. On Sunday afternoon, two residents interested in rinks were trying to have a conversation in the changeroom. When one of them talked to the teenagers, the teens were defiant. The b/a called the cluster coordinator to help deal with the problem. Rowdy teens are an on-going problem at Campbell and other rinks. Rink staff who work alone often have to call for back-up, but back-up isn't always immediately available because the cluster coordinator who is responsible for Dufferin, Wallace-Emerson and Campbell is herself usually overwhelmed. A coordinator can only be one place at a time.
before 10am scrape only
It snowed all day Monday. Rec staff came to the rink at 11am to hand-scrape snow off the ice in preparation for a school group that was arriving in the afternoon. The school group came at 1 and left at 2. At 3:30pm, staff asked 7 hockey players to put away their sticks and pucks because it was pleasure skating. The players chose to leave the ice. One little boy who lives near the rink came to skate. A woman who just moved to Toronto and now lives near the rink asked if the rink was public and if there was a charge for skating. Staff explained that Campbell is one of 50 city-operated rinks and that there is no charge for skating. She came back a few minutes later to skate. At 4:30 there were 8 skaters on the ice, some of them boys who would rather have played hockey. During the pleasure skate, the b/a used one of the rink's green shovels to clear snow off the ice. One of the boy's who had come to play hockey offered to help. He said clearing snow was more interesting than skating. The woman who had come to skate also helped out. Later towards the end of skating, an older hockey player started to push snow off the ice. When hockey started at 5:30, he cleared snow while ten other hockey players continued to play on the half of the ice that was already clean. The b/a told them he needed a volunteer to help the first player and that if he didn't get one, all the players would have to leave the ice until the job was done. Two boys volunteered. The Zamboni came at 6:15 and scraped the ice. Some of the hockey players wanted to know why the Zamboni hadn't flooded. They were told that Zamboni operators don't flood when it's snowing. The rest of the evening was quiet, except for a small group of teens in the changeroom who were a little rowdy.
before 11am scrape
NB staff and patrons used green shovels to manually scrape snow off the ice at 12:15pm and 5-6pm
3:30pm 7 hockey players (before switch)
3:30pm 1 pleasure skater (after switch)
4:30pm 8 pleasure skaters including 4 boys who had come to play hockey
5:30pm 10 hockey players
6pm 14 hockey players
7pm 14 hockey players
8pm 10 hockey players, 4 pleasure skaters
9pm 2 pleasure skaters
(Note: 3:30-5:30 are pleasure skating hours. 5:30-9pm are scheduled for hockey, but staff don't stop adult pleasure skaters who don't mind skating around the game. In the past, hockey players have told staff they don't mind pleasure skaters on the ice as long the skaters don't get in the way of the game.)
The ice was scraped and flooded sometime before 11am. At 11 the ice was smooth and hard. Staff arrived shortly after 11 to prepare for another afternoon school group, but the group didn't show up, because of a misunderstanding between staff and the school.
before 11am scrape/flood
5:45pm ice cleaned
morning - not recorded
6-6:20pm ice cleaned
morning - not recorded
In the morning, staff met with Doug Carroll, a west-end resident who ran unsuccessfully for city councillor in the ward 18 elections and has an interest in how public policy affects parks. This morning he was at Campbell to help staff organize the staff office/snackbar in a way that makes the best use of the limited space available. Campbell's rinkhouse wasn't designed to accommodate a snackbar so the staff who run it have a few problems. For example, there's no door connecting the office/snackbar to the changeroom. If staff need to get water or clean the changeroom they either have to climb over the counter or go outside and come back in through the front door. For two hours Doug and the staff moved around furniture including a table and big refrigerator to see how things might work better. In the end they came up with a new arrangement that seems to work, though there's still a lot to be done.
Very few skaters came to the rink this morning. Around noon, two women went on the ice to skate. They were newcomers to Canada and had just bought their first set of skates.came to the rink with the skates still in their boxes. The hockey players started arriving at 1 and there were 24 on the ice when pleasure skating began at 4. Even though the Saturday 4-6pm pleasure skating time period has been in place for years, some hockey players are still surprised there's any skating at all at Campbell. However, only two complained. The rest came off the ice as soon as they were asked. Pleasure skating was moderately busy. At one point there were 21 skaters on the ice was some more people either sitting at the campfire or inside the rinkhouse. The evening shinny period was fairly busy. One dad who came with his son to the rink, donated a pair of skates that don't fit his son any more.
scrape/flood before 10am
scrape/flood 6-6:15pm (The Zamboni arrived at 5:30pm a half hour before pleasure-skating began. When rec staff asked the Zamboni operators to wait until the end of pleasure-skating, they agreed. They said they would fill up the machine and wait for skating to end.)
