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Rink Diary 2006-2007

Question from Jutta Mason to Parks supervisor Peter Leiss, August 27, 2006

The Cinergy building envelope work was done last week at the rink. The contractor pointed out to me that it was odd to put weatherstripping on the garage side door when there is an opening right above it that never closes, not in winter either:

garage side door with
always-open air vents

This opening must have been on the Cinergy heat loss audit, maybe it was overlooked when the job list was made -- can you find out when that problem is scheduled to be looked after?

Comment from Energy Retrofit project manager Al Gaanderse: This is correct. The vent was overlooked. We are presently reviewing with the engineers whether the open vents can be sealed and leaving the automatic vents in place.

Response from Parks supervisor Peter Leiss, August 28, 2006

I have made a request of Facilities to respond to me regarding what action will be taken.

from Jutta Mason to Recreation supervisor Tino DeCastro, September 13 2006:

It's getting cooler out and it's time to think about the rink. Last year there were some problems that led to a meeting to discuss setting up the city rinks under boards of management. The jury is still out on that one, but it would be good to talk about starting over, this year. There were some health and safety issues that still need to be addressed. (The new asphalt path connecting the two rink pads externally should go a long way here.) There were ice maintenance issues (thickness), and there were communication issues (staff prohibited from speaking directly to other staff).

There were policy issues as well, and then -- as always -- there were the problems that come from overcrowding. That issue may be even worse this year if neither Harry Gairey nor Wallace are open until January. As you know, December is our biggest crowd. On year we had a near-riot at the end of November because the rink was so jammed with youth who could find no other rink to play shinny in.

I think your excellent staff can handle anything as long as there's good, direct, open communication going all ways. But at this point rink friends have begun to contact me and ask questions. Could a few of us have a meeting with the new rink manager and you and a few of your staff and have a good "fresh start" conversation about the recreation side of running the rink this year?

I'd like to suggest that soon would be good: maybe in a week or two?

September 27 2006 Re: Arena Energy Retrofit Program

Mr.Al Gaanderse visited the park today to have a conversation about this program. Mr.Gaanderse told us that he has worked at arenas in Scarborough for Parks and Recreation for 25 years, more recently as chief operator of a community centre as well as an arena. He is currently seconded to the company that has the energy retrofit contract with the City's arenas and outdoor artificial ice rinks. He is the Project Coordinator, Arenas Energy Retrofit Program. The project is expected to need his services for three years.

The city originally entered into an Arena Energy Retrofit Contract with Vestar Energy (an American company owned by the Cinergy Corporation, a large electrical utility based out of Cincinnati), in December 2004. The contract is for $10.3 million, and its details were not available to the public during the time it was being considered by City Council. CELOS made application to the City of Toronto Corporate Access and Privacy Section to find out the details, but access was not granted. That decision is currently being appealed to the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner (Appeal MA-050302-1), begun on February 10, 2006.

In the meantime, Cinergy Solutions was bought by Duke Energy Services, an even larger utility company based out of South Carolina. As part of the purchase, Duke bought all of Cinergy Corporation assets including Cinergy Solutions.

Mr.Gaanderse said that he is now seconded to Optimira Energy, formerly known as Cinergy Solutions. That company in turn was recently bought from Duke Energy by New York City-based Adamas Energy. (After Adamas Energy bought Cinergy Solutions, the name was changed to Optimira Energy. Cinergy Corporation and Duke Energy are billion dollar companies and as such, the City of Toronto contract is small, but in terms of Optimira Energy, the City of Toronto contract is quite large.

garage door opens wide

However, the scope of the energy retrofit contract is very large in local terms, and not so easy to understand. Mr.Gaanderse explained a good deal. The measures we will see at Dufferin Rink are weather-stripping of doors (already done) and the installation of a computer system that will allow better monitoring of the compressors that run the rink's cooling system (that system is not yet installed). Also, since the original work plan for Dufferin Rink did not include an automatic shut-off for the large gas heater in the garage (it heats the park whenever the garage door is opened for the zamboni or the farmers' market), Mr.Gaanderse said he would look into that. From Mr.Gaanderse: The original scope included the control of the heater through the new computerized control system. The control sequence will include the installation of a sensor that will monitor the operation of the door. If the door is open, the heater will be disabled from operation. There is also a low limit that will start the heater irrespective of door position, if the room temperature gets close to freezing.

He also said that ice should not be thicker than three inches for outdoor rinks (one-and-a-half to two inches indoors) and that if it gets thicker it will use too much energy (the compressors run too much). The new automated system will allow central monitoring of the compressor use, giving a warning if the machines run continuously as they did at the end of the 2005/2006 rink season, when the ice was five to seven inches thick.

Once the data on energy use starts being collected, CELOS will ask to see it, and thereby follow the progress of this program.

from Jutta Mason to Councillor Adam Giambrone's assistant Chris Gallop, Oct.3 2006

I need your help -- I have been trying for almost a month to meet with the new City rinks manager, Kevin Bowser. He does not respond. You may remember that at the end of last season the rink situation had become somewhat untenable and I think it's important to start fresh. But if people won't talk, that can't happen.

Rink users have begun contacting me and our rinks web pages have taken a big usage jump already. We need to find out what Kevin Bowser intends to do to make the rinks run better, including ours. He needs to hear our concerns. Could you call Paul Ronan and see if he can get Kevin to meet with a few of us rink friends here? If you could broker that meeting, it would be a big help.

[For the rest of this thread, see "Problems and Follow-up" and click on "Fresh Start."]

rinks need good ice

Response from Councillor Adam Giambrone's assistant Chris Gallop, Oct.5 2006

We'll call Kevin and Paul and see what we can do.


High: 10, low 5 celsius.

Dufferin Rink had the compressors turned on in the morning. Rec staff helped the rink foreperson to get the rink surface clean before all the leaves had a chance to freeze onto the surface. Rec staff also painted inch markings onto the hockey boards in various places, for ice-measuring later in the season.


High 16, low 13.

Ice maintenance crew flooded at Dufferin but nothing froze.


High 15, low 2. Rain off and on. The temperature started out very warm but by mid-afternoon it dropped to 5. By evening, Dufferin Rink began to show patches of ice.


High 4, low 1. Steady rain all day until late afternoon. The rink is very dirty and by nighttime the dirt had all frozen into the ice, plus some leaves. But the ice was hard -- looked like about half an inch.


High 2, low minus 1. Cloudy. Zamboni driver Roger Doble started going around the rink with the zamboni from 6.30 am. Rink opened at 10.15, lots of people.


High 1, low minus 3. Cloudy. Ice was fine but a bit chopped up.

Dufferin Rink, opening day


High 0, low minus 4. Sun and cloud. Ice is better as it gets a bit thicker. Ice maintenance schedule not kept for early morning -- zamboni began at 9, training of a new person, finished about 10.30. Then a full game of shinny began. Sandy painted the green shovels so they still had wet paint on them when snow flurries came in the evening. Rink had a lot of people on it and they had to play shinny with one puck.

After 9, the Dufferin Groove permit had only 9 players, but the pleasure-skating side had about 15 -- that usual energetic game of hockey as good as ever.

Dec.5 2006:

From Jutta Mason to City Rinks supervisor Brian Green and Recreation supervisor Tino DeCastro:

Mayssan told me that Jim left the rink today after an unknown person hit him with a snowball on the zamboni. If I heard Mayssan right, this is the second time such a thing has happened.

Suggested follow-up: staff should talk to rink users all day and evening to let them know that if there is one more such incident, not only will the zamboni driver leave the rink, but everyone at the rink (except the permit) will be asked to leave for the night.

If everyone knows that this would happen, it means that there will be many pairs of eyes watching for any snow ball thrower during the whole time the zamboni is on the ice. Plus the staff will be very focused on this. Same rule applies the evening after, and the evening after, etc. I noted that many rink users tonight were adults so I think we'll get to the bottom of this.


Dec.6 2006:

In the evening, lots of young guys were hanging around the pleasure-skating side, playing British bulldog and swearing and yelling into their cellphones. They were unwilling to stop, so eventually the staff asked two of the youth, who were the most mouthy, to leave for the evening. They were unwilling to do that too. After twenty minutes of arguing, they were finally obliged to leave, but they just came back onto the rink by the back gate. So they were told to leave for a week. They also threw some snowballs at staff and at helpers.

Sometimes the rink feels like a big unruly daycare for childish youth.

Dec.7 2006:

High minus 5, low minus 11. Market day -- so crowded. The late permit people said their feet were so cold after the game that they couldn't feel them at all.

Dec.8 2006:

High minus 1, low minus 12 (in the early morning). It was a school holiday and the crowds at the rink were pretty crazy. Friday Night Supper was modified so that most people ate on benches without a table -- no room. In the evening there were some new mouthy guys who taunted the staff. one person was asked to leave and then said he wanted a trespass letter -- so he got one and went out the door and threw it in the garbage. He will not be allowed back in to the rink until he has a meeting with Tino and resolves on a different behaviour.

Big numbers of hockey players on the pleasure-skating side every night after the rinkhouse doors close.

Earlier, a guy (maybe 15) stopped suddenly on the hockey side and popped his kneecap. He was very brave but had to be taken to hospital by ambulance. A friend went with him.

Dec.9 2006:

Dufferin Rink December 9, 2006

High plus 4, low minus 4. Mostly sunny with an astonishingly beautiful sunset at 4.41. In the morning there was a fight on the hockey side, and one guy knocked another guy down and kicked him in the head with his skate. The kicker left while people were tending to the hurt guy, and then the hurt guy left too (he had a goose-egg on his forehead and a cut lip).

In the afternoon and early evening the rink was very very full again, this time mostly of young guys and girls who were renting skates and eyeing one another. Reminds the old rink users of the seventies, when the rink was a major place for dates on Friday nights and Saturdays.

