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During the 2009 garbage strike, Christie Rink was used as a dump. To read more about that strike, click here.
High 1, low -5. The rink had lots of shell ice but was skateable. It closes at 6 pm on Saturdays, and after that there were only a handful of people skating.
Email from rink user D.B.:
Numbers, 3:25pm: 23 pleasure-skaters, 6 helmets (5 kids, one adult); 14 inside.
Numbers at 3.30 pm: 21 pleasure-skaters, 11 inside
Numbers at 5.30 pm: 12 shinny players, none with helmets. 8 people inside.
Four youth were having a noisy card game at a table just outside the office. One of them was arguing with a fifth youth who felt that the card player had stolen his shoes. It turned out that another one of the card players was the building attendant. He told the guy who was missing his shoes to stop complaining, that they would turn up.
I had some trouble getting the staff person's attention, but when I persisted, the card game stopped and the other three guys went out onto the ice. I asked if I could put up my "What needs fixing?" rink poster on the bulletin board, and explained that I had spoken to the Parks Director about it. The building attendant said he would have to check with his supervisor, and put the poster away. He said he didn't know when he would be talking to his supervisor again.
There was no wood supply near the woodstove and the building attendant said they had not been using the stove this winter.
As I left, the youth who was missing his shoes came onto the rink, yelling, "Hey fag! Where did you put my shoes?"
A fairly sordid scene.
Numbers at 3pm: 5 shinny hockey players, no helmets, 3 people inside (staff and friends playing poker).
Numbers at 7 pm: 10 shinny hockey, 3 with helmets. 5 inside playing poker with rink guard
They've had some maintenance today, but because of the snow, they've been using green shovels too.
Numbers at 6.30pm: 9 pleasure skaters, staff in office.
We're trying an early-morning game: "Find the zamboni flying crew." They start their shift at 6 a.m., first going to the service yard at Boothe Avenue, across town, to park and pick up the machine. Our "find-the-zamboni" game started out in the dark, with a sickle moon still high in the sky, at 7.07. At Wallace Rink - no ice resurfacing yet. 7.13 at Campbell Rink: no ice resurfacing yet. 7.22 at Christie Rink: no ice resurfacing yet. 7.32 at Trinity Rink - no ice resurfacing yet. 7.39: zamboni driver on site at Dufferin Rink (he's not part of the flying crew). Clear, cold sky (minus 15), getting lighter. 7.39 at Wallace Rink: no ice resurfacing yet. 7.49 at Campbell Rink: no ice resurfacing yet. 7.58 at Christie Rink: no ice resurfacing yet. A beautiful sunrise -- but no zamboni flying crew, anywhere. They must be somewhere else, but where?
At 12.45 I visited again. The ice had been resurfaced and there were 4 people on the rink and 4 people changing inside. They looked very cheerful -- "it's not cold out there!" One rink guard and one building attendant, who said there had been some really enthusiastic skaters earlier, who had already left.
I said that Christie Rink has a nightly poker game in front of the office, but the two staff were dubious. "Cards, maybe, but not poker."
Numbers samples, 7.30 pm: 12 shinny hockey players, no helmets except for one goalie.
Number samples, 7 pm: 12 shinny hockey players, 4 of them just standing in the boxes. No helmets. Building closed.
10.15 pm: 12 shinny hockey players, 4 helmets. Building closed.
Numbers samples, 8:15 1 goalie, 24 on ice, 10 inside, staff in building, visible.
Number sample, 7:50pm: 14 shinny hockey players, 3 with helmets, 6 inside
At 2.30 pm the rink was hopping -- the pleasure pad was full of skaters, the snow hills were swarming with kids, indoors there was hardly a spot to sit down. It was the Christie Pits fun day, co-sponsored by the Toronto Playgrounds Rep Baseball League torontoplaygrounds.ca/rep/ and the Friends of Christie Pits Park. Their chair Monica Gupta said there were games on the snow hills, and even a sing-song around the woodstove. And there was free pizza.
Monica said she brought wood from home and took responsibility for the fire. Apparently the rule at Christie Rink is that the woodstove can't be lit unless there is a dedicated staff just for the stove. Maybe the rink staff's card game could be moved around the corner within view?
'''Number sample, 7:30pm: 13 shinny hockey players (2 with helmets), 3 inside.
Number sample, 8:35pm: 3 shinny players, no helmets. Ice has been scraped, though not very well (little bumpy ridges in places, bits of frozen slush), the building is locked, with only one net on the ice. I went up to the hockey players and said "hey, you know if you want the other net it's right here and the gate is unlocked." he said "ok" then the two of us started to pull it onto the ice. then a guy comes over on his cell phone, I see it's one of the guys who usually works nights there, often playing poker, in his city of toronto hat. he asks if we're just trying to get the net on, we say yes, he helps out, still on the phone. I ask if he works here, and that i had assumed no one was here since the building was closed. he said "we're closing soon". I asked if there had been a permit tonight and he said no, never on mondays. then he went back to sit in a car in the parking lot with a friend.
Number sample 4:56pm 8 hockey players, no helmets, 4 pleasure skaters (2 with helmets)
As I arrived rec staff were locking the building promptly at 4:56pm. Today was Olivia Chow's big family event from 1-3pm - the rec staff said there were hundreds of people there. He said the rink lights would be on until 11pm or so.
The Star: There's a will to fix up 'The Duff.' Why won't city find a way to help?, February 23, 2010.