All Ages - shinny
10am 0 hockey, 0 skaters
11am 1 hockey
12pm 2 pleasure skaters, 0 hockey players, 0 inside
1pm 7 hockey, 4 inside
2pm 12 hockey, 2 inside
3pm 20 hockey, 4 inside
3:59pm 24 hockey, 4 inside
4pm 4 pleasure skaters, 24 inside
5pm 21 pleasure skaters, 7 inside
All Ages - shinny
6pm 12 hockey, 8 inside
7pm 18 hockey, 0 inside
8pm 14 hockey, 2 inside
9pm 5 hockey, 0 inside
When staff arrived at 10am, the west Zamboni gates were open and the nets were off the ice. It rained all morning and much of the rink was covered in water, especially the western half. Still the ice was less wet than it was at some other rinks. Staff were able to clear off most of the water using the big green shovels left over from the rink's pre-Zamboni days. By 2pm, there were 5 hockey players on the ice including a dad with his son and daughter. At 4pm, there were 8 players on the ice. Except for the dad, they were all young. They couldn't use the nets because of the weather (when it gets warm the nets sink into the ice leaving grooves) so they played using small plastic stools to mark the goals. All the players were people staff knew from last year. The 1-3pm Sunday afternoon family skate and campfire had to be cancelled because of the rain.
before 10am Zamboni gates open and nets off ice, rain water on ice
afernoon - no Zamboni visits
At 10am it was cold with snow flurries. No maintenance had been done yet and the ice was covered in snow. The new front sign with the rink name, address and phone number was lying on the ground. One corner of the sign was banged up. At first staff thought it might have been vandalism, but now think the cold air acting on the bricks somehow pushed out the pegs holding the sign up. It's hard to know what happened because staff weren't there.
It was a bitter cold day and the turnout for the after-school pleasure-skate was poor. At 4pm there were six skaters on the ice. At 5pm, there were only four. There weren't a lot of hockey players either. At 6pm there were six. Things picked up a bit at 7, when there 14 players on the ice, but by 8 there were only three left.
A dad brought his son to the rink. The son had skates but they didn't fit so the father paid the $2 and borowed a pair of park skates. Then he asked if the park accepted donated skates. When rink staff said it did, he gave Campbell his son's skates which were almost new. Another man who had spent time talking to staff on another visit came by with a pile of used pucks he had gotten as part of a storage locker sale.
11:15am ice cleaned
morning - not recorded (at 3pm ice was covered in snow)
8pm scrape only
A group from Perth school came to the rink at 1pm. Staff counted 58 children.
morning - not recorded
7-7:30pm scrape only
Another school group today. This time there wer 44 children. There weren't enough rental skates in small sizes for all the children. Although Campbell has skates in most sizes to rent, the number of skates in any particular size is limited. As it is, staff have trouble finding enough space to store the skates they do have. There are two large cabinets with skates with extras on smaller shelves and in duffel bags. All in all, it makes for a crowded office/snackbar.
morning - scrape/flood
Campbell has two big green shovels left over from pre-Zamboni days when the ice was cleared by hand. These scrapers are handy when the Zamboni doesn't come for one reason or another. This is especially true when it's snowing. Rink staff and patrons bring them out and hand scrape the snow off the ice. Hockey players on skates, taking turns, can be surprisingly quick in clearing the entire rink. On Saturday, rink staff noticed that the larger of the two shovels had gone missing. Staff later heard that a green shovel had turned up at Rosedale rink where patrons had asked for one. Did Rosedale get one of Campbell's shovels? Too soon to say for sure, but it's an interesting coincidence.