At one point in the afternoon about 20 young guys were working something out (arguing) in front of the rinkhouse -- staff came out and said, stop this and we'll give each of you a cookie and a cup of hot chocolate. Most of them came in for their treat; some left. Who knew that a cookie could forestall a fight?

Dec.10 2006

High 8, low 0 Celsius. Sunny all day. The ice was in good condition, although slow, with only a narrow bit of slushy ice along the boards during the middle of the day. The rink was very crowded. In the early evening, staff asked a youth sitting in the rink clubhouse to remove the mask from his face, and that led to a generalized argument with about ten youth about their rights to hide their faces if they want to, going on to broader remarks about maybe beating up staff. The whole group was told to leave and not return to the rink until they had made an appointment with the supervisor. On leaving, some of these folks tipped over trashcans and threw a bench into the campfire, and mooned the rink staff. Other young rink users told staff that these kids are often together and behave this way a lot.

An hour later, a different group of younger-age (13-14?) started play fighting an teasing each other in the rink house. They were kicked out and onto the rink and told to calm down. On the rink, teasing turned into fighting. One youth attacked another younger than him. The younger youth's brother tackeled the attacker and kicked him with skates on. Staff intervened at this point, pulling both parties apart. A friend of the youth being kicked called his friends on his cell phone, to come and help them fight back. He did this even though the on-site staff told him not to escalate the trouble by calling in reinforcements. He agreed to leave. A half an hour later, the younger youth were yelling for help, saying they had been attacked by the older youth with hammers and threats of guns were made. Then the staff called police, and they interviewed the kids who had been threatened (the others had left). The police also blocked off the street (little dead-end street) for an hour while they were interviewing the kids, because of the "g" word. After the police left, on-site staff talked some more with the kids who were left, about fighting and calling friends to help (i.e. making things worse).

On top of all this, while the staff were trying to deal with the kids calling their friends to come and fight, the zamboni driver came and began to do the ice, even though rink staff asked him to hang on until the crisis was over, because the staff couldn't guard the machine.

At the same time as all these things were happening, the rink was full of skaters apparently having a very good time. Different universes coexisting!

From From on-site rink staff Mayssan Shuja to Recreation supervsior Tino DeCastro, Dec.11 2006

Thank you - I will notify the staff and advise to contact Brian when an emergency occurs that requires Rec. staff to leave their posts during Zamboni operation. Below is the info I have-

Incident report submitted to Tino. Police call made at 8:30pm Police arrived around 9:30pm? Police officer contact- J.D. Johnston Badge number 8024 Phone number 808-6245 x 18024

From Recreation supervisor Tino DeCastro to on-site rink staff Mayssan Shuja, Dec.11 2006

Please see attached. Please provide the any information below you may have. As well Roger should not have flooded with out a rink guard, according to Brian. Please call the Rink supervisor directly in the future.

From City Rinks maintenance supervisor Brian Green to Recreation supervisor Tino DeCastro Dec.11 2006

In the event that Building attendants or rink attendants leave their posts; staff have been advised to leave the rink and park in the garage until instructed by park supervisor/ foreperson to return to rink. Tino can you please provide me with the police report documentation (Time, Officers attending and badge #s)

From on-site rink staff Mayssan Shuja to Recreation supervisor Tino DeCastro, Dec.11 2006

So the two issues are: -- rough ice -- not sticking to the schedule of having at least one longer ice maintenance session per week.

Maybe this was only missed because you're having start-up problems with the other rinks. Please let me know.

Please send Brian email re: emergency procedure for Arena Operators. In light of incident yesterday - Dec. 10th, where Arena Operator continued to flood without having any ring guards, after he was notified that there was an emergency Rec. Staff had to attend to.

Apparently, the staff were dealing with a police matter at the time and could not get out to act as a whistle person. Should Roger not have done the flood without a whistle/rink person??? We need to be on the same page.

From rink staff Corey Chivers to Jutta Mason, about ice being rough with dirt and leaves embedded in it, Dec.11 2006.

While the dirt and leaves on the concrete will absorb more sunlight (and heat up, melt ice) while the ice is still relatively clear, the issue with dirt and leaves is a concern over the entire rink season. From Michael Doucette, lead engineer at The United Illuminating Company - "Water impurities can adversely affect ice quality because they result in a higher conductance levels." This is a similar phenomenon to why salt helps melt ice.

From Jutta Mason to City Rinks supervisor Brian Green

I was disappointed that there was no extra ice maintenance today as had been planned. The ice was very rough this morning even after the zamboni was on, not only because of the rain but because we had so many skaters every day last week and the ice seems not to get very smooth in between (zamboni blade?). Shinny players are saying it's rough, and it certainly seems like it. I was on the ice at City Hall today and it was a great deal smoother, despite having many hundreds of people on the weekend.

I heard today that Dufferin Rink will only get the extra maintenance period (Mondays and/or Fridays on the schedule ) "as needed." The reason why I'm surprised by that is that we heard a lot of talk last season about the fact that once the ice gets too thick, it's very hard to cut it down.

Dec.11 2006

High 5 celsius, early morning drizzle, low 2. A fair number of skaters in the afternoon and evening. The kid who called the reinforcements from yesterday's fight returned, and was told he'll have to call the recreation supervisor before he's allowed to return to skating at the rink.

Dec.12 2006

High 9 celsius, cloudy all day. Ice sticky but hard. Low 3. Rain starting at 10.30 pm. A shinny player was so angry when told that he had to cede the ice to the 12-and-under kids, that he threatened to beat up the rink staff. He was asked to leave, and did leave, but said he would return tomorrow. Extra staff will be in the building. The youth, brother that defended his brother by kicking another youth, (see Dec. 10th younger youth fight) was asked to do 10 hours of community service hours at Dufferin Rink. Staff explained it was important to resolve fights by calling staff for help or pulling out of a situation and not fighting back.

Dec.13 2006

Dec.13, some sun, ice has water but not deep

High 9 celsius, mostly cloudy, low 2. Zamboni got a new blade today but it was put on crooked so it gouges the ice on one side. To be fixed tomorrow, by mechanics.

Two Kent School classes came today and when they got ready to leave, one kid couldn't find his shoes. There were only two other regulars at the rink, so on-site staff asked for their locker key and went through their pack. The shoes were there. The two youth said they had put the shoes in their pack "by mistake." They were asked to leave the rink and not return until a meeting with the recreation supervisor on Friday.

Two kids had an argument about shin pads and a helmet, which they took outside. One kid, who was also told not to do slap shots, got very angry and kicked the window in the front door, which cracked. He ran away but later sent word through his friends that he hadn't meant to do that. Staff called his house and set up a meeting time with the kid and his mother, for this Sunday. He's not allowed to come and skate until then.

Youth from Dec. 10th incident (younger) who called for reinforcements, was sighted at Dufferin Rink. He was told that he could not come back to the rink until he set up a meeting with Rec. supervisor. He took the card and left the building. Staff left message with Police that youth was sighted at the park. No response.

Dec.14 2006

High 12 celsius, low 1, sun and cloud. Ice fine, market made the rink house very crowded.

A youth who was arrested last February for making a lot of trouble at the rink and carrying a knife, returned to the rink with friends. He lied about his name but then was identified. He told staff that he thought he was allowed back to the rink now, since he had done his 20 hours of court-ordered community service (supervised by his own lawyer at an unknown placement). But staff told him that his City of Toronto letter of trespass from last February has not been revoked and he is not permitted back at the rink until he meets with the rink supervisor and agrees to a schedule of community hours at the rink. This meeting is scheduled for Friday Dec.15.

From City Rinks supervisor Brian Green to on-site staff Mayssan Shuja, Dec.20 2006

Maintenance staff are not responsible to advise or direct patrons with respect to the wearing of helmets. Rink maintenance staff are not required to wear helmets.

From on-site rink staff mayssan Shuja to City Rinks maintenance supervisor Brian Green, Dec.15 2006

Rec. staff have been directed by the city to comply with the Helmet Policy for Ice Activities. It states that all City of Toronto Staff that supervise/oversee leisure skate programs and shinny hockey are required to wear CSA approved hockey helmets while on the ice. I have directed my questions about this policy to Tino deCastro for Recreation staff.

For Rink maintenance staff, how are you applying this to Arena Operators/ Ice Technicians? Does the policy appear in your staff manual? Also, are your rink staff required to enforce the helmet policy on participants, say when Rec. staff are not at work in the morning to supervise?

Dec.15 2006

rink handbook

High 10 celsius, low 1, mostly cloudy, a few very light showers. Ice is fine again. Zamboni drivers reluctant to cut ice much because they're worried it will be too thin. Friday Night Supper included a dating agency outing: "Meet Market." Rink booklet set out for people to look at.

Also lots of youth socializing. Hardly a break in skate-borrowing.

Meeting with one of the shoe-thieves, rink staff person Anna Galati, and Recreation supervisor Tino DeCastro. Worked out a schedule of community hours. Until then, the youth can't come to skate. The other shoe-thief didn't show for the meeting and will not be allowed back for the season, unless he figures out a way to straighten this out (double the community hours).

Youth from Dec. 14th, did not show up for meeting.

Youth from Dec. 10th incident (older) sighted near rink. Agreement made to set up meeting Monday to discuss restorative measures.

Dec.16 2006

High 6 celsius, sunny with cloudy periods, low 2. Rink very crowded. Good ice. It's possible that some of the youth on the ice were in the groups that had been banned in the last week. There were so many of them that the staff can't remember them all. There area few youth who are acting extra polite, and that makes staff suspicious. But if the troublemakers think they are pulling the wool over the staffs' eyes, sneaking back in and fooling everyone by being extra nice -- so be it!!! One youth was confronted by staff and agreed to being called for a meeting with staff to discuss community hours. Staff suggest that everyone in the group get an even number of hours (10?), since no one admits to vandalism on Dec. 10th.

