See also Site Map
Rink staff Eroca Nichol heard about a whole bunch of free used skates at one of the schools, so rink staff Dan Watson went to look. He found enough good pairs that he could bring over enough for the Christie Pits after-school program "The Nook." He spray-painted them electric blue, and now the Nook kids can go out on the rink and race up and down. Those kids have a huge amount of energy, so this is the right thing for them.
First-ever "Family Day" holiday. Lots of grumbling in the papers that most people wouldn't even be able to take the day off. But they sure did, at least the rinks were full. Olivia Chow, the M.P. for this area, sent out posters announcing a Family Day skating party. The rink staff got in touch with her office and asked if they could help. That worked out well -- there was a campfire with free hot chocolate and hot dogs and marshmallows to toast, there were mini-pizzas and cookies, there was music and there were skates to rent. The day was very cloudy until the start of the skating party (2pm) and then the sun came out. It stayed partly sunny until the end of the skating party, about 4.15. All sorts of people came to the rink who hadn't been coming all winter. There was lots of talk about the poor condition of the rink, the scary youth who hang around there, the unsuitable rink staff. Sounds like there is a strong desire, locally, to make it work better next year.
And there are lots of photos. See the picture gallery
A school outing to the rink had an odd sequel. One of the rink staff, who has been problematic in many ways, got mad at a student who was mouthy, and put him in a head lock. At the time it wasn't all that much -- the staff guy let go and the teacher came over and they kind of made it up. But when the teacher got back to the school with the class, he told the principal, who called the police, who went to the rink right away and talked to the staff guy. So he's out for now, maybe for good.
The staff guy has "issues." He's a gutsy guy, with some good things about him, but he's not able to talk to people in any civil way -- and he scares people. That doesn't work.
First winter campfire. It was a bit of a cliffhanger, since the snow from two days ago hadn't been cleared by this morning. But the flying crew, with reinforcements, came just before noon and got the rink cleared.
The flyer that went out in the neighbourhood had "Sunday February 2" (wrong date) on it but even so, about 60 people came out. Some said it was the first time they ever went to his rink -- even though they live right around the corner. Maybe that will change, with a little extra care.
This week there were some troubles with drinking and other unsavoury behaviours. Staff shifts got moved around, and tonight there was some extra attention on the rink. Mayssan ordered firewood and the staff started a fire in the wood-stove. They cleaned up the office, bought chess and checkers, set up a table to play it on.
The big youth "crew" came around with their cars, but they didn't act disapproving. Even guys who seem to have little to do except hang around, seem to appreciate order.
The snack bar here is rented out privately, meaning the staff can't use it, but the renter doesn't use it either. He has three vending machines, but two of them are broken and one is out of stock. Sad -- this is a very pleasant change-room but it undermines its potential, hugely.
From Dan Watson: I was at Christie tonight to put up posters for my beginner shinny program that I'm going to start up there next week. When I arrived there was no one there and an empty rink. The ice was actually pretty good, it just had water on it.
Eventually a rink guard arrived for his shift. He didn't seem to have anything to do, so I got him set up with a green shovel to try and clear some water off the ice. The B/A on duty then arrived and told me that the rink had been closed by his supervisors.
I asked him if the maintenance supervisor had told them to do that, and he didn't know, so I called him. He hadn't told them to close the rink, and seemed a little frustrated because he said they had worked all day to try and keep the rink open.
The B/A then told the rink guard not to clear the water off, that there was no point as there was no one who wanted to skate. I said perhaps no one wants to skate because there is a layer of water on the ice, that if we could get it off maybe people would come. He said he didn't have time. I asked him what he was doing right now. He took that as an insult, and told me they work hard all the time and that I couldn't come and make broad statements. I said that using those shovels was part of his job. He said that it was pointless to try, that there was too much water. [DW]
2pm Low 10, high 15 celsius. The rink surface was covered in water, but the ice underneath was solid. There were 2 skaters. They said the ice was fine for skating.
Driving by at 12.50 pm -- two hockey players, plus two loiterers outside the change room doors.
The zamboni drivers came at 8.55, looked at the ice and saw that it was very nice, with a family already on playing shinny hockey, and decided they couldn't improve on it. The rain last night did a good job.
Rink staff very busy chipping away at the snow that makes the walkway impassable from Barton Street down to the rink.
Ice pretty good. Lots of confusion about rec staff scheduling -- late opening on the two last days, because of the confusion and various keys being mixed up. No straw broom no dustpan, no band-aids, holiday schedules also confusing and contradictory. To be fixed!
Our group (CELOS) would like to help the city's rink staff to restore the winter snack bar at Christie Rink, with good-quality coffee, hot chocolate, fruit juices, and nutritious foods like soup and sandwiches. In the past few years the snack bar has been closed all winter, and the three large vending machines only offer chips, chocolate bars, and pop.
I gather that the snack bar, which was included in the building as a community kitchen when it was built in the 1990s, has been unavailable for community use for some years now. Could you pass along this request to PFR management, so we can find out the conditions of the current private-use arrangements?
In our opinion, the best use of such a community kitchen in a public space is to provide cheap, nutritious food and a friendly atmosphere for rink users, many of whom are children and youth. Between $100 and $400 profit per week can be expected, depending on rink use, which should all go back into Christie Rink programming rather than to a private individual.
Please help us find out whether the present contract can be amended to allow winter-only community use, or if not, help us find out when the contract is finished so that the kitchen can be returned to community use. I also need this information for the "outdoor rinks" agenda item at City Parks and Environment Committee in January.