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You are in the Colonel Sam Smith Skating Trail folder

Welcome to The Unofficial Website of Toronto's Outdoor Skating Rinks

There's nothing like outdoor skating

A project of CELOS (*)

Colonel Sam Smith Skating Trail Profile

Built in 2010
Compressors 200 hp plus 30 hp and 15 hp glycol pumps, installed in 2010

Opened: Nov. 28, 2015
Closed: March 11, 2016

Rink change area: Often very full because it's such a popular rink. Large change room with good benches, washrooms. No skate lending, no food. Open cubbies for storing shoes, but no lockers.

Staff: zamboni driver and rink guards

Helmet use: only leisure skaters under six

Cityrinks.ca position paper: is the city's helmet in need of an update? Should little kids be forced to wear only CSA approved helmets?

Equipment and Maintenance: Dedicated zamboni

Public Skating: 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. But no fences -- so it's open for skating by moonlight.

NO SKATE RENTALS

Very annoying radio station, 98.1 CHFI, broadcast over the rink speakers a lot of the time, loud commercials, and plenty of them. Is this a deal with the city?



Power Plant building has a change area

Comments about this rink: e-mail us at rinkissues@cityrinks.ca.

Rink Diary

2015 - 2016

March 11, 2016

This rink was scheduled to stay open until March 20, but it closed for the season on March 11.

Feb.29, 2016, from Dale Howey

They are putting in infrastructure for a food operation in the change room. They were also back at the fire pit digging holes to put armour stone benches.


Digging new holes in the fire pit platform. Photo: Dale Howey
 
Feb.3 2016

The big new fireplace has vanished. Since it's too heavy to steal in any ordinary way, one has to assume that somebody decided it wasn't the right thing, and the parks lift truck came back to pick it up. The rink guards said they had no idea why the fireplace was installed in the first place nor why it was removed, "nobody tells us grunts anything, not even if the rink is open or closed."


Feb.3, 9 pm: fireplace gone again

trail only had three skaters at 9 pm, but the ice was good

They said the skating trail was listed as closed for 3 hours in the afternoon. But by 9 p.m. the ice was good. Even so, there were only three skaters.

January 28, 2016

The building washrooms and the downstairs changing area have reopened, although all doors but one are still blocked.

January 25, 2016

Jan. 25 2016: delivery of firewood

A truck came with lots of firewood -- but where will it be stored, since the rule says no combustible materials closer than 6 meters away...? And the building is still locked.

 
January 23, 2016

There was fundraiser at this rink on Saturday Jan.23 between 2 and 4 p.m., selling 'compassion t-shirts,' hot chocolate and baked goods, to help sponsor an as-yet unknown Syrian refugee family. See the poster here. Suggested donation was $20.

The new fire place in in -- it looks armoured. There are warning signs on all four sides that fire is hot. An extra fence has been put around it, but so far there is no sign of wood. A staff person from City Councillor Grimes' office was setting out newsletters. She thought that perhaps there would be a fire at the councillor's Family Day event.

The city's campfire circle installations increasingly have the feel of the signs that went up along the lake shore one year "danger: open water." As if people don't know that water can be deep and fire is hot. Very strange. Presumably all the certification costs extra, plus the heavy-duty armour to hold the fire in.


new armoured campfire location, with two layers of fence

warning signs on all four sides

no firewood within 6 feet, don't burn paper, etc. etc.

"caution -- hot while in operation" -- (in case you never cook)

certified using the standard for space heaters and room heaters -- irrelevant but made to sound impressive
 
Jan.22, 2016, e-mail from Dale Howey

Good news! They were installing the fire pit this morning. One of those raised metal ones so hopefully it will be in operation this weekend. The change rooms are still closed but there was one lone worker there chipping away at concrete at the sill of one of the doors. There was actually a crowd there at 9:15 when I arrived, mainly youth but a few adults as well.


firepit installation. Photo: Dale Howey
Jan.18, 2016, e-mail from Dale Howey:

The change rooms are still closed and no fire pit yet. They had only scraped the ice when I got on around 9am due to the snow but the surface was pretty good.

Jan.4, 2016, e-mail from Dale Howey:

"The change room is still closed for renovations and the fire pit isn't installed but the ice was in good shape and I was the first one on at 10 am. It was fine going south but a bit cold on the cheeks going north."


the rink at minus 15 celsius, Jan.4, photo by Dale Howey

Jan.18, snow with zamboni, photo by Dale Howey
 
Dec.29, 2015

All the city's outdoor rinks were closed today until later afternoon, because of the heavy, extremely wet snow. Colonel Sam Smith was the fourth rink to re-open, at 4.30.

Dec.24, 2015, email from skater J.S.:

Just got home from a lovely Christmas Eve skate at Colonel Sam Smith trail. It could only be improved by a hot chocolate kiosk and a ban on playing hockey.