One-time permit holder came with only six people. He was told that the rule is a minimum of 12 players, and they have to be there on time, otherwise the permit reverts to shinny. He pointed out that the new permit forms don't say that any more -- in fact they say that if you have more than the stated number of participants, you may lose the permit. A world upside down!

There were so many hockey players on the pond-hockey side that staff refunded the permit money and switched the two groups. However the permit holder was disappointed to end up- on the pond hockey side, and with people not part of his group. This needs to be clarified with the Permit section.

Dec.17 2006

High 13 celsius, sunny with some clouds, low 1. Rink very crowded, but ice is quite good. Lots of younger kids, fooling around with the learn-to-skate chairs on the ice -- staff spending so much time trying to settle them down. Staff resolved to make a big sign for the wall, about not pushing people on the learn-to-skate chairs, and to appeal for help from other rink users -- if the rink monitor is busy in the skate-loan room, to come and get the inside staff whenever there's racing or pushing.

More of the youth from the incidents on Dec.10 returned to hang around outside the rink. Staff talked to them and got to know more faces in the group. An arrangement for an "anger management" referral for one, at Dufferin Mall Youth Services (at the youth's request) was made. The rest arranged to meet with rink staff and Tino DeCastro's assistant Marcel Vieira tomorrow evening at 5.30.

The kid who broke the window on Wednesday came for a meeting with his mother and three rink staff. The mother said he's already in an anger management program at his school. He'll do four to six hours of community service at the rink and then he can come to skate again. He's also agreed to no slap shots while on the ice and to call rink monitors when there is a conflict. He's also agreed to stop making mean remarks about other cultures (clean up his language).

Some of the younger kids were were being loud and not listening to the rink monitor. Two were asked to leave for the night. Upon hearing this, the kids both yelled protests - which translated into community hours. Staff met with the parent of a youth under 12yrs to get confirmation (one hour work on Monday). The other youth said he might come this week - his parents will need to be called in if his behavior does not improve and he refuses to do the hours.

The shoe thief youth (Dec 13th) that did not come to the meeting was seen by the campfire. He was called in to meet with 2 rink staff. They agreed to meet formally on Monday Dec 17th to discuss community hours. Youth was not very responsive but agreed to try again.

The garage shelving got soaked, presumably by the zamboni hose, right up to the third shelf. Staff discovered this about an hour after the last scrape and flood. Everything on the shelves was full of water, farmers' market signs were soaked, several bins of grains were ruined. About an hour was spent in cleaning up and spreading out wet stuff to dry.

4 hockey sticks donated; staff did a trade for 6 freshly baked cookies and many thanks.

The last permit of the evening was a one-time youth shinny permit that was so fast -- mostly young Portuguese construction workers, who laughed when they took a fall, leaped up and kept right on going. A beautiful thing to watch.

Dec.18 2006

High 7 celsius, low minus 1. Mostly cloudy. The ice was good except where a lot of water was put on by the zamboni in the afternoon -- took a long time to harden, and hardened into little bumps.

The rink phone service was broken and it took many hours to figure out who could fix the problem -- then it just started working.

The meeting with the youths from the Dec.10 incident was rescheduled for 7.30pm.

The youth who broke the front window came in to do community hours. He did four hours in a row, working very well, cleaning, washing dishes, helping with whatever was asked -- very competent young fellow. The window still hasn't been fixed.

One of the two youths who helped steal the shoes on Wednesday came into the rink to talk to his friends, said he was too tired to do the community hours he had arranged for today. He was told to leave the building until he was ready to do the work.

The youths who were waiting for the 7.30 meeting came into the rink at 5.15 -- were asked to leave and stood just at the edge of the rink with one foot on the ice, smoking. Recreationist Alan Crawford came to the rink about 5.30, said he was just there to have a cup of coffee and to tell about a Toronto Argonauts anti-bullying initiative. He went over to the youth and gave them his card. They moved further away. Alan got on his cellphone and apparently arranged to meet police at the rink. When they came, he took them over to where the youth were, who then moved off further. Staff and rink users were puzzled why he had called police, but Alan said he needed to talk to the police on his own. Police left after some time.

All the youth returned sharp at 7.25 for the meeting with Marcel Vieira, and stood outside waiting for him to arrive. But when Alan got back on his cellphone, they thought he might be calling the police again, and that the meeting was a trick. All of them left except one. Too bad, since staff had hoped for all of them to talk to Marcel.

Staff attempted to arrange community hours with this one remaining youth, but Alan said it was unfair to target only one, since the others had also been involved in the Dec.10 incident. The staff reassured him that they knew the other youth too and would deal with them each individually when they return, whether in a day or a week. All will have to do community hours at the rink, under close staff supervision. If they do the work, they'll be able to start again with a clean slate.

Afterwards, the other youth who stole the shoes on Wednesday arrived for his meeting, sober and attentive, and agreed to do twenty community hours under staff supervision.

During this whole time, there was a lot of shinny hockey going on, plus a birthday skating-party, plus families with their little kids. Amazing that two realities can coexist that way. But there was one more incident: a kid who might be autistic pushed a learn-to-skate frame into a little nine-year-old, who got a big welt on his nose -- might be broken.

From a first-time rink permit-holder who was unhappy about the way things went on Dec.17:

I guess that I was quite disappointed with the way things went.

I didn't know that there was a rule about needing to have 12 people to hold the ice time. Some people in our group didn't show up on time so we only had 5-6 people. As soon as I stepped on the ice at 9:05 the shinny players on the other side of the fence started hassling me.

This group of young men were using extremely foul language, (I was called an "F**ing idiot" and an asshole). They told me that they were going to take over the ice and that if we didn't move that they would move us. I tried to calm things down and suggested that they should speak to the rink staff. I explained that we had more people coming and offered to invite some of them to come and play but told them that I had to check with the parents of the smaller kids first. At this point I was insulted again and one of the men said that if we didn't move right then that he would "kick my ass"

Someone who seemed to work there suggested that we trade with this group and use the public skating ice instead. I asked how that would affect the public skaters and I was told that they were leaving the ice anyway because 9pm forward was for shinny on both sides.

We left the ice but when we went to the other side there were 8-10 public skaters out there which made it pretty tough to have a game without worrying about colliding with them. I asked the rink person who suggested this switch about it and she told me that I was no longer a permit holder and she wasn't going to ask anyone to leave the ice.

We eventually were able to play a short game with the remnants of our group and some local kids. Some of their parents thanked us at the end because they said that the other group had been intimidating their kids.

>From our point of view it really seemed like we got bullied off the ice by these guys who were behaving quite badly. They insulted us, threatened violence, and got exactly what they wanted. This just seems wrong.

About half these guys were smoking pot on the bench between shifts and only a couple of them were wearing helmets. I thought that there was a city wide helmet rule for shinny.

I appreciate that my money was refunded but that really didn't address the real problems.

I have heard great things about the rink at Dufferin Park and when I was there during the day it seemed like a good atmosphere. I would really like to try this again and do it right so that there aren't any hard feeling on either side.

Response from Jutta Mason to the unhappy permit holder:

I'm the person who spoke to you the night of your permit. I didn't know that the hockey players were that rude but I'm not entirely surprised. That group was not as bad a bunch as rinks sometimes get, but many of the youth do not curb their language toward adults and it can be pretty shocking.

Dufferin Rink is a place that's both nice and challenging, and the youth scene with all its trials is a major factor of the gritty reality. When I first got involved with the rink in 1993, a gang had managed to get a number of their group hired on as rink guards, and almost no families went there anymore. Since then there's been lots of collaboration between City staff and rink friends, to help change that culture. It's now one of the busiest rinks in the city, full of families. But it is still (and probably will continue to be) a mix -- and that's rather a good thing, since youth-work is part of the rinks' mandate. But sometimes the mix is not very enjoyable, and there needs to be extra supervision.

One reason why the youth were so nasty to you is that those one-night permits are scarcer than hen's teeth (very high demand). For that reason, the pleasure-skating side is made available for "pond hockey" after the rink building closes, until 11 p.m. Most nights there's a very active game there. I've rarely seen as many pleasure-skaters out as the night you were there -- which is another reason why the hockey players were so frustrated. Usually the pleasure skaters prefer to come during the rink's open hours, when no hockey is ever allowed on there.

So I'm really hoping you can take another permit, and that it works out in the way you hoped the next time. Now that the staff know that your permit is mixed-ages, they'll make sure there's supervision during the whole hour, so that nobody gets to call you names through the fence.

From Jutta Mason to the Dufferingrovefriends list serve, Dec.18 2006

Hi there, Those of you who have gone to Dufferin Rink this season may have noticed that it was extra full about five minutes after it opened, and that it's continued that way a good deal of the time since then.

Here's why:

1. Wallace Rink up the street is still closed for construction (to open Jan.6) 2. Most other City rinks weren't scheduled to open until Dec.9, and even then, most of them were not ready and they didn't really get going until the middle of last week 3. The "wild" kids who hang out at Dufferin Rink say that actually they find the less-used rinks scary and unpleasant and that they like Dufferin Rink better 4. The "wild things" (, kids) often don't have skates of their own, and at Dufferin Rink they still get to skate, if they can find a toonie or even pick litter in exchange for free skate rental 5. the result is that there are a lot of needy/troublesome/goofy kids and youth at Dufferin Rink, and the rink staff are a bit swamped for now, addressing their issues (see the rink web diary entries for the past week).

So, grown-up rink friends, please help the staff by: ....coming to the zamboni snack bar right away when you see kids acting foolish on the ice, in the building, in the washrooms, or around the perimeter, if no rink staff is nearby at that time. Please don't wait until you lose all patience. Staff are trying to follow up silly behaviours all over the rink, when they occur, and your giving notice will help them.

