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Latest news archive: November 2015 to March 2016

(posts are out of order)

Feb.8, 2016

For the past four days the website has had the same two "alerts" -- Joseph Bannon rink is listed as closed for "technical issues," and Queensway Rink is closed for "ice conditions." But that's wrong: Queensway Rink has no ice at all because its compressors are not functioning. Its ice condition is cement.

Feb.9, 2016

At 1 pm the website says that Giovanni Caboto, Lambton, and Wedgwood are covered in snow, Westgrove is being serviced and should open in half an hour, Joseph Bannon has "technical issues," and Queensway is closed because of "ice conditions." In fact, Queensway has no ice at all and is awaiting new compressors. Riverdale is in the same position but is never mentioned as closed.

At 2.40 pm, Lambton is still listed as "covered in snow," and Westgrove is still "being serviced and should open in half an hour." Queensway is still listed as closed because of "ice conditions," while Riverdale is still not on the list despite its having the same problem as Queensway. Bannon is unchanged.

At 4 pm the alerts are unchanged. So Westgrove is still half an hour away from being cleared of snow -- as it has been since 1 pm.

At 9.30 pm, the alerts from 2.40 pm are still unchanged.

Back to the drawing board of "real time" information. But it's still early days.

Feb.10, 2016

At 8.30 a.m., the information from yesterday afternoon is still up.

At 12.30 pm the information from yesterday is still up, plus Jimmie Simpson has been added ("snow clearing in progress") plus Riverdale Rink has been added as "technical issues, closed for the season."

At 6 pm the message from 12.30 is still unchanged.

At 7.30 pm the message is changed to listing those rinks that are closed temporarily or permanently because of non-functioning ice-making plants: Joseph Bannon, Queensway, Riverdale, and Regent North. The list also shows Lambton-Kingsway as still closed because it's snow-covered, but maybe there's more trouble there.

At 9 pm, the message is the same as at 7.30. This is not likely to be accurate -- most likely all rinks are open but permitted.

Feb.11, 2016

No change since yesterday (because there was no snow).

Feb.12, 2016

No change since yesterday. Getting very cold, but no snow. It does mean that Queensway could make a natural ice rink. We'll see if they do (unlikely).

Feb.16, 2016

Snowing. At 8.42 a.m., the website has a yellow bar for all Etobicoke Rinks, saying "covered in snow. Staff currently clearing snow." Otherwise it only has the same four reliably closed rinks from before. No news from the other city quadrants yet.

At 12 noon there are group postings "closed" from Etobicoke and Toronto/East York as well as individual postings from Toronto/East York and thee North Toronto rinks. Only Scarborough gets no mention.

At 3.30 pm there is a slight change -- the group posting from Toronto/East York is gone and the number of rinks specifically listed as closed has shrunk to 8, not counting the closed-for-the-season rinks. But the Etobicoke post remains the same generic "snow-clearing-in-progress" message -- so does this mean some rinks have less snow on them than others? And is Scarborough Civic open or closed? Nobody knows, or if the supervisors know, they're not telling....

At 7.15 pm, the generic Etobicoke posting is unchanged from 8.30 this morning. The individual rink list has shrunk again, to only three of the currently running rinks -- North Toronto Memorial, Glen Long, and West Deane/Martingrove. Not a very impressive second day of the "real-time"app.

At 10.30 pm, the information is unchanged from 7.15, although the snow stopped long ago.

Feb.17 2016

At 8.30 a.m. the posts are unchanged from yesterday at 7.15 p.m.

At 10 a.m., the generic Etobicoke message from 24 hours ago is gone, and only two rinks are still reported as snow-covered and closed: North Toronto and West Dean/Martingrove.

At 1 p.m. only one rink is left as closed because of snow cover: North Toronto Memorial.

At 4 p.m. the North Toronto Memorial rink was gone from the closed list.

Feb.20, 2016

High of 11, alternating sun and cloud. At 11 a.m., Irving Chapley was already listed as closed.

At 2.30 p.m, add Glen Long and Hodgson (pleasure side open, hockey side closed).

At 3 p.m., add Colonel Sam Smith, Dieppe (hockey pad only), High Park, and Humber Valley.

'''At 3.30 pm add Christie Rink, and pleasure-skating side closed at Hodgson as well.

At 5 pm add Valleyfield, Broadlands, Kew, Ledbury, Monarch, Sir Adam Beck, West Mall, Westgrove, and Withrow.

At 6.30 p.m., add Sunnydale.

At 8 pm, subtract the pleasure-skating side of High Park Rink and the hockey side of West Mall -- they are listed as open again.

At 9 pm, subtract Colonel Sam Smith, Sir Adam Beck and Westgrove, all open again.

At 8.45, the list is unchanged from the last time.

Feb.21, 2016

At 8.45 a.m., it still lists 14 rinks as closed due to bad ice. Only Glen Long has been put back on the open list, everything else is still the same as 12 hours ago. Hopefully that's not really the case.

At 10.30 a.m., it appears that all central Toronto rinks are off the closed list, but all Etobicoke rinks that were listed as closed yesterday, and two North Toronto rinks, are either still closed or the app has not yet been put into use. A mess.

At 1.30 pm,' 7 rinks are listed as closed due to ice conditions, 2 are listed as "pleasure side only open," and one is listed as "hockey side only open." At 2.30 pm, the list is unchanged.

