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Here's a look at the running of Christie Pits Rink during the rink season of 2005/2006. Toronto has 47 neighborhood compressor-powered outdoor rinks (that's not counting the big outdoor rinks in central squares). The rinks range from lively meeting places for their neighborhoods to squalid hangouts for very troubled people. The rinks are also demonstration sites of the joys and troubles that beset city staff. Jutta Mason visited some rinks every day, some just occasionally.
At 10.05 p.m. the ice was empty, nets were on, and a full-equipment permit was just relaxing post-game in the dressing room. There was a fire in the wood stove, lots of benches, and the scene looked very nice. The on-site rink staff was reading the paper. He said that everything is clear now that Tino and he have talked, and he'll do the same things at Trinity. (?) He also said the Pepsi machine is being moved away from the fireplace today.
On-site staff person called around 1 p.m. and said he was closing Trinity and Christie because each had two inches of water on them. At 6 p.m. the rink was locked but there was one skater inside -- water on the edges but solid in the middle. Rink house was locked too, no sign on it. I unlocked the rink door. The skater was glad, said the ice was fine, he was skating all around.
7.25 p.m. three skaters on the ice, ice was fine (but had not been scraped). I unlocked the hockey nets. As I left I could see two families coming for pleasure skating -- but rink house was still locked. I.e. rink was quite skateable from 5.30p.m. even with no ice maintenance but it was closed all evening.
10.30pm there was one skater just leaving. Rink was unlocked but nets were locked to the outside. Why?
7.30 p.m. pleasure skating time, hockey nets locked up. Ice had been done shortly before, by zamboni travelling without a trailer. One on-site rink staff was reading a book, the other on his cell. One staff would be plenty. A family of 5 or 6 were sitting on benches near the fireplace chatting. Said they don't come to Dufferin much anymore because it's too crowded. (yes!!) But they said they miss the food and the atmosphere.
Pepsi machine has been moved; good. I put three chairs in front of the fireplace, which had a nice fire in it.
1.45 p.m. One on-site rink staff person plus one community-hours window washer plus three friends. Out on the ice: three skaters. I asked the on-site rink staff about the youth program that runs out of Alex Duff -- he says it's every evening 6-8, organized by Bob Abate staff. If that was changed to 6-9, you'd only need one on-site rink staff at night -- maybe pay them more and expect more? Just a thought.
10.40 p.m. 13 skaters playing drop-in shinny - say they come there a lot -- they play until 11.30 (when the lights go off). Ice looked like it must have been done this evening.
10.30. 6 guys playing shinny, lots more in the rink house changing at the end of a permit.
2.15 rink empty, gate open.
Sunny, 8 degrees.
2.50 p.m. water over the whole surface, rink locked. Change rooms locked Carefully-lettered sign taped to the door: “Rink closed due to warm weather. Will re-open again A.S.A.P. when weather permits. Sorry for the inconvenience.” Nice sign, friendly.
10.20. two hockey players on ice. Had not been scraped by zamboni but players said it was okay.
10.45 p.m. the ice is fine, with three players, but the plexiglass is so fogged up that you can’t even see it. Why?
9.50 p.m. Large group of youth with bottles standing outside the rink house, knocking and calling rink staff’s name, but he was gone. Large group of shinny hockey players on ice. Ice looked okay but snowy.
4.30 p.m. The ice is very good, no depressions in front of the nets. You can see about 2 inches more of the dasher boards all around than at Dufferin. So why is their ice lower? They have no drainage holes, it should have been a mess.
Maybe the difference is really that they get so much less maintenance than Dufferin, and so those many fast floods with so little scrape are missing.
Christie Rink closed on Sunday, and the compressors have been turned off. So it's a good time to check the ice thickness, which won't have gone down much yet since the weather's still cold:
Ice thickness: 2.75 - 5.25 inches.