See also Site Map
High 1, low -5.
A phone call to find out if the rink was open got a staff person in the adjoining community centre. He said that the rink was not open because of the weather. It would be opening on Monday Dec.7.
At 12.30 the temperature was - 6. It was a sunny day, and the Christmas holidays were on, but surprisingly, there were no skaters on the ice. In fact, the rink looked locked. But when I tugged at the bars of the door, I found that the padlock was only locked to itself. However there was no sign suggesting an open rink -- or ANY rink -- until I peered sideways through the bars, where there was a big metal sign giving the rink hours (and not advertising any unallocated open time). When I went into the enclosure, the hockey nets were off the ice. The gate to the actual rink was also closed but unlocked. There was no one in the rink office.
The ice had a few skate marking on it, but was otherwise immaculate. The changerooms were unlocked and also very clean.
Checking the community centre right beside the rink, I saw no signs posted outside giving rink information.
Inside there was no one in the office, but the caretaker/zamboni driver approached me in the hallway. He said yes, the rink was indeed open, and gave me a community centre schedule. We went outside toward the rink and discussed various ice-making stratagems for next year's rink season.
A very confused-looking older man came up to us, saying -- is there a rink here? When he found out that the rink exists and was open, he asked where the entrance was (which is far from obvious). The zamboni driver gestured in the direction of the padlock. The man went to the Glen Long parking lot and brought two kids and a woman over, and they slowly went inside the barred enclosure.
There is no hint of a rink from the parking lot, no sign, no banner, nothing. And the schedule, when I looked at it later, makes no mention of the open skating hours on weekdays in the daytime (before 3).
The 311 line says that all rinks will be unlocked but at 3 pm this rink is locked. The ice looks wet but skateable.
12.30: 7 hockey players, here for a permit. The changerooms are locked.
At 2:45pm there were 12 shinny hockey players (12-and-under game, no rink staff visible) 9 of them with helmets (that is, 8 of the kids, one of the adults); 5 pleasure-skaters lacing up in the changeroom (the "men's washroom" open, the "women's washroom" has mats to it, but was locked).
At 6.15pm, for 12-and-under shinny hockey: 14 people, 2 of them adults with no helmets. The holiday schedule was available inside the rink office to look at, in the rink coordinator book. There was one rink guard inside, one outside, one zamboni driver inside and one other staff (maybe a coordinator) inside, with a big TV. The inside rink guard said to make sure to follow rules of neck guards and helmets. Despite that she and the outdoor rink guard and all the rink patrons had no neck guards.
The rink schedule sign - clarification from Glen Long staff:
Click on picture to enlarge it.
The reason the big sign outside Glen Long doesn't list open hours during the weekdays is because the time is allocated for school permits. Some days there are no day permits and some days there is. The sign does say that priority is for permit groups and scheduled activities (which addresses that if none of those are happening, then the public is welcome to use the ice). Note: our holiday schedule that is currently out at the moment (it's on the city's website as well) does list extra hours during the holidays to compensate the fact that no school permits will be taking place.
At 4.10 pm there were 19 pleasure-skaters, as well as 4 little kids with an adult playing shinny hockey in a coned-off area. No staff around the rink area.
At 4.30 pm the rink is unlocked, with no skaters. Buildings are locked.
At 12.30 the rink is unlocked (the door is fastened so that it stays open). The ice looks fresh, but despite the holiday and the crowds at other city rinks, there are no skaters, no staff, and no hockey nets. The rink changerooms are locked, and so is the office.
At 2:20 pm there was no one on the rink. The girls' changeroom was unlocked. There was a rink guard in the office, who came out to ask if he could help with something. But at that moment the rink visitor didn't have time to stop and talk.
The ice looked fresh, as though it had just been resurfaced.
7:15pm: zamboni doing maintenance, changerooms locked. A friend of operator answered my knock on office door, said there were permits tonight, no skating. Some women started to arrive, I asked if it was their permit, and they said yes, their team that's part of True North. True North teams seem to often play at Rinx, just up the street.
8 pm: Our new rink visitor said she had never seen such a beautiful clean sheet of ice. There was no one on the rink but one person was heading toward it. Several staff in the office.
At 7.15 (the age-13-to-19 shinny hockey time) there were 12 shinny players, all with helmets, and two rink guards. The rink guards went inside the office, where there is a giant TV screen, showing a game of some kind. A few minutes later, four of the shinny players left. The remaining 8 stayed on the ice after the official finish, i.e. 7.30. That's a time set aside for permits but there wasn't one, so they could stay on.
At 8.10, there were 4 shinny players, all wearing helmets. No rink guards, but the zamboni driver was in the office.
Comparison: at 8.20 at Wallace Rink, 10 minutes south on Dufferin Street, there were 21 shinny hockey players chasing a few pucks around the ice; plus 7 more at the side. There were 14 pleasure-skaters on the other pad, plus 3 more at the side. Inside, there were 11 women and men changing into their skates, for the adult beginner shinny program, and another 4-5 kids snacking on mini-pizzas before going home.
A double-pad rink will always have more skaters. But here the difference is pretty extreme.