At 3.30 pm, the list is unchanged.

At 5 pm, 2 more rinks have been added to the closed list, and one to the "hockey side closed" list. Now that the sun is setting, ice is firming up fast.

At 8.30 pm, the list is unchanged -- no updates gave been added. The supervisors are giving no "real time" information. Comparison: Dufferin Rink was never closed and the ice began to firm up at 4.30 when the sun was near the horizon.

Feb.22, 2016

At 4 p.m.', Cedarvale, Irving Chapley, Sunnydale and Glen Long are listed as closed, Dieppe and High Park have closed their hockey side, but the pleasure-skating side is open.

At 5 pm, the same list.

At 7 pm, Dieppe is completely closed, also Sunnydale and Sir Adam Beck, High Park only on the hockey side. At 9 pm, the same, although that's not likely to be true -- probably the permits have begun.

Feb.23, 2016

At 10.30 a.m., the information is still from 7 pm last night -- although that may have been wrong too.

Information updated by 11.26 a.m.

2 pm information the same as 11.26 a.m.

At 4 pm, Dieppe has been added to the closed list.

5.30 pm -- Irving Chapley added to the list

Feb.24

Snow in early morning, then a weather warning about upcoming rain, then ice pellets, then snow (in the next day and a half). At 10.30 a.m. there's a general warning about rinks being snow-covered and "open as soon as possible" plus specific listing for High Park (same as two days ago) plus Glen Long plus the four that aren't running. That's all.

1 pm High Park has been subsumed under the general Etobicoke email. The usual four North York Rinks are listed individually (Glen Long, Irving Chapley, Broadlands and Ledbury). Plus the four that aren't running.

1.45 pm No more generic message from Etobicoke/York. West Deane and Humber Valley have yellow alerts, "staff are cleaning snow should be open shortly." The four North York rinks are still listed as closed.

At 3.45 pm everything is the same except that Cedarvale has been added to the mix.

At 4.30 pm the Etobicoke rinks are still on yellow alert to "open shortly" but now Nathan Phillips has been added as a yellow "ongoing removal of water from the pad." Sherbourne Common and Scarborough Civic (Albert Campbell) have been added to the closed list due to "ice conditions."

At 6pm Regent South has been added.

Later in the evening Monarch and Rivercrest were added.

In actual fact, probably almost all rinks were empty last night, but if they were not listed as closed, that meant staff were still there.

Feb.25 2016

At 8 a.m. the list from yesterday evening is still intact.

At 9.30 a.m. the list has been modified. Listed as closed are the four that are out of service, plus: Wedgewood, North Toronto, Albert Campbell, Cedarvale, Glen Long, Irving Chapley, Monarch, Regent South, and Sherbourne Common. Nathan Phillips ("should be ready for 9 a.m.) and Rivercrest (poor conditions) have a yellow alert.

At 10 a.m. everything is the same as at 9.30 a.m.except that Wedgewood is now yellow -- "technical issues, building closed ice open."

At 11.30 a.m., other than the non-running rinks, only Scarborough Civic and North Toronto are still listed as closed. Wedgewood, Dieppe, and Rivercrest are marked as partly available.

At 3.30 p.m., Ryerson is listed as closed due to "very soft ice" (current temperature is minus 3)and Rivercrest is added as closed -- otherwise the same as 11.30 a.m.

By the end of the day, only Wedgewood is still added to the non-running rinks -- yellow alert because the building is closed.

Feb.26, 2016

Same as last night, all today as well.

Feb.27, 2016

Periods of sun, high of 5 forecast. At 1.45, the alerts list is just the same as two days ago.

At 3 pm, Dieppe, Glen Long, Irving Chapley, and Withrow are all listed as "closed - ice conditions."

At 5.30 pm: added Broadlands, Monarch, Sherbourne, Wedgewood, and Westway.

At 6.30, same as before.

At 9 pm, Sherbourne, Irving Chapley, Westway are off the list. Why are the others still on?

Feb.28, 2016

At 10.30, the non-running rinks are on the list, plus Wedgewood's rink building, plus Irving Chapley. Interestingly, Irving Chapley is posted first, as it so often is, even though its compressor plant is listed as good on the Parks outdoor rinks list. Perhaps they want to leave the ice undisturbed for later permits?

At 1.30, 18 outdoor rinks are marked as closed, not counting the four non-running rinks.

At 3 pm, 20 outdoor rinks are marked as closed, not counting the four non-running rinks.

At 4 pm, 24 outdoor rinks are marked as closed, not counting the four non-running rinks.

At 8.30 pm, the same 24 outdoor rinks are marked as closed as at 4 pm (not counting the four non-running rinks). But the rest are unlikely to have skateable ice. Harbourfront closed at 7.30 pm.

Feb.29, 2016

At 12.30 pm the non-running rinks have been knocked off since they were supposed to be closed by yesterday anyway. Dieppe and West Mall are listed a partly open. Glen Long, Irving Chapley, and Sir Adam Beck are listed as closed.

At 10.30 pm, Dieppe and West Mall are off the yellow alert list, but the other four are still listed as closed.

March 1, 2016

At 10 a.m. there are no alerts.