It's also good to remember that: 1. this situation tends to improve once the first 2-3 weeks have passed and the excitement has diminished 2. the troublesome youth who get followed up in this way are one big reason why these rinks exist, and worth the staff's efforts in working with them 3. the staff at Dufferin Rink are remarkable in their follow-up efforts -- feel free to show them your appreciation, they can use some 4. if you'd like me to point out some of the rather pleasant grown-up skaters/shinny players who were wild kids ten years ago when the rink was a little different, I'd be happy to oblige. Those folks have made me guardedly optimistic about some of the rink's current trials.

See you at the rink! (And the ice is very good at Campbell and Christie Rinks now, if you'd like to bring a little Dufferin Rink spirit to a lesser-used rink, and enjoy a quieter skate at the same time.)

Dec.19 2006

High 3 celsius, low minus 4. Sunny. Several kids finished their community hours and are allowed back now.

From Recreation supervisor Tino DeCastro:

Allan noticed that the youth had drugs on them and acted accordingly. I do not have a concern with police involvement. The youth need to understand that the police are as welcomed as they are.

Allan will continue to provide support whenever possible.

From Dufferin Rink on-site staff Mayssan Shuja, to the unhappy permit holder from Dec.17:

Thank you for your email. I am happy to hear that you are wanting to take out another permit. We will ensure that staff remain on site and monitor the ice during your permit.

The way you were treated remains unacceptable, regardless of whether the rink is supervised or not (after 9 pm)- usually once the first few weeks of the rink season passes - that kind of behavior diminishes as other rinks open up, ice time is not so scarce and users learn the rink rules from the staff and others.

We usually try to do something special for mixed ages permits - so after your done - the staff will have some hot chocolate and cookies available on site! I will be around that day - and if you would come by 15mins earlier - we can do the paperwork and get a chance to talk some more. Thank you again for letting us know exactly what happened that night - I'll look forward to hearing back.

Dec.20 2006

High 6 celsius, low 1. Sun and cloud. A little girl was leaning against the chain link fence watching hockey, when a slap shot hit the fence and hurt her forehead. Lots of blood (nosebleed?) The mother called an ambulance, although the little girl was better pretty fast. The father came and told the shinny players they'd better watch their backs because he'd beat them up, for hurting his daughter. (The father is a shinny player too.)

The father of the kid who was hit with the learn-to-skate frame came in and explained that he had to miss a whole day of work to take his son to emergency. He could ill afford this, so the staff paid him his day's wages, using snack bar money. Staff also encouraged the kid to come back and try skating again (since the incident made him scared).

Dec.21 2006

High 7 celsius, low 1. Ice in good condition. Rink house very crowded because of Christmas market. One of the vendors got her very unusual recliner bike stolen. Late at night, during the final permit, a guy got in a fight at the sidelines with another guy and got bloody. Permit holders broke it up.

Al Gaanderse, project Coordinator, Optimira Energy, wrote:

At Dufferin Grove, early in the new year, Optimira will begin installation of the building automation system. Also of interest is the large opening over the single door in the Zamboni garage. We will be covering up the top portion of the vent to help eliminate the unnecessary loss of warm air. The small vent beside the door is necessary for the unit heater that hangs overhead. On a visit to the site, I showed the on site staff where the controls were for the fan unit if you want to ventilate the room. When this exhaust is switched on the spring-loaded dampers over the door begin to open, allowing fresh air to vent the space.

Dec.22 2006

fenced stairs

High 5 celsius, low 3. Rain all day. But the rink was open, and there were usually a few kids skating, those kids who more or less live at the rink. The skaters got very wet and afterwards they took off their outer layers and dried them in the dryer, playing computer games on the donated computer.

First thing this morning the staff noticed that the community-built stairs from the sidewalk up to the rink house had been ripped out and a danger fence put around the only flat access to the rink house. For more information, Stairs For Winter

From Jutta Mason to Al Gaanderse, Project Coordinator, Optimira Energy:

Three questions:

1. will this work interrupt the running of the rink?

2. when will the automatic switch-off for the big unit heater be installed, so it stops cycling when the big garage door is opened? I think you said that would happen at the same time as the other work. The unit heater still runs all the time whenever the door is opened (i.e. often), and the only way we know to switch it off is at the breaker, which also switches off the power to the fridge and freezer.

3. For this automatic switch-off, it would be helpful to have some kind of over-ride device, if that's possible.

E-mail from AlGaanderse to Jutta Mason

1. The installation of the BAS will not interrupt operations of the refrigeration system.

2. Auto OFF will be part of the installation of the BAS.

3. Yes, this is possible.

Dec.23 2006

High 6 celsius, low 1. Cloudy with lots of showers. Rink was pretty busy anyway, mostly kids, adults presumably shopping.

Dec.24, 2006

High 6 celsius, low minus 1. Sunny all day, but the ice was fine -- water on top beside the boards but not mushy. Busy but not mobbed. A woman got very angry at a kid who was swearing, felt he was also saying racist things and should be banned from the rink. The boy told staff that she had tried to pull him off the ice and he had flailed around trying to get out of her grasp. He also said that he was not making any racist remarks and that he hadn't noticed he was swearing. The woman followed him and told the kid and his friends that he would end up in jail.

Staff felt that the next time an adult becomes so angry that they treat kids with a very hand, it may be necessary to ask the adult to leave the rink.

Petition started, for getting the City to build stairs this coming week, to replace the ones that they tore out.

After midnight, young guys were watching outside the rink for staff to go home so they could climb the fence. They were encouraged to try Christie or Campbell Rinks instead -- fewer people living near there. Then at 1.45 a.m. two guys did get over the fence. They were not kicked out but they had to promise to stop shooting pucks against the boards (sounds like a cannon shot!).

Dec.25, 2006

High 5 celsius, low 0. Cloudy, but no rain until evening. The ice was good. Despite the fact that no ice maintenance was booked for Christmas Day, the rink got two visits from a zamboni driver. Quite busy in the afternoon -- building closed at 6 p.m. but still many people out on the ice. Lots of people signing the "stair petition." The "City Rinks hot line" is busy -- mostly people calling for information on Nathan Phillips Square, Scarborough Centre, and Mel Lastman Square. Maybe it's time for the City to publish those phone numbers?

Staff closed the rink at 6, went back at 8 pm to find the window in the rink-side door smashed, evidence that someone had been inside and tried (unsuccessfully) to break into the zamboni cafe.

Dec.26 2006

High 3 celsius, low minus 1. Cloudy. Rink very very busy. Broken window was repaired. Many people signing the stair petition, especially youth. Lots of them say they wiped out on the slippery access path in the past.

Dec.27 2006

High 3 celsius, low 0. Cloudy with occasional snowflurries. Ice fine except that the rink was so full, and that meant lots of snow just from skaters. How many more people can the rink absorb before staff have to start turning people away?

It would be so helpful if Wallace Rink could open when the holidays are still on. Councillor Adam Giambrone's assistant Kevin Beaulieu said he'd try to find out what the holdup is.


crowded rink

crowds outside

Dec.28 2006

High 5 celsius, low minus 1. The zamboni blade was changed for a sharper one but the blade was put on crooked, so the zamboni made a deep cut in the ice when it came on. This slowed down ice maintenance, and many people were crammed behind the railing, waiting. The zamboni clogged up with ice because of cutting so much, and was taken onto the basketball court to be unclogged. During that time, rink users were still kept behind the railing until eventually they got so frustrated watching the empty ice that the rink staff let them on. They skated without mishap and the rink staff encouraged the maintenance staff to bring their maintenance time to a close.

Drizzle on and off in the evening, and some wet snow. Permits still went on.

Dec.29 2006

High 0 celsius, low minus 3. Cloudy but no rain or snow. The rink was busy all the time. Late in the evening after the building had closed, there was an injury on the pond hockey side -- a guy got cut on the forehead with a hockey blade. He bled a lot and was taken away in an ambulance. No one knew him but other players said he had been raising his stick and getting people in the ankles and shins, and people had been speaking to him about it. Maybe one of the other players lost patience and gave him some rough justice, but hit him harder than intended. The guy who caused the injury left fast, and the guy with the gash planned his revenge so loudly that his friends told him to put a sock in it.

Dec.30 2006

High 2 celsius, low minus 2. Cloud with sunny intervals, a bit hazy, so no melting on the ice at all. Very full again. The guy who got slashed yesterday came back, he had five stitches, but he was fine today -- he spent the whole day here, skating around and waiting to see if the guy who hit him would come back. Brave talk about what he would do to him. At one point, four guys came up in a black Honda, looking like they might have something in mind. But they were basically swamped out by the masses of little kids and pregnant woman and cookie crumbs. After ten minutes they left again. Wrong movie!

The little guy who had his nose broken two weeks ago came back and skated (and played hockey) for a long time, even though he had said before that he was too scared to go back out on skates. His dad played hockey on the other side.

Dec.31 2006

High 5 celsius, low minus 4. Rain in the evening. Ice was fine and the rink was full of people until it began to rain steadily in the evening -- then there were lots of rain bumps on the ice. Despite the rain, the last skaters didn't leave the ice until 10.15 p.m.

Jan.1 2007

High 9 celsius, low plus 1, sunny in the morning. Because it had rained a good deal in the evening as well as being warm and sunny, the ice had some wet patches (but not very soft). As soon as the ice gets wet, the many leaves and dirt patches underneath become very visible. Despite the wet patches, the rink was once again very full, and there was a skate-loan lineup almost continuously. The rink is monitored continuously these days because of the crowding, but it's a strain.

Many, many calls in the rink hot line, the majority for Nathan Phillips Square.