Our family has a 25 year tradition of skating on Christmas Eve. At first we skated at Kew, which is our walk-to rink (they used to stay open 'til 9 or 10PM with recorded music and hot chocolate supplied by Beaches Rec Centre). When Kew started closing early we moved to Ryerson. Not bad but too often we had conflicts with strident hockey players. The last few years we've been at Sherbourne. Colonel Sam Smith will be our new tradition.

The city's website says the rink is closed all evening, but clearly it wasn't.

Dec.23, 2015

skating is fine despite the warm temperatures

9.30 p.m.: people are skating despite some wetness on the ice. The rink guard asks me not to take a photo. I ask him (and some friends he's talking to), do you know about the article in the Star, about taking pictures at this rink? He says the rink guards were just told about it yesterday. But they were told there's still no picture-taking allowed unless the person with the camera ONLY puts in people he knows.

He lets me take a far-away picture of the Christmas tree, though. Nice.

 

"media friendly" rink at city hall -- why not at Colonel Sam?
December 4, 2015

Here is a Toronto Star article telling the story of a Star editor, Scott Colby, who was ordered by a rink guard to stop taking pictures of his own kids skating at the skating trail.

Rinks and parks in Toronto are predominantly staffed with youth. Some are likely to enjoy their new-found power over adults. And the hours and hours of training given to the rinks' young part-time staff focus almost entirely on preventing things, not on building enjoyment and wintertime social life. The kids are told that people taking photographs might be pedophiles, and that taking photographs puts children at risk. The same fragments of gossip are circulated over and over by the trainers -- the child whose mother was on the run from the father, and the father sees the child's photo and tracks them down and.....disaster!

Nov.28, 2015

This rink already had a respectable layer of ice on Wednesday Nov.25. Despite two days of 15 celsius that followed, there was enough ice for lots of skaters on opening day. Construction is keeping the building closed until January, according to the sign -- does that maybe mean February? The timing of construction is peculiar, since the building is much needed in winter. The work is constructing a mezzanine and adding an elevator. Apparently it began in April, and takes 9 months -- really?


building blocked by construction fence

temporary washroom facilities

one sign says finishing in December...

...the other sign says January

there were lots of skaters on opening day

the ice was good except for cement at the edges
 

Visualization Of The New Trail

From The City of Toronto Website 2014-15

For the skating schedule, go to Colonel Sam Smith, then click on Skating.

Rink Diary

2015 - 2016

March 11, 2016

This rink was scheduled to stay open until March 20, but it closed for the season on March 11.

Feb.29, 2016, from Dale Howey

They are putting in infrastructure for a food operation in the change room. They were also back at the fire pit digging holes to put armour stone benches.


Digging new holes in the fire pit platform. Photo: Dale Howey
 
Feb.3 2016

The big new fireplace has vanished. Since it's too heavy to steal in any ordinary way, one has to assume that somebody decided it wasn't the right thing, and the parks lift truck came back to pick it up. The rink guards said they had no idea why the fireplace was installed in the first place nor why it was removed, "nobody tells us grunts anything, not even if the rink is open or closed."


Feb.3, 9 pm: fireplace gone again

trail only had three skaters at 9 pm, but the ice was good

They said the skating trail was listed as closed for 3 hours in the afternoon. But by 9 p.m. the ice was good. Even so, there were only three skaters.

January 28, 2016

The building washrooms and the downstairs changing area have reopened, although all doors but one are still blocked.

January 25, 2016

Jan. 25 2016: delivery of firewood

A truck came with lots of firewood -- but where will it be stored, since the rule says no combustible materials closer than 6 meters away...? And the building is still locked.

 
January 23, 2016

There was fundraiser at this rink on Saturday Jan.23 between 2 and 4 p.m., selling 'compassion t-shirts,' hot chocolate and baked goods, to help sponsor an as-yet unknown Syrian refugee family. See the poster here. Suggested donation was $20.

The new fire place in in -- it looks armoured. There are warning signs on all four sides that fire is hot. An extra fence has been put around it, but so far there is no sign of wood. A staff person from City Councillor Grimes' office was setting out newsletters. She thought that perhaps there would be a fire at the councillor's Family Day event.

The city's campfire circle installations increasingly have the feel of the signs that went up along the lake shore one year "danger: open water." As if people don't know that water can be deep and fire is hot. Very strange. Presumably all the certification costs extra, plus the heavy-duty armour to hold the fire in.


new armoured campfire location, with two layers of fence

warning signs on all four sides

no firewood within 6 feet, don't burn paper, etc. etc.

"caution -- hot while in operation" -- (in case you never cook)

certified using the standard for space heaters and room heaters -- irrelevant but made to sound impressive
 
Jan.22, 2016, e-mail from Dale Howey

Good news! They were installing the fire pit this morning. One of those raised metal ones so hopefully it will be in operation this weekend. The change rooms are still closed but there was one lone worker there chipping away at concrete at the sill of one of the doors. There was actually a crowd there at 9:15 when I arrived, mainly youth but a few adults as well.


firepit installation. Photo: Dale Howey
Jan.18, 2016, e-mail from Dale Howey:

The change rooms are still closed and no fire pit yet. They had only scraped the ice when I got on around 9am due to the snow but the surface was pretty good.