At 12.30 pm., there's a general yellow alert for all Toronto/EY rinks for snow clearing. Nothing else.

At 3 pm, the same general alert about snow removal for Toronto/EY rinks is still up, even though it's been many hours since it was snowing.

At 5 pm, the status alerts have been removed. There's a general alert on the top of the main page that all permits are cancelled for tonight. But no big red arrow yet, like at Christmas.

At 9 pm, there are general status alerts for Toronto/East York and Etobicoke/York, saying the rinks are all closed. In North York, only Broadlands and Irving Chapley are listed as closed, and Ramsden and Harry Gairey are separately listed as closed as well.

March 2, 2016

At 9.45 a.m. the website still has last night's "closed due to tonight's storm" alert.

At 10.30 a.m. all Etobicoke/York rinks are listed in a joint posting as closed due to snow. Also, some rinks are listed individually: The usual Glen Long, Irving Chapley and Broadlands are listed as closed, as well as Ramsden, High Park, Royalcrest and Giovanni Caboto. Harry Gairey, Kew, Rennie and Regent Park South have a yellow "snow clearing" alert.

At 11.30 a.m. all Etobicoke/York rinks are listed in a joint yellow alert as "being cleared." But that's exactly the problem -- without a direct phone number (not available) how can a skater find out which rinks are already clear?

In addition, High Park is now marked as closed, as is Valleyfield. Monarch and Hodgson have been added as yellow.

At 1 p.m. Harry Gairey, Kew, Rennie and Regent Park South still have a yellow "snow clearing" alert from 10.30 this morning. That is unlikely to be true, but without direct phone numbers (not available) how can a skater find out for sure? Hodgson and Monarch are a yellow alert since 11.30.

North Toronto has now appeared on the closed list. Ramsden is still marked as closed, as is Broadlands.

At 3 p.m Harry Gairey still has a yellow "snow clearing" alert from 10.30 this morning, and Ramsden and North Toronto are still listed as "snow-covered."

At 6 p.m. Harry Gairey still has a yellow "snow clearing" alert from 10.30 this morning, and North Toronto is still listed as "snow-covered."

At 9.30 p.m Harry Gairey still has a yellow "snow clearing" alert from 10.30 this morning, and North Toronto is still listed as "snow-covered" from 1 pm.

March 3, 2016

At 10.30 a.m Harry Gairey still has a yellow "snow clearing" alert from 10.30 yesterday morning, and North Toronto is still listed as "snow-covered" from yesterday 1 pm. Poor zambonis, still plodding along after so many hours? Unlikely. But direct phone numbers (not available) to individual rinks would work a lot better.

March 4 2016

First alerts of the day, 3 pm: Broadlands is closed and so is the pleasure-skating side of West Mall, described as having some cement patches.

At 9.30 p.m. the same alerts are still on, nothing new.

March 5 2016

At 8.45 a.m., still the same message from yesterday afternoon.

At 1 pm, only the West Mall alert is up, about the closure of the pleasure-skating rink.

At 2.45 unchanged, despite sunshine.

At 4 pm: unchanged. Many skaters at Harbourfront -- no puddles. Minus 1 celsius, sun and cloud.

At 6 pm: Unchanged.

March 6, 2016

At 1 pm, unchanged since 24 hours ago (only a West Mall alert). The Harbourfront webcam has skaters and some pylons up.

At 3 pm, Giovanni Caboto has been added, marked as closed.

At 4 pm, more rinks are listed as closed: Cedarvale, Dieppe, Giovanni Caboto, High Park, Kew, Monarch, Regent South, Sherbourne, West Deanne, West Mall, and Withrow. No doubt there are more, not listed on the website.

At 5 pm, three additional rinks are listed as closed: Broadlands, Hodgson, and Ledbury. 3 celsius.

At 6 pm, three more rinks have been added: Sir Adam Beck, Valleyfield, and Westway.

At 7 pm Sunnydale was added: 18 rinks listed as closed now. Temperature down to 1 celsius.

At 9 pm West Mall is back to yellow, because their hockey rink is open.

March 7, 2016

At 10 a.m. Broadlands, Cedarvale, Hodgson, Regent South, Sherbourne, and Sir Adam Back are marked as closed. West Mall has its yellow alert from two days ago, saying the pleasure-skating side has cement.

At 11 a.m., Glen Long is added to the closed list.

At 11.30 a.m. Ledbury is added.

At 12.45, Hodgson and Regent South have been removed, Irving Chapley has been added.

At 2.30 pm, the website says that 7 municipal rinks plus the West Mall pleasure-skating pad are closed. Harbourfront is closed until 6 pm.

At 3.15 pm, Rennie has been added to the closed list.

March 8, 2016

West Mall pleasure-skating pad, March 8, 12 noon: listed as OPEN

At 1.30 pm, only 8 rinks are listed as closed (not West Mall pleasure-skating side, even though it's 100% cement, no compressors).

At 3 pm, 10 rinks listed as closed, NOT West Mall.

At 4.30 pm, 12 marked as closed.

At the end of the evening: 16 closed plus two half closed -- Greenwood and Giovanni Caboto.

 
March 9, 2016

At 7.30 am, 16 rinks are listed as closed, although others are also closed.

Harbourfront's Natrel Rink is now scheduled to close for the season on Friday.