Jan.2 2007

A beautifully sunny day, high 6 celsius, low minus 2. Good ice at this rink and everywhere else. Our ice is still under two inches thick.

Sandy Straw, manager of Parks maintenance, came to talk about the rink access stairs; see stairs for winter.

An electrician came to move an outlet because he'd been ordered to do that by a health and safety person. Nobody could think of what outlet might have been meant. He left and then three health and safety staff came and looked around to try and remember why they had given that order. Couldn't remember. However the team went around and looked at other things. They said that anything store on the top shelf in the garage would have to be tied down. This didn't seem to make sense and was not done.

In late afternoon, a bunch of kids who were trespassed a few weeks ago came to the rink. They made trouble of various kinds and were also bragging that they knew the guy who stole the market vendor's bike, and that other people around the rink had better watch it or their bikes would go too. Staff called community police but they said they'd be a while. Attempts to keep the main people who said they knew the bike thief, at the rink until the police arrived, resulted in a scuffle and a 9-1-1 call, plus a lot of yelling about people who steal bikes. Big audience of young shinny players, and people getting off at the bus stop. Wrong movie for the braggards, hopefully. Police came but only talked to remaining staff and made notes; trespass guys had left.

Jan.3 2007

High 8 celsius, cloud and sun, low 0. Ice in excellent condition, but rink too full. Shinny hockey players were very, very frustrated.

Jan.4 2007

High 11 celsius, sunny until mid-afternoon, then rain, low 4. First thing in the morning, two City staff came to discuss the rink access stairs. They said there would have be a lot of concrete removed to make the platform above the stairs level. Their proposal sounded very expensive for fixing a two-inch slant. The community-built stairs from Home Depot that the city ripped out cost $76; this plan may cost many thousands.

only a bit of surface melt on the side

CTV brought their big transmission truck and ran their weather show from the rink between 12 and 1 p.m.

Because it was so warm, most people were fine with changing their skates outside so the market could be inside. The market was very busy, so was the rink, but it was not as hectic as yesterday.

At about two pm, some of the guys who had been bragging about the bike theft came to the rink. Two were told to leave and then given letters of trespass. Since they stayed nearby, the police were called, and they did come, although too late. An hour later, one of the youth returned saying he wanted to talk about how to be allowed back to the rink. He was given Recreation supervisor Tino DeCastro's card and told to book an appointment. Plans are to involve a police officer in the meeting as well.

Out of the blue, a rink user donated $100 to the rink, which will be put toward buying two more pairs of very good new skates for lending out.

A young regular "rink rat" who spends much of his time at the rink was told that his mother would be taken off life support today. He came to play hockey after his final hospital visit, and all rink staff were looking out for him particularly.

Jan.5 2007

High 11, low 7. There was quite a bit of rain last night so there was water on the ice until it was done the second time (1.45 pm). Not many people skating until late morning, then crowded again, ice not bad. West region rinks (e.g. Rennie, High Park) were closed or much of the day but it's unclear if they got resurfaced at all.

Festival: Twelfth Night, with David Anderson's Clay and Paper Theatre puppets (he got over 20 volunteers and they rehearsed at Wallace Community Centre last night). Lots of people went to see the play, and lots of people didn't go, but just skated and had Friday Night Supper.

Jan.6 2007

High 11, then going down. Low 1. Rain stopped about noon. Ice had a bit of extra moisture but was never soaked.

Young "rink rat" witnessed his mother being taken off life support yesterday. Rink staff were upset. Today was his birthday and some staff baked him a cake with icing and smarties, and got him a bunch of birthday presents that he liked. He played hockey for many, many hours.

For the first time in many weeks, the rink was just right, not too busy.

Jan.7 2007

High 4, some sun and then solid cloud, low 1. First DJ-on-ice day at the rink. Ted Carlisle (park staff) was the DJ. The rink had lots of people, but they were all in such a good mood because of the music, that it didn't seem as difficult as at other crowded times.

DJ Ted Carlisle played the best music

rink rats to the rescue

The Maytag stove (which one of the skaters' grandparents gave us eight years ago) finally gave up. It signaled its exhaustion by lighting its burner on fire, and the staff had to use the fire extinguisher (first time the extinguisher has been used in 13 years). So the staff lit the smaller community outdoor oven and moved the snack bar outside, beside the rink. That helped, because people had more room to line up than indoors. Tomorrow we'll use the snack bar money to buy a new stove -- we knew this was coming.

Four of the young rink rats helped prepare food and do transport between the zamboni kitchen and outside. They were a real help, and it was a good distraction for our poor bereaved lad, too.

By the end of the music, the rink had a large amount of snow on it, from all those skaters, and yet no one complained. It was all too much fun.

Jan 8 2007.

High 4, cloudy with a few sunny breaks. Low minus 2. Much emptier at the rink today. At 4.45 there were 7 on the hockey side, 5 on the pleasure-skating side, and 10 inside. At 9.55 there were 17 on the hockey side ("Dufferin Groove" musicians' permit) and 22 shinny players on the pleasure-skating side (pond hockey) because the building was locked.

Jan.9 2007

High plus 1 celsius. Sun and cloud. Low minus 5. Another electrician came on a health and safety order, again to relocate an outlet in the zamboni kitchen. Tested the outlet and again said there's no need to move it, and left.

Jan.10 2007

High minus 2 celsius, low minus 7. School visits. Otherwise peaceful. Lots of skaters at 18-and-over time.

At 9.30: 10 women's hockey permit, 13 pond hockey, 5 people inside. Ice is good.

Jan.11 2007

High 6 celsius. Sun in the morning, then mostly cloudy. Low minus 6. Market day, but not too busy. The rink rat whose mother just died was there until closing time, playing hockey, hardly stopping. He came right after the funeral was over. He's a very good hockey player. He's among people who know his troubles and are mindful of him, but nobody's sentimental.

At 10.50, there are 17 permit shinny players and 14 pond hockey players. They all come off smiling when the lights go out -- a "magical" night of hockey.

Jan.12 2007

High 8 celsius. Rain off and on in the late afternoon and evening. Low minus 1. The ice was okay but bumpy because of the raindrops. The women's shinny tourney went on anyway.

Jan.13 2007

High 3 celsius. Dusting of snow in the morning. Cloud and lots of sunshine. Low minus 3. Women's shinny tournament was on all day, and it was hard to find other rinks for shinny players. The ice was excellent, but the rink house was very crowded again. After 9 pm there were still a lot of pleasure skaters, and since the shinny permit group didn't show, there was no pond hockey -- the late shinny players were able to use the hockey side.

Jan.14 2007

High 0 celsius. Snow in the late morning. Low -2. The zamboni was taken elsewhere and although there was a city vehicle with a plough attached, there was no Local 416 staff to drive it. The rink was very full of people and a lot of them pitched in to shovel off the ice. They got it all shoveled off, but it was an effort -- heavy, wet snow. Later on the snow stopped and the rink was packed all afternoon.

Jan.15 2007

Freezing drizzle mixed with snow a good deal of the day. High minus 1 celsius, low minus 6. The icy snow covered the rink in the morning so a school class was cancelled, but then the rink was cleared in late morning and the afternoon sc hool classes came and skated, despite the drizzle. Ice maintenance was very good, considering the weather. After 9 pm there were only 8 players on the hockey side (Dufferin Groove permit), but 31 players on the pond hockey side. They kept their spirits up despite the numbers.

Jan.16 2007

Tino DeCastro, recreation supervisor

High minus 6, sunny with cloudy intervals. Low minus 12. Booked lunch with Tino DeCastro, recreation supervisor for Dufferin, Wallace, and Campbell rinks, to talk about how to reduce the crowds at Dufferin Rink and spread the wealth.

School visits morning and afternoon -- Queen Victoria School skating week. They come in a school bus with bags and bags of skates. Wonderfully well-organized and cheerful, just like last year.

At 9.50 there were 18 women for the women's open shinny time, and 18 pond hockey players. Wonderful ice. Staff gave free cookies because of the cold.

Jan.17 2007

High minus 3 celsius. Cloudy with sunny breaks. Low minus 11. The ice is good everywhere. Queen Victoria School classes at the rink morning and afternoon, and sliding down the snow hills, plus homeschoolers. Lots of skaters, but no trouble, just shinny and pleasure skating.

Jan.18 2007

High minus 3 celsius, cloudy. Crowded because of the farmers' market, but less so.

Jan.19 2007

High minus 2 celsius, cloudy then clearing and colder. Ice very good.

Jan.20 2007

High minus 4 celsius, sunny, ice excellent. Rink very full.

Jan.21 2007

High minus 3 celsius, sun and cloud. Low minus 12. Lots of people, skating, eating, sitting around the fire, talking -- the change rooom was full of talk. When new people come into the rink house, they sometimes hang back, a little shocked -- is this a party, how come it's not quiet like a lot of the change rooms, strangers putting on skates and then leaving right away? But it seems not to take long for newcomers to settle in. Sometimes people just sit on a bench and smile, the web editor included.

One of the youth who was trespassed for reckless skating two weeks ago, and then being really mouthy, came back. He was asked to leave again (after making himself obvious by his rowdy behaviour). He kicked the washing machine hard as he was leaving. But it still works.

From skater Roberta Forsythe: "another reason for rink crowding might be the great price for skate rentals. For those of us without our own skates this is a really pleasant bonus. It allows my 5 year old daughter to 'teach' me how to skate!"

Jan.22 2007

Started out snowing, then cleared off. High minus 3 celsius. Low minus 8. Very quiet evening at the rink, for half an hour there were only six people there. Then suddenly at 8 pm the rink was full of guys playing shinny and the pleasure-skating rink had at least a dozen skaters too. Where did they come from?