The men's changeroom was open but the women's changeroom was locked. However, the program staff had promised to put up a big banner, made last year, on the fence facing the parking lot. And there it was. It reads:
TORONTO OUTDOOR SKATING AND SHINNY HOCKEY HERE!
7 DAYS A WEEK WEATHER PERMITTING
SCHEDULE IS POSTED OR CALL 416 338-RINK
Afterwards at Dufferin Rink, which was also pretty busy tonight, a young guy was trying to persuade his friend to go up to Glen Long Rink on their regular permit night (Wednesdays). The friend was interested, but the conversation ended when he said, ''"no. I feel at home here. I couldn't go up there."
The friend is a fantastic hockey player. Even so, hospitality and a sense of social space, absent at Glen Long (except the for the staff's cozy clubhouse), matter to him. Or that's my guess.
- Attached is the schedule of regular permits I received from the permitting office. I have noted in coloured cells what is what. - The daytime school bookings vary each week so it's hard to predict accurately - No leagues (once or twice a year practices maybe but it's minimal) - True North does some practices but they don't operate a regular league there (once or twice in a year) - The revenue you listed is based on total revenues after weather cancellation etc and the time for leisure skate has been available the last few years but the difference for this year is we publicized and separated the different activities (shinny from public skate).
At 8:30pm staff office had cozy lighting. There were 8 people with a permit there, looks like a family time. All had helmets. Both change rooms were unlocked.
Grad student Jason Stabler went to the nearest public library to find out what kind of publicity material about the rink might be posted there. He wrote:
No wonder the rink is empty so often. This student is going to look at a few other community gathering places, and he's made a list of schools to contact as well.
Number sample at 7pm: 5 hockey players leaving the ice, 2 youth came to skate and were able to do that for 15 minutes before they were told that ice had to be maintained and that a permit would be coming at 7. Youth hung around to see if the permit would indeed come - they did (seemed like a birthday part with balloons) 10 parents and kids were arriving, more to follow probably.
Two staff in the office, changerooms are open.
Number sample 5 on ice all with helmets.
Numbers sample at 1.30 pm: One skater.
Number sample 7pm: -- this is one of the times available for one-off permits: 2 shinny hockey players (no helmets). They said they'd been there since 5pm, and there were two other guys at some point, but they left awhile ago. The women's changeroom was open, men's was locked. Two staff were in the office, but with blinds drawn. Nice ice.
So where are all the other skaters? One place is up the road about 6 blocks, near the Yorkdale Shopping Mall. It's called Rinx. It has two ice rinks and a ball hockey rink and a bumper car room and a bar, and arcade-style racing and shooting games. The parking lot outside is packed. On the walls there are folk-art murals of muscular guys with their arms draped around blonde and brunette gals in tight outfits. There are lots of people going in and out, pulling big hockey bags.
Outside the front door, as I leave, there's a van just pulling away. Large lettering on the side: "Hemp on Wheels" with a marijuana plant pictures. In smaller letters: "we're rollin'" -- ??
Number sample 2:30pm: no one on the rink. Only the men's change room was unlocked, but the rink was open, there was perfect ice, and a zamboni driver was in the office.
Number sample 8pm: There is a white block in this time (7:30 is maintenance and then 9pm is permit). When we went we found that the womens' change room was unlocked, the mens was locked but with a key in the door. There were 2 kids on the ice with pylons that they were skating through playing shinny.
Two fathers outside said that they booked the ice but that not many kids showed up. The zamboni driver gave us a new schedule with info. different to the one online and the information that at Kim Hussey sent over.
Number sample 1pm : 7 shinny hockey (3 adult helmets).
Number sample 8:15pm: No one there, girls' changeroom open
zamboni starting to scrape the ice - puddles that are freezing, obviously hasn't been done all day looks like.
One of the two entry gates was open, there was a sign on it that said "close" with a picture of a skate with a line through it (like "no smoking" only "no skating")
From rink user J.S.:
Number sample, 2pm 2 hockey Players both with helmets.
Number samples, 4:30pm: 19 pleasure-skaters (7 with helmets)
Both changerooms were open, there was a rink guard and parks staff outside. I asked the rink guard if they were open tonight, he said "yes, until 10pm". Then the zamboni driver said "No, we're leaving at 5pm and the building will be locked then, and the lights will be off" I asked what he meant about the lights and he said that the big rink floodlights would not be on.
6:30pm 10 skaters (2 with helmets)
The zamboni staff was right, the big rink floodlights were not on, and it was dark! The only lights on were three little morality lights low down on the sides of the buildings that gave everthing a blueish glow, and one lone street lamp in the alleyway that boarders the rink. The nearest third of the rink was lit eerily by the one street lamp, and beyond that the ice was dark. At first I didn't even see the little family of three that were in the hockey boxes, there young son batting a puck around on his own. A mom and her three daughters left the rink pad and headed toward the changeroom - "why are our shoes outside?" I heard them say. Turns out the rink staff had locked the building without letting them know, and stuck their shoes on the mat outside. As I was leaving another mother and her two boys arrived. "Why isn't it open, the sign says it's supposed to be open? Where are the lights?" As I left they decided they may as well stay for half an hour, since they had gotten everything together to come in the first place.