At 10.30 am, 8 rinks are listed as closed and two rinks (Greenwood, West Mall) have their pleasure-skating pad listed as closed. Harbourfront is officially open but there are no skaters. They say they never opened yesterday at all.

At 11.30 am, 11 rinks are listed as closed and two rinks (Greenwood, West Mall) have their pleasure-skating pad listed as closed.

At 1 pm, 13 rinks are listed as closed and two rinks (Greenwood, West Mall) have their pleasure-skating pad listed as closed.

At 7 pm, 15 rinks are listed as closed and four rinks are partially closed. Greenwood, Rennie and West Mall have their pleasure-skating pads closed, Giovanni Caboto has its hockey pad closed.

March 10, 2015

At 9.30 a.m., 12 rinks are listed as closed. As well, Greenwood, Rennie, Harry Gairey and West Mall have their pleasure-skating pads closed, Giovanni Caboto has its hockey pad closed.

At 10.45 a.m. the list is the same.

At 11 a.m., 12 rinks are listed as closed. As well, five double pads have one side closed.

At 12 noon,' 8 rinks are listed as closed. As well, four double pads have one side closed.

At 3 pm, 7 rinks are listed as closed. As well, four double pads have one side closed. Harbourfront now has a sign saying it's closed for the season.

At 5 pm there's no special announcement but 11 additional rinks have been marked as "closed for the season": Harry Gairey, Cedarvale, Dieppe, Hodgson, Ledbury, North Toronto, Scarborough Civic, Sir Adam Beck, Trinity, Wallace, and Withrow. Also 6 rinks closed and 4 half, same as before.

At 9.pm: the ice is excellent because it's moving toward 1 celsius. But the web page shows the same list of closures as at 5 pm.

March 11, 2016

By 5.30 pm, most rinks have finally been shut down for the season -- only 8 are left on the "open" list. That includes four North York rinks, marked closed for some days already on the "alerts," but not on the 'closed for the season' column.

By 9 pm, most rinks have finally been shut down for the season -- only 8 are left on the "open" list.

March 12, 2016

At 10.30 a.m. Ramsden marked as closed for the season -- all the others still the same as yesterday.

March 13, 2016

Four North York rinks are listed as not yet "closed for the season," presumably for some administrative reason. At 10.30 a.m., two of those are even on the "open" list -- it's very unlikely that they are skateable.

At 2.30 pm, Broadlands and Chapley are back on the closed alert.

March 14, 2016

At 4 pm, City Hall (Nathan Phillips) alert: still listed as temporarily closed at 4 p.m..

At 7 pm city hall is off the alerts, N.Toronto rinks still up (but closed).

March 15, 2016

Text from the city outdoor rinks web page:

Grab your skates, hit the ice and spend some time with your family and friends at a skating rink. There are 50 City of Toronto outdoor artificial ice rink locations, and many of them have the season extended until March 20, weather permitting.

And when you look over at the alerts column, the intro says:

Status alerts for outdoor rinks with season extended until March 20, weather permitting. Other rinks are now closed for the season.

But in fact there are only two rinks open in the whole city (Greenwood hockey pad and City Hall). The four North Toronto rink on the alerts page were shut down on Friday March 11 just like all the other rinks -- the website just didn't register that.

At 6 pm those N.York rinks are still listed as not closed for the season.

March 16, 2016

At 2 pm, same text and alerts as yesterday.

March 17 2016

At 8.30 am on Thursday March 17, the rink at city hall is marked as "closed" due to ice conditions.

At 9.30 am, City Hall is off the closed list but everything else is the same.

At 1 pm, Broadlands is listed as open. I called 311 and they also said it was open.

At 3 pm, Broadlands has "closed for the season," but Glen Long,Irving Chapley, and Mel Lastman are still giving March 20 as the closing date. Intro is still the same too.

At 6 pm, the same as at 3.

March 18, 2016

At 8.30 a.m.: Irving Chapley off alerts list but marked as open. Wrong.

At '4 pm Chapley is back on the closed list -- hard to believe that it might have been open with ice but maybe...?

March 20, 2016

At 9.30 a.m., Irving Chapley is back on the open list. Really? Same notice about 50 rinks is still up.

At 4 pm Chapley is back on the closed list.

March 21, 2016

At 8.30 a.m., all rinks had been updated to closed. So they are able to do it.

Postscript:

On March 17, when Broadlands was listed as open, I sent 311 the following email:

I just (1.15 pm) spoke to a 311 operator and they confirmed that Broadlands is open -- which is also what appears on the website. I have logged this on our Broadlands (non-City) rink page: http://www.cityrinks.ca/wiki/wiki.php?n=BroadlandsRink.RinkDiary but it's very likely that the rink closed on March 11 when all but two of the other city rinks closed. My hunch is that there is no ice there, so there are no ice conditions.

Please confirm that the "real time" app is not accurate today.

On March 21, I got an answer, thanking me for contacting 311 and directing me to this link here.

That link gives me this information for outdoor rinks:

Outdoor rink operational status *NEW FEATURE: Updated in real-time* (alerts are only posted for closed statuses, if no notice is posted there are no issues with the rink)

But in fact the information was wrong. So no acknowledgment that the "real time" posting doesn't work.