Most of Saturday is scheduled as all ages shinny, but from 4-6pm there is pleasure-skating with a campfire next to the rink. These two hours of skating have been on the schedule for four years. Most of the regular Saturday shinny players accept it or at least they get off the ice without complaining. Campbell, however, also gets hockey players who only show up once in a while. Some of them are so used to thinking of Campbell as a hockey rink that they are surprised there's any pleasure skating at all. Staff still get asked questions like "Since when is there pleasure skating at Campbell?" or "I know it says pleasure skating on the schedule, but you're not really going to enforce it, are you?"
Staff find it easier to respond when they can point to a changing room full of skaters, but on a day like today when the skaters weren't there at 4, they can find themselves arguing with hockey players who can't understand why they have to take their sticks off the ice. Today one player was particularly reluctant and had to be told more than once not to skate with his stick. He was the exception. The other players didn't complain, though a couple asked politely if they could keep playing until the skaters showed up. Staff said they couldn't because when skaters see hockey they think skating hours aren't being enforced. After taking off their skates a couple of the players decided to warm up by the campfire.
Fortunately for staff, the skaters started coming shortly after 4. At 4:45pm there were 24 on the ice and at 5:45on there were 31. Many are regulars who come back week after week. These are modest numbers but not bad for Campbell. Unfortunately the Zamboni arrived shortly before 5 in the middle of skating. Rec staff told the operators (the flying squad) that they had come at a bad time. After explaining that Campbell only has a few hours of leisure skating a week, rec staff asked if the Zamboni could come back later. The operators said they would leave if rec staff asked, but they couldn't come back later. It was now or never. Rec staff reluctantly agreed that the Zamboni should clean the ice even if that interrupted the skating.
During the Saturday and Sunday pleasure skates, rec staff set up mats from the west Zamboni gates to the rinkhouse and to campfire area. These mats are laid out on the same driveway the Zamboni uses. This creates a crowd control problem when the flying squad comes during pleasure skating. Staff have to make sure people aren't walking between the rinkhouse, the campfire area and the rink while the Zamboni is driving up from Campbell.
Today the Zamboni pulled up the driveway and filled up with water. Then the operators scraped and flooded the ice between 5 and 5:15pm. All things considered, the ice maintenance went smoothly but it would be better if the flying squad didn't come during skating hours.
scrape/flood before 11am
The ice was scraped and flooded in the morning but as pleasure skating approached at 1, the rink was covered in snow again. Rec staff took out their one remaining green shovel (see yesterday's diary entry) and began hand-scraping the snow. They got a lot of help from one of the skaters, which made the job much easier. Pleasure skating got off to a slow start and as on Saturday staff were left wondering if anyone would show up. They could breathe a sigh of relief when a quarter hour later there were 15 skaters on the ice. At two there were 32. Once again a modest but reasonable turnout. There was plenty of activity at the campfire where staff served warm cider instead of the usual hot chocolate, which was stil available in the rinkhouse.
Towards 6 in the evening when staff were slowly getting ready to close the building, a group of teens including a couple who hadn't come to skate became unruly. There was sone loud swearing and banging of hockey sticks against metal stools. A couple of the young hockey players were tapping each other with their sticks. After staff repeatedly told them to stop, they were asked to leave. They eventually did but only after dragging it out to the last minute before closing.
before 11am scrape/flood
Some user statistics:
1:15pm 15 pleasure skaters
2pm 32 pleasure skaters
3pm 15 hockey players
4pm 29 hockey players
Last year a small group of parents from Perth school met with Campbell staff to talk about the lack of weekday pleasure-skating. The parents said they would like to take their children skating after school. After listening to the parents, staff decided to add some skating to Monday's schedule. For a short while, staff tried after school shared use where the ice was divided in half between hockey players and pleasure skaters. That didn't work well, so staff finally added two hours of pleasure-skating only (no sticks or pucks) 3:30-5:30pm, The Monday turnout was small but there were enough regulars to justify giving the time slot another try this year.
Still it can be tricky when rec staff have to ask hockey players to put away their sticks and pucks even though no pleasure skaters have shown up yet. That's what happened today. Fortunately, as on the weekend some skaters did turn up at the last minute. Shortly after 4 there were 10 skaters on the ice and at 5 there were 20, which is a respectable turnout. Among the people on the ice were two young Australians who had just bought their first pair of skates. They were planning to play hockey and had come to Campbell to practice. They did well for first-time skaters, but they did have trouble stopping.
before 10am scrape only
afternoon/evening - not recorded
A group from Humber College came to skate from 12 to 2. The students, who were newcomers to Canada, were first-time skaters. Staff loaned out a lot of skates but there weren't enough in the right sizes for all the students.