The mother of one of the young shinny players told about being at the rink as a kid in 1969 with her sister. She said that in those days the shinny players took over both sides, and pleasure skaters were just used to skating in between hockey pucks, nobody thought it was strange.

Jan.23 2007

High 0 celsius, but little snowflakes instead of rain. School visits morning and afternoon, from Queen Victoria Public School. Good ice but a bit snowy from flurries. Just before closing time, two pairs of good men's loaner skates were stolen, by some guys in their twenties who roared away in their car. Turns out that their i.d. was fake. Bummer.

Lots of players for the women's shinny hockey time at 9, and even more players on the "pond hockey" side.

Letter from Kim and Sean, who had a hockey permit for their wedding guests on Jan.12, the evening before they got married:

It was a magical night that we'll remember forever...At first, the wet, rainy weather was causing us to fret, but I kept calling the rink and asking how the ice was looking. Your staff Corey was encouraging, so we drove out to see if anyone would show up. To our surprise, everyone decided they'd better check to see if the game was still on.

And the rain dissipated as soon as we started playing! Everyone had a blast and those who'd never played hockey before told us they were addicted by the end. (The out-of-towners now think it's a Canadian tradition to play outdoor shinny the night before your wedding!)

Jan.24 2007

High minus 2 celsius, low minus 10. Sun and cloud with a few heavy snow flurries that made it hard to find the puck. The flying squad zamboni ate a puck at Campbell Rink, so the ice maintenance staff were scrambling to borrow zambonis from other rinks, including Dufferin, to clean off the ice.

Lots of youth/adult hockey players out, pleasure skaters too, despite the cold in the evening.

Jan.25 2007

High minus 12, low minus 18. Cold enough that the ice was good but not many people came out to skate. However the rink was busy because the farmers' market was on. Around 4 pm a mother and her two little daughters came in and sat down on the bench across from the zamboni cafe, very upset. It emerged that a car turning in to park for the market had bumped them as it came through the left turn. The driver was very upset too, and he called 911 right away from his cell.

It was hard to tell whether the little girls were hurt because there was quite a commotion and they seemed terrified with that too. Their mother had limited English, but a Spanish-speaking market customer turned up to translate. As soon as the fire department, police, and ambulance arrived, they set up their stretcher in the entryway and for a short time would not allow the skaters to come back into the rink door from outside. Since the paramedics weren't using their stretcher, it was suggested that they move it outside so that the market could proceed, but they were unwilling, in case their equipment was stolen.

Rink staff were able to persuade the emergency crew to at least allow the freezing skaters to get into the rink doors and squeeze around the stretcher so they could warm up. Eventually they took the two girls to hospital with their father, and a rink volunteer drove the mother home with her groceries, and then to the hospital as well.

Jan.26 2007

High minus 5, low minus 18. Snow started in late afternoon and since the flying squad zamboni is in the shop, and the zamboni trailer is in a mess, the Dufferin Rink zamboni was needed elsewhere and none of the rinks were in good shape. Dufferin rink recreation staff worked with rink users to hand-shovel the whole rink, and then the same staff went up to both Wallace and Campbell Rinks to hand-shovel there. That meant that all three rinks stayed in operation, through the efforts of the recreation workers rather than the ice-maintenance workers, who don't shovel snow off by hand. They used to, for many years -- Local 416 workers are also referred to as "outside workers," -- but now, if there's no motorized snow-clearance vehicle available, the Local 416 workers regard themselves as having no tools. They either go back to their office or they go home early.

A piece of good news -- rink staff followed up with the mother of the two little girls who had been bumped by the car on the road outside the rink, the day before. The mother reported that the little girls were totally fine, and happy again.

Staff offered the mother free skating lessons for her twin girls at the rink, and she signed up her daughters to begin next week.

Jan.27 2007

Slight amounts of "freezing drizzle" much of the day, but not unpleasant. High minus 1 celsius, low minus 5. Rink not busy, ice fine.

At 11 p.m.m shinny players were reluctant to get off the ice on the hockey side. It took them 20 minutes to leave, forcing the gate-closing staff to wait for them while they smoked, joked, changed very slowly, and acted oblivious of the convenience of the staff. This kind of behavior is happily rare -- follow-up will be interesting.

Jan.28 2007

High minus 2 celsius, low minus 13. Cloud all day with almost constant drifting down of light snow, not even that much accumulation. The colder version of the drizzle the day before.

The snow wasn't so good for shinny hockey, but pleasure-skating families liked it very much -- all the rinks had lots of people on them. Sunday skating on a pretty winter day with light snowflakes, and even the smallest hill nearby had kids sliding and tobogganing.

Jan.29 2007

High minus 5, low minus 16

From energy retrofit project manager Al Gaanderse to Jutta Mason:

I met with the staff of Dufferin, yesterday morning, and gave a brief explanation of the work to be done, as well as introduce the contractor. Insymtec will begin work on the automation next Monday, February 5th, and hope to be completed within 2 weeks. I have arranged access for the contractor, as they like to begin early in the morning.(6:30-7:00am). The contractor has been made aware of the farmerís market which is held weekly, and asked that they not be a hindrance during this time. Since the vendors apparently donít begin showing up until approximately 1:00pm, there should not be any concern.

Once the system is up and operational, I will be happy to come by and explain how the system works.

Jan.30 2007

High minus 5 celsius, low minus 12. Cloudy, with more light snow flurries -- which seem to be the norm these days. Ice is very good -- not more than 2 inches thick by now.

Jan.31 2007

before the ban -- waiting for hot chocolate

High minus 5 celsius, low minus 13. Cloudy with sunny breaks. A group of 25 kids from a community housing project came with their bags of hot dogs and marshmallows, ready to rent $2 skates and have a campfire. But Peter Leiss, the Parks supervisor, has just cancelled all park campfires because of "inadequate protocol." Thirteen years of campfires at the park with no problem, no injury, and suddenly they're stopped! From the very beginning there was an agreement about the park fire permit with Toronto Fire, but the new Parks management doesnít recognize that agreement. They back up their safety concerns with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, legislation directed at workers but now broadened to apply to almost every situation. Hard to know how this will end.

Meantime, the rink staff tried to ease the kids' disappointment that they weren't allowed to toast their marshmallows at a cooking fire. The hot dogs were cooked in water in the rink house kitchen, and every kid got a free park-baked cookie -- so far the fire ban doesn't extend to the wood-fired park bake ovens.

Feb.1 2007

High minus 2 celsius, low minus 8. Some skaters said there are pretty big gouges in the ice. Rec staff were going around happening nails back into the hockey boards, because there were some ripped shirts. There are so many ways to get scraped during shinny hockey!

Feb.2 2007

High minus 2, low minus 11. A reporter from the Globe named Megan O'Toole called to say that they want to run a little story about the rink diaries next weekend. Good heavens. Who knew that anyone reads these rink diaries? A look on Google showed 413,000 entries with the words "rink" and "diaries" in them, but only two with the two words linked together -- from here. So we're on first. Available to anyone the world over who wants to know what the weather was in Toronto on any given winter day. This diary did start out as a weather journal for outdoor ice rinks, to provide evidence that compressor-cooled outdoor ice rinks work just fine in global warming, and their gates should be locked less than they are.

The reporter asked if this rink has more violence than other rinks. No! It's just that at Dufferin Rink the staff challenge the kids to behave better, and that makes lots of confrontations. But lately there have been very few, because the battles have been fought enough that the kids are bored of them and they act better. They've settled in, like they do every year. They say "at this rink we don't act stupid." It's not perfect but it's impressive and loveable, after all that struggle.

Feb.3 2007

High of minus 7 celsius, low min us 14. The cold snap is starting but the rink was full anyway. maybe lots of people want to have their last skate before it gets too cold to move.

Feb.4 2007

a game of chess in a warm rink clubhouse

High minus 13 celsius, low minus 16. Extremely cold day -- very few people out to skate. Even so, it was a friendly scene inside the rink clubhouse. A birthday party bolstered the numbers. They were invited inside because it was so cold that they wouldn't crowd anyone.

The evening youth permit had only eight players, but they took their whole hour and a half in the minus 16 cold -- energy.

Feb.5 2007

High minus 10, low minus 16. Another very cold day, blowing snow, school visit cancelled, just a few super-tough hockey players on the rink, trying to follow the puck through the snow.

Feb. 6 2007

High minus 10 celsius, low minus 15. Women's open shinny - quite a few come out to play despite the cold, and add to their teams local kids that hang around waiting for the chance to be invited onto the permitted hockey side. One player says that this weather is the winter that she knows to expect (as she laces up).

Staff from Dufferin Rink go to visit Giovanni Caboto Rink (west of Landsdowne, on St. Clair) and are told that the kids there don't normally like to go to Dufferin Rink because the games are just too fast paced. It is likely because of the over crowding at the beginning of the season and on warmer winter days. Too many people wanting to stick handle other players and not enough people passing the puck (even though often there are 3-5 pucks on the ice). So, if a kid wants to learn how to play shinny, they usually come up to Giovanni Caboto Rink or Campbell Rink where it's quieter. Wallace Rink, even, is getting a little too popular too, they say.

Feb.7 2007

High minus 8 celsius, low minus 16. At 10.50 pm it was minus 9 but the hockey rink had a big game going on -- it turned out to be the "learn-to-play-shinny" group, 15 men and women, all of them smiling. How can following a little black disk around make people so happy? Dan Watson, the shinny teacher, told me that they're getting 20 people out most Wednesdays now. At first they wanted drills but now they mainly just want to play, and play.

Feb.8 2007

High minus 4 celsius, low minus 10.

Feb.9 2007

High minus 3 celsius, low minus 15. The sun was out in the afternoon and the ice got a bit soft along the boards. By evening it was perfect again. Lots of families were out with their kids, to have supper and skate around.

