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posted December 2, 2022

DID YOU KNOW? Toronto is the world capital for mechanically-cooled outdoor skating rinks.

The city's outdoor rinks web page says that 38 outdoor rinks were scheduled to open on Nov.26 2022, and close on March 19, 2023. The remaining 13 outdoor rinks are scheduled to open on Dec.3 and close on Feb.26, except for Dufferin Rink (January) and Ledbury.

Although all the currently functioning rinks are scheduled to be open by Dec.3, the sole-source contract for their ongoing maintenance is not scheduled to be approved by the city until Dec.7: Budget Committee.

Note: You can't make ice without water. At the end of November, with such weak sunlight, at 4 C these rinks would do fine except if they were not flooded early enough. Which is usually what happens at the beginning of rink season in Toronto. It depends more on good luck, ie. rain. But rain is not as good for making the foundation layers as is good flooding.

Over the years, the north Toronto rinks are more likely to be signed as closed for "ice conditions," with East downtown rinks being the next most likely. This may have more to do with rink management than with mechanical problems.

The ideal (and traditional, pre-amalgamation) time to open the rinks is in mid-November. Even if the temperatures are well above freezing, the ice can be good because the sun is so weak. (See historical Nov. temperatures, 1937 to 2011). BUT March is not a good time to run outdoor rinks, so the rinks scheduled to stay open are in fact often closed, or have poor ice quality, even though their cooling machinery is running at the max (and using lots of fuel). The March sun is too strong even if the temperatures are cold.

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Content last modified on December 02, 2022, at 12:56 PM EST