There was no ice maintenance this morning and the ice was already snowy when the Humber College students arrived at noon. After they left at 2, hockey players and staff hand-shovelled the rink. The Zamboni didn't show until 7pm when it did a scrape and flood. Rec staff spent much of the day listening to understandably frustrated patrons complain about the lack of ice maintenance.
No morning maintenance
NB at 2pm staff and patrons hand-shovelled snow off the ice
10am 0 hockey, 0 inside
11am 3 hockey, 0 inside
12[, 26 pleasure, 4 inside
1pm 24 pleasure, 4 insdie
2pm 2 pleasure, 6 hockery, 28 inside
3pm 12 hockey, 5 insdie
2pm 2 pleasure, 6 hockey, 28 inside
3pm 12 hockey, 5 inside
4pm 16 hockey, 7 inside
5pm 11 hockey, 8 inside
6pm 11 hockey, 2 inside
There was no ice maintenance today until 5:50pm. Once again rec staff spent much of the day listening to angry hockey players complain about the poor quality of the ice. Some hockey players and skaters understand that rec staff have no control over ice maintenance but some don't. As far at the second group of patrons is concerned everybody who works at the rink is a city employee responsible for the keeping the ice clean. It's not uncommon for staff to hear, epecially from the younger guys, "What are you city guys good for?" or "Where is my tax money going anyway?"
No morning maintenance
Am flood done, great ice for the morning skate. Another maintenance done at 4pm, scrape only. Confirmation that there will be no maintenance tomorrow. Not a very busy day, but that's the norm, with everyone preparing for dinner in the neighborhood.
Late on Friday park workers brought a big green shovel to replace the one went missing a week ago. The replacement shovel as well as Campbell's smaller scraper are now securely chained to the unused stove in the rinkhouse changeroom.
morning - scrape/flood
4pm scrape only
Campbell was officially closed on Christmas but since the gates are never locked people did come to skate and play hockey. The morning was slow but in the afternoon there were a dozen hockey players on the ice including one teenager who played in a sleeveless undershirt. At 4 families began arriving for pleasure skating. There was a campfire by the side of the rink where skaters could get free hot chocolate and homemade donuts. At one point there were twenty-two skaters on the ice. One man said he lives near JJP (Earlscourt) rink. In past years JJP has been locked on Christmas so he didn't bother trying there. (As it happens CELOS researchers went to JJP today and while the rinkhouse was closed, the gates to the rink were in fact open. Still, it's hard to blame someone for going by past experience.) He came with his family to Campbell because he knew it would be open.
None (rink officially closed)
Sunday 1-3pm is pleasure skating. Staff introduced this time slot because of last year's good turnouts for Saturday 4-6pm skating. Today's turnout was modest but steady. At one point there were 18 skaters on the ice with two more changing in the rinkhouse. Among the skaters was a family from Orange County, California who had come to visit a brother who lives in the neighbourhood. The brother had come to play shinny. When he saw that Campbell rents skates he phoned his California relatives and told them to come to the rink. Rink staff were curious to know if the family skated back home. They did. The dad said he has skated at different public rinks in North America and that Campbell was the one in the best condition of all of them.
before 10am scrape/flood
NO AFTERNOON/EVENING MAINTENANCE
5:15pm scrape only (Zamboni operators said it was too cold to flood)
10:15 scrape and flood
5:45 scrape only
When the flying squad cleaned the ice in the early afternoon, there was an angry exchange between hockey players and the Zamboni operator.
12:40pm scrape/flood (3 passes made by operator)
11:10am - ice maintenance
6:15pm - scrape/flood, just once around, the flying squad commented to each other that the ice is thin in patches, though when rec staff asked skaters to wait so that the water could dry before they went on, the zamboni staff told them not to wait, to just go on. So they did.
9:50am ice cleaned
NO AFTERNOON/EVENING MAINTENANCE - flying squad checked ice at 4:50pm - operators said ice too soft to do maintenance - took nets off because they were sinking into ice