Rink baker Anna Bekerman baked very unusual cheesecakes for the Friday night dessert offered at the zamboni cafe. Using a glaze with different colours of blueberry and grape, Anna duplicated the pattern of the pie charts shown in the Rink Report that CELOS sent to the city councillors. The cheesecakes showed how little public skating there is at most Toronto rinks. Sad pie charts, delicious cheesecake.

Feb.10 2007

High minus 4 celsius, low minus 10. Rink very busy all day but not unpleasant. The campfire was allowed just for the weekend, under the old rules. So there was a pot of hot chocolate on the fire all day until 7.30, and people were able to sit by the fire. Less crush inside the rink house.

Late-evening census: At 8.35 there were 15 shinny players, 6 pleasure skaters, and 17 people inside, eating soup and hot dogs and warming up. At 9.50 there was a permit on the shinny side -- four adults and 14 little kids, all of them looking very pleased to have their own late-night permit (and some very good players). There were 12 adults on the pond hockey side.

Feb.11 2007

Mostly cloudy, high minus 5, low minus 11. There's a big Tibetan group who come on the weekends now. There were fifteen today, all in their mid-teens, only one with skates of his own. The rest of them rent skates. The boys were unhappy that on Sundays they can't play shinny hockey -- they love that. None of them could skate at the beginning of the season, but now nobody needs a chair, although some are still a bit wobbly. That doesn't stop them from going very fast on the ice -- no fear. These kids are a bit of a menace to other skaters at times, but so enthusiastic that it's hard to get mad at them.

Feb.12 2007

Cloud and sun, high minus 5, low minus 15. The "Dufferin Groove" musicians' shinny permit straggled out late at night after their permit, in a cutting wind. They said they hadn't been cold while they were playing: "as soon as you start skating around, you don't feel the cold any more." But even standing there talking, everyone cinched their coats a little tighter. The stars were clear in the sky above the rink, though. This is real winter hockey like in the early days on the pond.

Feb.13 2007

High minus 13 celsius, low minus 17. But the low temperature persisted all day until late afternoon. Despite the cold, there was a bare spot on the hockey rink, near the net, down to cement. The staff poured water on the area and it froze, but not as fast or as solidly as you'd expect.

There might have been a dozen people at the rink all day. In early evening the snow started and by 6.30 it was obvious that nobody could skate. No need to close the rink -- people went home on their own.

Some hours in the afternoon were spent straightening out a tangle involving stolen hockey sticks and a cell phone. Some of the kids have figures out how to get a stick that's being stored behind the door in the zamboni cafe. They look in the crack of the door and figure out what the stick looks like, then talk to the staff and describe it exactly. The trick worked once, with Sarah (rink staff). She said it made her feel very strange, that she was being played for a sucker by these kids, and that they obviously put effort into learning how to do that. One of the kids offered to volunteer in the snack bar, then took a cell phone.

The tricks are not that smart, and it was easy to figure out which kid took a stick, and call his house and get it back. It was harder to settle on the number of community hours the staff would require of the kid, before he'd be allowed to skate at the rink again. Ten hours seemed to be the magic number. The kid skipped school to start working off his hours, but he got impatient and quit partway through.

Feb.14 2007

High minus 10 celsius, low minus 16.

Letter from rink staff Mayssan Shuja to rink maintenance supervisors Scott Attwood and Brian Green

To have almost the entire Toronto East York District rinks clear of snow and many scraped in less than a day is fabulous. (Only one in the east and one in the west were closed)

Thank you, on behalf of the staff running the Rink Information Hotline and the community that were grateful to hear that they could skate today. p.s., Kelly Mcinnes has just pushed up the Rink Info Hotline number 416-392-0913 to be the first thing you hear when entering the south region of the City of Toronto on 338-RINK. Rink Hotline Staff will be getting the password to change this message on the city number on a daily basis now - so here's to continued good communication between Rinks and Recreation.

rink cleared by 2pm

snow by bake oven

Feb.15 2007

High minus 9 celsius, low minus 21. At 8 a.m. the temperature was minus 20 celsius. People may be getting used to it. There were skaters and shinny players even in the morning, when it was so cold. By the afternoon, tobogganers had appeared in the park. A family visiting from England came and rented skates after tobogganing, and stayed for a long time. They wanted the whole winter experience, maybe. The market was on, so there were no benches in the rink house. The only spots left for changing skates were in the washrooms, which are big enough and have some places to sit. This family and their Canadian friends cheerfully changed their skates in there.

Feb.16 2007

buried in snow up to the waist

High minus 5 celsius, low minus 11. A beautiful, sunny day, not too cold, piles of snow all around. Kids are tobogganing, and building snow structures (or burying each other up to the waist in snow beside the rink). The ice was excellent and the kids were off school but the rink was not very busy. The usual February signs of winter-fatigue are setting in!

Feb.17 2007

High minus 5 celsius, low minus 11. Ice is bumpy, because the zamboni was taken to another rink, traded for a zamboni with a bad blade.

Feb.18 2007

High minus 8 celsius, low minus 18. This very cold dry weather has its own problems when it comes to ice making. The corners have developed deep gouges and shinny players limp off the ice after they get their skate caught. Lots of complaints of falls, twisted knees, etc. Ice maintenance at the outdoor rinks still depends hugely on the weather, rather than the art of the ice maintenance crew. The rink needs a slow scrape and a long flood, but it's hard to know when that will happen. Maybe if nature steps in now and brings us some rain.


High 0, low minus 16. The day started out very cold and got warmer and warmer. The forecast is for some rain tomorrow.


High 4 celsius. Low minus 4. At 10.10 there were 9 women playing shinny hockey and six men on the pond side.

At 10.45 there were three men playing shinny hockey, and the women were just leaving. They reported that the ice was good -- but the corners are low and need work (where the zamboni can't reach).

Cloudy all day but no rain at all.


High 3 celsius, low minus 6. Bright sunshine all day. By mid-afternoon, the ice was quite slushy. However the rink stayed open, with pylons in the centre where there was more dirt. Leaves are showing through from the bginning of the season. They were embedded in the ice and also the concrete was so dirty when ice-making began, that now when the sun comes out, those sections begin to melt first.

At 9 pm the zamboni driver said it would be betetr if no one was allowed to play hockey so that the ice could recover. Howvere it was women's shinny hockey and beginners' shinny hockey after that, plus the pond side was full of people wanting to play. So the zamboni driver was persuaded to let them on. It turned out that the ice held up very well.

Feb.22 2007

High 4 celsius, low minus 7. Market day. In the morning there was three hours of heavy, wet snow, which closed all the rinks. Dufferin Rink was cleaned continuously by a very nice zamboni driver named Ron, who comes only on Thursdays. He's from Newdfoundland but now a lot of his family lives near Toronto. While he was hosing the heavy snow out of the zamboni's augur, he said he has five grandkids, "and it's funny how sometimes it seems you love your grandkids even more than your kids."

Ron got both rink pads all cleaned up by one pm -- working from 6.30 am. The ice is in very good shape except rough against the boards where the sun gets reflected on to the ice. Apparently in the 80s, the board were painted light green to be less reflective.

Feb.23 2007

High minus 6 celsius, low minus 11. The rink was busy a lot of the day because of school classes and adult shift workers or computer workers or on-break film workers playing shinny hockey. The teachers like to bring the classes because the kids can borrow skates (the rink doesn't charge schools) and there's a huge bin of helmets too. There was a birthday party involving another whole class -- the mother said this is the sixth year her son's party has been at the rink and around a campfire. Despite the cold even Friday Night Supper was pretty full.

Feb.24 2007

Heather O'Meara

the Councillor drops the puck

High minus 3, low minus 12. Slow in the morning, although a brilliantly sunny day. Then at 1.30, Jimmie Simpson Rink kids (and some parents) came to visit -- the kids who are part of the "Hockey in the Neighbourhood" program. The head of the advisory council, Heather O'Meara, had made most of the arrangements, together with the "Hockey in the Neighbourhood" coaches and Parks & Rec staff (who had to produce the permission slips and phone all the parents registered to make sure no one turned up at the usual time and was disappointed). Councillor Paula Fletcher had planned to come over too (Jimmie Simpson Rink is in her ward), but she had to cancel. However her assistant Pat Chastang came, and so did Councillor Adam Giambrone, who dropped the puck to start the games. Brian Green, ice maintenance supervisor for all west outdoor rinks, came too, and so did zamboni driver Dexter (one of the city's best).

drills line-up

let the games begin

crowded bench

fast shinny hockey

The kids did drills with their coaches and then they played shinny hockey. Even though the benches were full, there were a lot of kids on the ice as well. Then afterwards the kids ate pizza and drank hot chocolate and had a birthday celebration for one of the Jimmie Simpson kids -- the mother brought cupcakes for everyone!

in the rink house....


In the evening at 8 pm, the couriers and other bike daredevils came to have their annual bike race on ice. This event used to be held on Toronto Island in the interior river channels. In the past decade the ice has been unreliable, and about five years ago the race was relocated to Dufferin Rink. This year there were a lot of spectators, who cheered and clapped even for the heats. There was even a flasher, who rode one whole circuit wearing nothing but shoes and a mask. (It was pretty cold.)

fast and....


Feb.25 2007

High minus 1, low minus 8. Cloudy all day so the ice was fine. In the evening it began to snow so the rink closed early.


Snow all day. High minus 1 celsius, low minus 4. The zamboin drivers just kept on clearing and as a result, quite a few rinks were open by evening -- and Dufferin Rink never really closed.

Feb.27 2007

High 0 celsius, low minus 4. Cloudy all day so ice was fine.