Three rinks are closed for renovation, two for mechanical issues, one new rink in Scarborough (McCowan District Park) is still under construction, and one (College Park) is decommissioned, with a new rink scheduled for construction in 2018/2019.

posted December 26, 2016

Holiday restrictions: Most outdoor rinks are listed as open but unsupervised on Boxing Day Monday, Dec.26 -- code for no change-room/washroom access. Same story as in other years -- change rooms/washrooms are closed on the very days when most people are on holiday. Check the individual rink listings on the city's web page before going.

posted December 05, 2016

[Joseph Bannon] This rink has rarely been listed as open since it was built in 2013. Is it possible that Councillor Mammoliti's agreement for Lindvest Properties to build the rink as part of a development was a false economy?

On the city's outdoor rinks web page, almost all city rinks had opened by Dec.3. At 3 p.m. today, however, one rinks is listed as closed because it is said to be covered in snow (microclimate??), three because of ice conditions, and two due to mechanical issues. Six more are closed for renovation, and one new rink in Scarborough (McCowan District Park) is not finished being built.

Mississauga City Hall: their rink also has a webcam. Here is their skate rental page.

posted December 04, 2016

On the city's outdoor rinks web page, almost all city rinks had opened by Dec.3. Today, three rinks are listed as closed, two due to "mechanical issues," and Glen Long for "poor ice conditions." Six more are closed for renovation, and one new rink in Scarborough (McCowan District Park) is not finished.

The city's three-day start-up ice-making (below the "industry standard") got enough help from the weather that it seems to have worked this season, for the most part.

posted December 02, 2016

On the city's outdoor rinks web page, 36 city rinks were scheduled to open on Nov.26. At 9 pm today, all 36 rinks are listed as open, with the remaining ones due to open tomorrow (except those six that are under construction).

Countdown: will the city's three-day start-up ice-making (below the "industry standard") work for the rinks that are scheduled to open on Dec.3?

posted December 01, 2016

On the city's outdoor rinks web page, 36 city rinks were scheduled to open on Nov.26. At 9 p.m. today, 33 rinks are listed as open. 3 are listed as closed, all in north Toronto.

The reason for most of the closed rinks appears to be not enough ice-making in the week before. Citywide, there were only three days of ice-making, but the staff got lucky -- light rain on two of the days did some of the work for them. The same short duration may not work for the remaining rinks, scheduled to open on Dec.3.

Nov.30 2016

At 10 p.m. today, 28 rinks are listed as open. Sunnydale and Royalcrest, plus six North Toronto rinks are listed as closed.

The reason for most of the closed rinks appears to be only three days of ice-making the week before opening.

Mild November temperatures are not uncommon, nor a problem in the low-sun winter months -- see our chart of November temperatures back to 1937 here.

On the city's outdoor rinks web page, 36 city rinks were scheduled to open on Nov.26. At 9 pm today, 28 rinks are listed as open. Sunnydale, Royalcrest and Dieppe hockey pad, plus five North Toronto rinks are listed as closed.

posted November 28, 2016

On the city's outdoor rinks web page, 36 city rinks were scheduled to open on Nov.26. At 6.30 p.m. today, 32 are listed as open. Three North Toronto rinks are listed as closed, plus Ramsden Rink in central Toronto.

posted November 27, 2016

On the city's outdoor rinks web page, 36 city rinks were scheduled to open yesterday. At 3.30 p.m. on Nov.27, 28 rinks are listed as open.

Nov.26, 2017

10.pm.On the city's outdoor rinks web page, 36 city rinks are scheduled to open today, Nov.26. Since 10 a.m., 30 have been listed as open, despite yesterday's media release, saying that only 15 would open today.

The countdown: On Wednesday Nov.23 the city's rinks finally started making ice. That gave them only three days. But this year the staff got lucky -- light rain on two of the days did some of the ice-making for them. So no need to use "climate change" as an excuse for delayed opening, except for those 5 rinks still marked closed and Dieppe Rink only open on the hockey side. On the city's outdoor rinks web page, 36 city rinks are scheduled to open today, Nov.26. At 10 a.m., 28 are listed as open, despite yesterday's media release, saying that only 15 would open today.

posted November 25, 2016

On the city's outdoor rinks web page, 36 city rinks are scheduled to open on Nov.26. However, on today's city media release, only 15 will open tomorrow, with 35 more on Dec.3. The numbers don't add up either, since six rinks are delayed or closed for the season.

The countdown: On Wednesday Nov.23 the city's rinks finally started making ice. That gave them only three days. But this year the staff got lucky -- light rain on two of the days did some of the ice-making for them. So no need to use "climate change" as an excuse for delayed opening.

Mississauga City Hall: rink is open, see their webcam. Harbourfront's Natrel Rink: rink is open, see their webcam.

Monday Nov.21, 2016

The countdown: On Monday Nov.21 some rink compressors have been turned on. Will this year be another cliffhanger? Skaters, check your closest rink and send us an update.

Mississauga City Hall: rink is open, see webcam.

Harbourfront's Natrel Rink: ice going in, see webcam.

Saturday Nov.19 2016

On the city's outdoor rinks web page, 35 city rinks are scheduled to open on Nov.26. (Compare: NYC outdoor rinks opened at the end of October.) Another 10 are scheduled for Dec.3, the remaining 6 are delayed or closed for the season.