Jan.4, 2016, e-mail from Dale Howey:

"The change room is still closed for renovations and the fire pit isn't installed but the ice was in good shape and I was the first one on at 10 am. It was fine going south but a bit cold on the cheeks going north."


the rink at minus 15 celsius, Jan.4, photo by Dale Howey

Jan.18, snow with zamboni, photo by Dale Howey
 
Dec.29, 2015

All the city's outdoor rinks were closed today until later afternoon, because of the heavy, extremely wet snow. Colonel Sam Smith was the fourth rink to re-open, at 4.30.

Dec.24, 2015, email from skater J.S.:

Just got home from a lovely Christmas Eve skate at Colonel Sam Smith trail. It could only be improved by a hot chocolate kiosk and a ban on playing hockey.

Our family has a 25 year tradition of skating on Christmas Eve. At first we skated at Kew, which is our walk-to rink (they used to stay open 'til 9 or 10PM with recorded music and hot chocolate supplied by Beaches Rec Centre). When Kew started closing early we moved to Ryerson. Not bad but too often we had conflicts with strident hockey players. The last few years we've been at Sherbourne. Colonel Sam Smith will be our new tradition.

The city's website says the rink is closed all evening, but clearly it wasn't.

Dec.23, 2015

skating is fine despite the warm temperatures

9.30 p.m.: people are skating despite some wetness on the ice. The rink guard asks me not to take a photo. I ask him (and some friends he's talking to), do you know about the article in the Star, about taking pictures at this rink? He says the rink guards were just told about it yesterday. But they were told there's still no picture-taking allowed unless the person with the camera ONLY puts in people he knows.

He lets me take a far-away picture of the Christmas tree, though. Nice.

 

"media friendly" rink at city hall -- why not at Colonel Sam?
December 4, 2015

Here is a Toronto Star article telling the story of a Star editor, Scott Colby, who was ordered by a rink guard to stop taking pictures of his own kids skating at the skating trail.

Rinks and parks in Toronto are predominantly staffed with youth. Some are likely to enjoy their new-found power over adults. And the hours and hours of training given to the rinks' young part-time staff focus almost entirely on preventing things, not on building enjoyment and wintertime social life. The kids are told that people taking photographs might be pedophiles, and that taking photographs puts children at risk. The same fragments of gossip are circulated over and over by the trainers -- the child whose mother was on the run from the father, and the father sees the child's photo and tracks them down and.....disaster!

Nov.28, 2015

This rink already had a respectable layer of ice on Wednesday Nov.25. Despite two days of 15 celsius that followed, there was enough ice for lots of skaters on opening day. Construction is keeping the building closed until January, according to the sign -- does that maybe mean February? The timing of construction is peculiar, since the building is much needed in winter. The work is constructing a mezzanine and adding an elevator. Apparently it began in April, and takes 9 months -- really?


building blocked by construction fence

temporary washroom facilities

one sign says finishing in December...

...the other sign says January

there were lots of skaters on opening day

the ice was good except for cement at the edges
 

Rink Capital Costs

Tuesday Dec.6 2011

From Stephen O'Bright, Supervisor, Capital Projects-Building & Infrastructure, Parks, Forestry & Recreation, Parks Development & Capital Projects to an inquiry about the skating trail, from Belleville:

In 1996 a Master Plan study identified the opportunity to refurbish the existing former Power House to support park activities and the proposed "pleasure skating trail" as a recreation opportunity. The existing Power House was converted to accommodate public activity rooms, washrooms, including electrical infrastructure improvements. Concurrently, a new parking lot and traffic turning circle was constructed to reinforce access and to accommodate the arrivals to the Park.

Over the past 5 years, the new outdoor artificial ice skating trail became a reality as a result of focussed participation, community engagement and commitment.

Throughout all phases of the preservation of habitat, culture, heritage was a principle priority. The location of the skating trail minimized impacts and ensured that the park habitat was re naturalized as part of the overall amenity development. Storm water management principles were also introduced to manage the peripheral drainage patterns as well as seasonal operational needs of the skating trail.

The refrigerated trail is fully illuminated with a sound system. Its on average 4.5 m wide and 250 lineal metres in length, with a integral small practice area at the north end.

Power House conversion costs (pre City amalgamation) were approximately $800 k.

The Ice Skating trail construction costs including various consultants, studies, permit fees, and the refrigeration plant totalled $1.95 million

CELOS Estimate of Rink Operating Costs (2009)

posted January 07, 2009

We have gone to several disparate sources to arrive at an estimate of annual (seasonal) operating costs of Toronto's 49 outdoor rinks ("AIR's" - Artificial Ice Rinks).

Our best estimate of direct costs from these approaches is

  • maintenance staff $1.3M
  • rink guards $0.5M
  • energy $1.4M

Total direct cost estimate $3.2M (average about $65,000 per rink - 12 week season)

 

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Content last modified on March 11, 2016, at 12:33 PM EST