Feb.28 2007

High plus 1 celsius, low minus 7. Bright sunshine. Because of the sun, the rink was closed from noon to 5.30. When it reopened for skating lessons and 12-and-under shinny hockey, it was fine except along the south-facing boards, and overtop the leaves that got frozen into the ice when the rink was first opened. Lots of skaters, shinny hockey players, all evening.

March 1 2007

High plus 2, low minus 1. Snow began around 2 pm and was so heavy that the rinks closed within an hour. By 5 pm there were three feet of snow in some places on the rink. Around 9 pm that changed to rain.

March 2 2007

Thursday snow-skating lessons

High plus 3. low minus 1. Dufferin Rink was cleared for skating by one pm, with a plow and two zambonis working. It still took until late in the day for the ice to be really skateable again.

March 3 2007

High celsius, low minus 3. The rink had a lot of skaters and the ice was quite good. Roman, the zamboni foreman, said that the weather could not have been a worse combination for ice maintenance -- first a big amount of snow and then rain, to make a giant mushy mess. It took them so long to even begin clearing that stuff off, and it was so packed down by the plow, that the zambonis had to go over it for hours. But every cloud has a silver lining. Today the ice is about one inch thicker than two days ago. That's how much extra moisture was available to the compressors, to freeze up!

Manna from heaven, because the scarcity of rain this season made the ice thin everywhere -- less than two inches. That doesn't leave enough of a safety cushion for sunny days, when the March sun can lick away at that ice, and concrete starts to show through the thin layer that's left. But with this extra ice left over as a gift from the storm, the rink has a chance throughout the next few weeks of March opening.

March 4 2007

High minus 2 celsius. Low minus 4. "Puppets on Ice" day, with a DJ and a campfire. Clay and Paper Theatre had got together a group of artistic people to make new puppets for the occasion, including a TTC puppet streetcar that said "Dufferin Grove" on the front and "Clay and Paper" on the side. City Councillor Adam Giambrone came down with his skates. He put on the puppet and skated around with various ships, dragons, flowery houses, and odd animals, some made by the kids themselves. Ted Carlisle and Ben Rothberg were the DJs. What a difference a DJ makes! So much better than canned music.

A large group of Tibetan teenagers came and made trouble again, and got kicked out again. If they didn't come all together -- by the dozen! -- they'd have a better time and maybe not be so wild. Other than that, all the rink stories were nice ones. The wind was cold but the campfire was warm and even there, people were dancing, the music was so infectious.

The zamboni cafe cooks made special chocolate cake and Dyan Marie (from the new group B.I.G. on Bloor) came and had a piece of it, as did the councillor, while they planned out a special TTC day pass just for the BIG on Bloor festival next summer.

DJ Ted (with plaid scarf) and friends

Puppet director David Anderson, Councillor, and Dyan Marie

a little house with flowers


old rink friends

on TV

dragon boy

TTC driver

TTC Commissioner

March 5 2007

High minus 4. Low minus 20. Cold and windy. Ice very good.

March 6 2007

Hi minus 12, low minus 22. This morning it was minus 22. But there was not much wind, and even though it was stil only minus 18 by 2 pm, there were shinny hockey players all day long. The compressor was still running at times -- ??

March 7 2007

High minus 6 celsius, low minus 15. Sunny in the morning so the rink was closed at noon, and a sign was posted, "closed from 12 to 4." (The nets were sinking into the ice.) But the clouds moved in by 2 and the rink opened again, and stayed open with good ice the rest of the day.

Around suppertime there was aloud rattle from the condenser, and Dexter came over and turned off the compressors.

March 8 2007

High minus 3 celsius, low minus 10. The condenser was fizxed and the compressors were back on by the time the staff came in at nine a.m. There was so much sun today that the rink was closed from 1.30 p.m. to 5 p.m., when the nets started to sink. Around three a woman came to skate, and she was very angry when she heard the rink was closed. She told the staff "you're playing God with the weather," and said they were only closing the rink so they could pay more attention to the snack bar. She persuaded the zamboni driver to argue her case, and the whole conflict escalated. The staff let her skate all alone in the middle, with the warning that the rink is unsupervised and that ice conditions were bad. She skated and then left.

In the early evening the ice was fine again. Lots of skaters -- everyone knows it's just a matter of days now, since the forecast is for lots of sun and warmer temperatures -- an impossible combination for outdoor ice in March.

March 9 2007

Hig zero celsius, low minus 6. Sunny all day, so the rink was closed from noon to 5. Then the ice firmed up pretty well, except along the sides, and lots of people came to skate from 6 p.m. on. Councillor Joe Mihevc (head of City Council's Community Development and Recreation Committee) was going to try again to come for a visit, but again he had to cancel, because of meeting delays at Budget Committee.

March 10 2007

High 5 celsius, low minus 2. It rained overnight and it was 5 celsius by morning but the ice is fine since it's still cloudy. So the last skating class was able to "graduate," with loot bags and little progress reports written on yellow stars. There are skaters out, but it's less busy than on a usual Saturday because so many people still assume that rain means a big puddle. By the afternoon, the ice was still solid but there was some back-flow into the pleasure-skating rink from the melting snow outside the rink. Rink staff tried to find the drain holes with the ice choppers, buyt they're covered and nobody can remember where to dig.

March 11 2007

A high of only plus 5, but a beautiful day with bright sunshine. Low minus 2. The rink stayed open until 2 (really 1 pm, but the time changed last night) and by then it was so mushy that the staff closed it. Same for the other city rinks, except City Hall, because of their secret weapon -- the long shadow cast by the Sheraton Hotel.

March 12 2007

Hi9gh 7, low minus one. Cloudy all day, so the rink was just fine despite the temperatures. Not crowded, but kids did come.

March 13 2007

High 15, low 3. The forecast said sun so it seemed likely the rink would be closed all day, but it wasn't, because the fog/ clouds didn't really leave until 2 pm and by then the warm weather had already melted a thin, protective coating of water all over the ice surface. If there's water on the surface, the ice doesn't get slushy and so by 7.45 when the zamboni driver came and sluiced off that water with his zamboni, the ice was fine all over, even against the boards. Makes you wonder if on sunny cool days we ought to hose the ice to put a layer of water on it. Any of those special measures would only be necessary in March when the sun is this strong.

The older guys stay away on days like today because they've gone on a wild goose chase in other years, coming to the rink on a cold sunny day in March and finding it not skateable. But the younger kids, the 10 to 14 year olds, have no memory, only the blind desire to play hockey. So tonight they hit pay dirt. They got to stay on the ice all evening, about twenty of them, playing without rest. They'll all have a good sleep tonight. No injuries, and not a helmet among them.

March 14 2007

14 celsius: watery but good ice underneath

High 14, low 2. No sun today, but so warm that the rink again developed a layer of water. So again it stayed solid and people were able to skate most of the day. The younger rink rats were out there even when the water was plentiful, splashing around. They got so wet that when they came in they took off their pants and their overshirts and sat in front of the woodstove in their long johns and t-shirts. The staff wrung out the wet clothes and put them in the dryer. The grown-ups in the rink smiled at them, and called them the dryer-boys. When the clothes were dry, the rink rats put them back on and went back out on the ice again, after the zamboni had taken off the water.

Every day now is the last day for one of the permits, so there are a lot of "goodbye, we'll see you next year!" moments. One of the women's hockey groups said tonight that they haven't missed a single game due to weather in the whole season -- a first for them (they've had this permit for a least ten years).

March 15 2007

High 4 celsius, low minus 4. Cloudy so nothing melted. Market day, which made it busy, but skating attendance was not heavy.

March 16 2007

High minus 2 celsius, low minus 6. Cloudy. Ice was very good but attendance was light. Snow began in the early evening. The nine o'clock permit got a scrape from the zamboni at the beginning, then they re-shoveled their ice with the green ice shovels halfway through, so that they could find the puck. Ted Carlisle, the DJ rec staff, wants to have one more mini-DJ-on-ice day on Sunday, but it's doubtful -- the forecast is for sunny and plus 2 -- that won't work for the March ice although it would have been perfect in November. So everyone is watching to see if the forecast changes.

March 17 2007

fun to skate but mushy along the side

hockey despite the March sun

High 0, low minus 6. Sunny for part of the day but the ice held up fine except at the edges. Amazing how much better the ice holds up this year from last. Last year is was 7 inches thick, this year it's two inches thick. So the compressors can keep the ice frozen, except along the boards. And the anxiety that having the ice this thin would mean when the sun comes out, the ice would go to cement -- didn't happen.

March 18 2007

High 2, low minus 7. The sun was broken up with clouds from time to time, so it held up well enough that Ted Carlisle could do one more small DJ on ice time. Not a huge number of people were out (the event had beeen unadvertised), but the ones who were there seemed to have a really good time. All the permits came in the evening and -- except for the ice along the south-facing boards -- they said there were no problems with the ice. Both sides were full of hockey after nine, and the staff put the cookies outside with a sign: "last day of rink season."

March 19 2007

High 2 celsius, low minus 6. The compressors were turned off early in the morning but it was cloudy all day so the ice was fine. It snowed a bit in the morning, but stopped before noon. Five guys came and cleared the snow off most of the rink with the shovels and played hockey for a few hours. In the evening, Bruce brought four of the rink rats and they played.

skating on the pond, no compressors

March 20 2007

High of zero today with a lot of sun. This evening it went to minus 6, and the ice was mostly skateable. The part that was still covered with a thin layer of snow from yesterday was the best, after it was shovelled off tonight. The part that had been cleared off showed more damage, also the humps that erupt from the ice when the compressors are turned off. The parts next the boards are very soft and beginning to recede from the edges.

When the rink lights were turned on tonight, two girls came with their dad and asked if there were allowed to play. "Sure, why not?" So they played hockey for an hour, and then three pleasure skaters came and skated around the hockey side, since it had better ice. They were excited, to steal the last few bits of skating even though the compressors are off.

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