The countdown: Saturday Nov.19 is the day most rink compressors should be turned on, to open on schedule. That would be "best practice," giving time to actually layer the ice slowly for a good winter. But if the rinks are not yet cleared of leaves and debris, those would freeze right onto the pad. Will this year be another cliffhanger? Skaters, check your closest rink and send us an update.

Oct.2016

35 city rinks are scheduled to open on Nov.26. (Compare: NYC outdoor rinks opened at the end of October.) Another 10 are scheduled for Dec.3. There are 4 rinks marked as "delayed due to construction." 2 rinks are marked as closed for the whole upcoming rink season: see the city's outdoor rinks web page.

To read about the problems that challenge the city's outdoor rinks -- and some easy fixes -- see this CityRinks 2016 Outdoor Rinks Report. We presented it at City Hall on April 13, but the message we got from City Hall was basically "go away." More information here and here.

Previous posts: 2015 - 2016

posted March 15, 2016

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." Almost all the outdoor rinks closed for the season on March 11 and 12, NOT staying open until March 20 as originally scheduled. Only City Hall (Nathan Phillips) and Greenwood hockey pad remain open. Four North York rinks are listed as closed "due to ice conditions" presumably because the web administrator forgot to post them as "closed for the season."'' (At Glen Long Rink, although it closed for the season last Friday March 11, the compressors have kept on running anyway, until today -- burning up fuel although there is no ice to cool.)

March 11, 2016: Yesterday, 13 more rinks were shut down for the season. That left 23 rinks still running this morning. Last night, because it was cloudy and colder (down to 1 celsius overnight) most of those rinks were actually skateable by evening. Sadly, the central Permits office cancelled permits citywide and called them to warn them off the bad ice.

March 11: Since yesterday, 21 more rinks have been shut down for the season. That leaves 16 rinks still running at 3.30 pm. Most of them should have been shut down on Monday. The not-closed rinks have had only occasional skaters since then; some have had none. Running empty rinks is not only a considerable waste of money. It's also environmentally indefensible.

posted March 11, 2016

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." By 9 pm, most rinks have finally been shut down for the season -- only 8 are left on the "open" list. Most or all of the outdoor rinks should have been shut down on Monday March 7. There have been only occasional skaters. Running empty rinks is not only a considerable waste of money. It's also environmentally indefensible.

March 10, 2016: On Monday, a decision should have been made, to close most or all of the rinks for the season. The not-closed rinks have had only occasional skaters since then; some have had none. But the problem may be administrative -- what to do with all those staff who have contracts until March 20?

posted March 10, 2016

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." At 5 pm, the next batch of seasonal closures has finally shown up on the website: 11 more rinks were shut down this afternoon. That leaves 23 rinks still running. TONIGHT'S THE (rare) NIGHT when most of them will actually be skateable (forecast of 1 celsius) -- skaters, this is your moment.

Harbourfront's Natrel Rink (not a municipal rink) has a webcam -- that's a good way to check on ice conditions. This rink closed for the season today.

posted March 9, 2016

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." At 7 pm, 15 rinks are listed as closed and five are partially closed. Greenwood, Rennie, Harry Gairey and West Mall have their pleasure-skating pads closed, Giovanni Caboto has its hockey pad closed. On Monday, a decision should have been made, to close most or all of the rinks for the season. But the problem may be administrative -- what to do with all those staff who have contracts until March 20?

Harbourfront's Natrel Rink (not a municipal rink) has a webcam -- that's a good way to check on ice conditions. At 7 p.m., there are no skaters but the zamboni is on the ice. This rink is now scheduled to close for the season on Friday.

posted March 8, 2016

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." The Brickworks Rink (not a municipal rink) has closed for the season. At 1.30 pm, only 8 rinks are listed as closed, although others are also closed but not listed -- for example, the pleasure-skating side at West Mall Rink had the compressors shut off some days ago and is mainly cement. Yesterday a decision should have been made, to close most or all the rinks for the season. But the problem is administrative -- what do with all those staff who have contracts until March 20?

Harbourfront's Natrel Rink (not a municipal rink) has a webcam -- that's a good way to check on ice conditions. At 1 pm the rink closed -- check back later to see if the re-open.

posted March 7, 2016

At 8 a.m., the website still gives yesterday's information of 18 rinks closed by 7 pm, on a day when it never got warmer than 3 celsius. Given this week's much warmer forecast, this is the day a decision will come whether to close all the rinks for the season. posted March 7, 2016

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." The Brickworks Rink (not a municipal rink) has closed for the season. Although it's 11 celsius (cloudy) at 2.30 pm, the website says that all but 7 municipal rinks plus the West Mall pleasure-skating pad are OPEN. The ice at most rinks will not be skateable. Given this week's forecast, this is the day a decision will have to be made, whether to close all the rinks for the season.

Harbourfront's Natrel Rink (not a municipal rink) has a webcam -- that's a good way to check on ice conditions. Their rink is closed until 6 pm.

Although it's 12 celsius (cloudy) at 3.15 pm, the website says that all but 8 municipal rinks plus the West Mall pleasure-skating pad are OPEN. The ice at most rinks will not be skateable. Given this week's forecast, this is the day a decision will have to be made, whether to close all the rinks for the season.

It's 10 celsius (cloudy) at 4.30 pm, and the the website says that 16 municipal rinks plus the West Mall pleasure-skating pad are closed.

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." The Brickworks Rink (not a municipal rink) has closed for the season. It's 8 celsius (cloudy) at 7.30 pm, and the the website says that 14 municipal rinks are closed. Given this week's forecast, this is the day a decision should have been made, to close all the rinks for the season.

posted March 6, 2016

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." This is the last day when the rinks will be skateable, and even by later this afternoon the ice at most rinks will be mushy or puddly or both. Temperatures well above zero are fine in low-sun November but outdoor rinks don't do at all well in March.

By 4 pm, at 3 celsius and hazy sun, the website lists 11 rinks as closed, and there are most likely more, not yet registered on the website. Temperatures well above zero are fine in low-sun November but outdoor rinks don't do at all well in March.

Harbourfront's Natrel Rink (not a municipal rink) has a webcam -- that's a good way to check on ice conditions. At 1.30, the rink has skaters but also some pylons on thin areas.

....

By 5.30 pm, on a day when it never got warmer than 3 celsius, the website lists 14 rinks as closed, and there are most likely more, not yet registered on the website. Temperatures well above zero are fine in low-sun November but outdoor rinks don't do at all well in March. However, this evening many rinks will have firmed up enough for cautious shinny hockey (stay away from the boards!).

March 3, 2016

Although the city recently launched a new app that allows the rink supervisors to post rink conditions in "real time," it took until noon today for the alerts from yesterday to be completely up to date. Direct phone numbers (not available) to individual rinks would work a lot better.

March 2, 2016

Although the city recently launched a new app that allows the rink supervisors to post rink conditions in "real time," at 11.30 a.m. all Etobicoke/York rinks are listed in a joint yellow alert as being cleared. But that's exactly the problem -- without direct phone numbers (not available) how can a skater find out which rinks are already cleared?

posted March 1, 2016

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." 14 of the single-pad rinks are now listed as closed for the season, including two that didn't run at all, and one (Joseph Bannon) that ran only sporadically. Because of the big snow tonight, all the other rinks are closed as well. In like a lion....

posted February 29, 2016

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." 14 of the single-pad rinks are now listed as closed for the season, including two that didn't run at all, and one (Joseph Bannon) that ran only sporadically. 37 city rinks are scheduled to remain open until March 20. They will have lots of trouble with ice, and attendance will tend to be low. Evidence of why it's a waste of money for outdoor rinks to stay open in March is here.

Feb.28 2016

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." At 8.30 pm, the same 24 outdoor rinks are marked as closed as at 4 pm (not counting the four non-running rinks). But the rest are unlikely to have skateable ice. Sunny and mild at the end of February doesn't work like it did in December. Yet, remarkably, 35 city rinks are scheduled to remain open for another three weeks. But the sun is too high by now. Evidence of why outdoor rinks should NOT stay open in March is here.

Harbourfront's Natrel Rink (not a municipal rink) has a webcam -- that's a good way to check on ice conditions. The rink closed at 7.30 pm because of ice conditions.

posted February 24, 2016

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." The city has launched a new app that allows the rink supervisors to post rink conditions in "real time." By the end of the evening, many city rinks were still on the "open" list, although most were in fact too wet to skate one, and rinks were empty. Staff stayed around anyway....

Feb.21

At 8.45 a.m., it still has lists 14 rinks as closed due to bad ice. Only Glen Long has been put back on the open list, everything else is still the same as 12 hours ago. Hopefully that's not really the case.

At 10.30 a.m., it appears that all central Toronto rinks are off the closed list, but all Etobicoke rinks that were listed as closed yesterday, and two North Toronto rinks, are either still closed or the app has not yet been put into use.

At 1.30 pm, 7 rinks are listed as closed due to ice conditions, 2 are listed as "pleasure side only open," and one is listed as "hockey side only open." At 3.30 pm, the list is unchanged. At 5 pm, 2 more rinks have been added to the closed list, and one to the "hockey side closed" list. Now that the sun is setting, ice is firming up fast.

At 8.30 pm, the list is unchanged since 5.30 -- no updates have been added. The supervisors are giving no "real time" information. Comparison: Dufferin Rink was never closed and the ice began to firm up at 4.30 pm when the sun sank near the horizon.

Feb.20 2016

Today will be a test: 11 celsius with some sun near the end of February is a much bigger challenge to outdoor ice than 12 celsius in November. Will the new app be accurate about ice conditions? And will the rink closings match ice conditions, or just show the different maintenance customs of different parts of the city?

Feb.19, 2016

The city has launched a new app that allows the rink supervisors to post rink conditions in "real time." Results so far are not encouraging, but maybe they'll improve -- if the rinks are not shut down due to a strike

Feb.15 2016

Today on the Family Day holiday, most of the rink change rooms/washrooms are listed as open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and a few rinks have Councillor-sponsored hot chocolate. Municipal rinks that are listed as having washroom/changeroom access until 9 or 10 p.m.: Nathan Phillips Square, Dufferin, Harry Gairey (Scadding), Colonel Sam Smith, Dieppe, Greenwood, Hodgson, Scarborough Civic, and Trinity.

Feb.11 - 14, 2016: That's the only way to find out rink conditions, since the rink phone numbers are not available to the public. Instead, there's a brand new app that allows the rink supervisors to post rink conditions in "real time." Check how it's working here.

posted February 4, 2016

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts."

Yesterday's warm temperature (15 celsius) caused most rinks to form a layer of water over top of the solid ice underneath. By the time it was dark and the layer of water had refrozen, most rinks had very good skating.

Feb.3 2016: Today's warm temperature will cause most rinks to form a layer of water over top of the solid ice underneath. It's still good skating at many rinks, or wait until dark, when the water refreezes.

Harbourfront's Natrel Rink (not a municipal rink) has a webcam -- that's a good way to check on ice conditions.

Jan.30 2016: Although many neighbourhood-built natural ice rinks are not in good shape, skaters report that Grenadier Pond seems to be doing fine.

Jan.28, 2016: The natural ice rinks across the city have lost their ice. This newspaper item from 1958 seems to apply this year as well:

TORONTO STAR, JANUARY 3 1958: "It is true that the parks department operates 58 natural ice rinks for skating and 23 for hockey - or will do so, if and when there is enough frost. For all the freezing weather we get here most winters, the department might as well spare the trouble and expense, and get on with the job of multiplying the number of artificial ice rinks."

Jan.27, 2016:

Lots of skaters last weekend on Grenadier Pond.

Many of the neighbourhood-run natural ice rinks are open -- this week will be a test of how well they'll last.

Jan.25, 2016:

Lots of skaters last weekend on Grenadier Pond.

And many of the neighbourhood-run natural ice rinks are open -- this week will be a test of how well they'll last. Among the good ones are Sorauren, Pearen, Baird, Beresford, Glen Stewart, Orchard Park and Fairmount.

Jan.23: The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." The first batch of neighbourhood-run natural ice rinks are opening, now that it's colder: good ones are Sorauren, Pearen, Baird, Beresford, Orchard Park and Fairmount, probably a few more. Others are still being built up. Yesterday, the website announced the opening of Queensway rink as a natural ice rink: first day. There's a fundraiser to raise sponsorship funds for a Syrian refugee family at Colonel Sam Smith today from 2 to 4 pm.

Yesterday, the website announced the opening of Queensway rink as a natural ice rink: first day. Today it's closed again, even though many community-made natural rinks are in very good condition.

posted January 20, 2016 (cold weather with little snow, so no rink alerts)

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." Here are the latest blogs, about Wallace Rink and Nathan Phillips Square.

The joys and difficulties of skate lending (but more rinks should do it!)

posted January 17, 2016

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." Here is a letter from a skater at Cedarvale Rink. And here are our cityrinks 2015/2016 rink season site visits/blogs so far.

posted January 13, 2016

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." At 10 a.m.. five rinks are still listed as closed ("snow covered"), news that was already wrong yesterday. Here is a letter from a skater at Cedarvale Rink.

posted January 12, 2016

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." At 8.30 p.m. 6 rinks are listed as closed ("snow covered"). At least one of those, probably more, are open.

posted January 12, 2016

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." At 1 p.m. all Toronto/East York rinks are listed as closed (for snow removal), and many others as well, but that's wrong. Dufferin Rink has been open since 9 a.m. and most likely other rinks were cleared early as well.

Harbourfront's Natrel Rink (not a municipal rink) has a webcam -- that's a good way to check on ice conditions. At 1 p.m, there are skaters on their ice.

Jan12, 2016: until 1, the website listed all Tor/EY rinks as closed. Some were not. 311 said the same.

Jan. 11, 2016: This morning they still list 6 of the 8 North York rinks as closed. Yesterday, they listed all hockey permits cancelled with "pleasure-skating only" at Toronto/East York Rinks. However, most of those rinks were just fine. Etobicoke was always still listed as normal.

posted January 10, 2016

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." At 4 p.m they list 6 of the 8 North York rinks as closed, and all hockey permits cancelled with "pleasure-skating only" at Toronto/East York Rinks. However, most of those rinks are just fine. Etobicoke is still listed as normal.

Harbourfront's Natrel Rink (not a municipal rink) has a webcam -- that's a good way to check on ice conditions. At 6 pm they are open, with skaters.

posted January 10, 2016

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules and "alerts." At 1.30 p.m they list 6 of the 8 North York rinks as closed. For the rest to the city, only Jimmie Simpson is closed (second day, for "technical issues," not weather). Different administrative climate in the north -- always was. And the staff get more rest.

Jan.5 to 9: Recent letters from skaters: shinny at Nathan Phillips Square, family-unfriendly scheduling at Otter Creek, the joy of Christmas Eve skating at Colonel Sam Smith, and fixable problems at Scarborough Civic.

The City of Toronto website gives rink schedules. However, on holidays they are sometimes wrong.

Jan.9, 2016: Think mild winters are getting more common? A bit of history:

TORONTO STAR, JANUARY 3 1958: "It is true that the parks department operates 58 natural ice rinks for skating and 23 for hockey - or will do so, if and when there is enough frost. For all the freezing weather we get here most winters, the department might as well spare the trouble and expense, and get on with the job of multiplying the number of artificial ice rinks."

posted January 1, 2016

On New Year's Day, you can skate here

 

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