At five pm there were two guys flooding the rink with hoses. They looked younger than the usual rink operators. There were no signs up anywhere on the rink nor on the next-door community centre, advertising the rink opening. One of the flood staff came over to where I was standing against the fence. He looked friendly, and seemed to think they were making ice pretty well. I said, "a few posters about the opening would help," and he grinned and shrugged and said, "don't ask for too much."
Copy of letter to 311, November 28, 2010:
The city's web link may be wrong about a few outdoor rinks, e.g. Glen Long. That outdoor rink was being flooded on Friday at 5 pm, but a rink user came to Dufferin Rink this morning (Sunday) and said Glen Long was not open. On the phone, the Glen Long staff said it's too warm (temperature: 1 C). The 311 person at 5.15 pm today said that Glen Long Rink is not opening until Dec.4 -- it turns out she was reading the leisure skating schedule, which contradicts the city's "outdoor rinks" list. When I asked about the discrepancy, the 311 person said I ought to look at the asterisk beside "opening date." I did. It says "Seasonal open and close dates are weather permitting." She sounded as though she might think I was a bit dense, even though I told her that many other rinks are open. Ones I saw with my own eyes: Regent South, Rennie, City Hall, Irving Chapley. And of course, Harbourfront, now in its second week.
Voice mail response from Darryl Starkman NY rec supervisor 416 392-0256, Monday Nov.28
You’re right, we should have been open on the Saturday, however we did get open on Sunday without a glitch, everything was great until the late afternoon about four pm at which time we had to close early due to the soft spots due to the sun shining down. At this point there is signage at all of our rinks.
Wednesday Dec.1 2010
One of the hockey players at crowded Dufferin Rink said he was there because Glen Long, where he and his buddies play on Wednesdays, was closed.
Monday Dec.6 2010
5pm, City's outdoor rink status webpage updated to say all open rinks were operational (cleared of snow). When we got to Glenlong at 7pm, the rink was closed. The schedule for the day said that there were two hours of pleasure skating from 3-5pm and one hour of unsupervised shinny from 5-6.15pm. Its true that when we arrived, there was no drop in scheduled. But we thought that the north rinks had agreed to keep the rinks open if there was no permit actually at the rink. There was only a thin, skateable layer of snow on the ice at that time.
The zamboni operator complained that he had so much to do clearing all the pathways around the facility as well. He didn't seem to know why this wasn't done during the day. He started his shift at 3pm and was trying to get ready so that at least the permit would come.
When we got there, there was one shinny player, pretty upset that he couldn't play. He said that the priority for Glenlong seemed to always be more about permits than regular play.
Sunday Dec. 12, 2010
Rain - Rink Closed.
From rink user on facebook, about Glen Long Rink:
it's always closed!
they only care about people with permits
glen long is one of the nicest facilities in the city but has the worst hours
i'm yet to show up there and be allowed to play
is this where my taxes are going?
Saturday Dec.25 2010
Rink unlocked, a few skaters.
Sunday Dec.26 2010
schedule shows unstaffed rink on Boxing Day
ice not cleaned for two days
The city's website and 311 say the rink is going to have maintenance today and the changerooms will be unlocked from 10 am to 6 pm. But at 10.45 a.m. the changerooms are locked and the ice is snowy. Two kids are skating and one adult is on the ice in shoes.
E-mail to 311, Dec.26 2010
Hi there -- just to let you know -- the paper schedule posted at Glen
Long A.I.R. (photo attached) does not match the City's holiday schedule
posted on the web, and therefore it doesn't match the 311 info either.
This morning the rink surface was unlocked but there was no evidence of
ice maintenance nor of staff, and the change rooms were locked.
Does that mean that your information for the other North Toronto rinks
was also wrong?
Please contact us for further assistance or additional information.
E-mail back to 311, Dec.27 2010
Hi there -- I am puzzled by your response. I was already aware of the holiday schedule and it said the North Toronto rink change rooms/washrooms would be open on Boxing Day. But Glen Long wasn't. So the website and 311 schedule was wrong, at least in regards to Glen Long. Can you let me know if the other North Toronto rink change rooms/washrooms were also listed incorrectly by 311/toronto.ca as being open on Boxing Day, when in fact they were not open? Or did I misinterpret the schedule?
Thanks for your attention to getting this right.
E-mail from 311, Dec.29 2010
Your inquiry has been forwarded to Linda Koehler-Moore, Supervisor, Glen Long C.C. & A.I.R requesting a direct response to you from her office.
E-mail from Recreation supervisor Linda Koehler-Moore, Dec.30 2010, 12.37 pm
I am responding to your queries about skating in the North York District on December 26th - Boxing Day. From your email to 3-1-1, I understand that you are asking about North Toronto Memorial A.I.R and Glen Long A.I.R. in particular. The attached [city website] schedule was followed and both of these rinks, along with change rooms were open at the designated times.
North Toronto M - AIR
Boxing Day - rink and change rooms open 11 am - 5 pm
Glen Long - AIR
Boxing Day - rink and change rooms open 10 am - 6 pm
As well, the other North York District rinks also followed the attached schedule.
If you have any further questions, please let me know.
E-mail to Recreation supervisor Linda Koehler-Moore, cc to Ward 15 Councillor Josh Colle, Dec. 30, 1.40 pm
thanks for your response. I'm sorry that my e-mail was confusing -- I did not mean that North Toronto Memorial Rink was not open on Boxing Day. I meant that Glen Long Rink change room was not open on Boxing Day at 10.45 a.m. http://cityrinks.ca/wiki/wiki.php?n=GlenLongRink.FrontPage (scroll down to the Dec.26 diary entry) despite what the main city schedule said. I was wondering whether that meant that the other rink change rooms in North Toronto (I should have written "in North York," sorry) were also not open.
The reason why I wondered about the other north rinks is that the local posted schedule at Glen Long Rink indicated that the change rooms would NOT be open. Their local sign was correct. Nor was there any sign of ice maintenance, nor any sign of staff on the premises. I have attached my full-size photo of the local schedule, posted in the window at Glen Long. So their schedule did not match what was on the website or what 311 said.
You were obviously told by someone that the change rooms at Glen Long were staffed and open and the ice was maintained. Is it possible that the same confusion existed at Irving Chapley and Broadlands and Ledbury?
I hope you agree that this is worth following up, especially because Glen Long has had and continues to have very low public usage, meaning that the cost per user is very high. I've cc'd Councillor Colle here, because he mentioned to me that he has concerns about Glen Long as well.
E-mail from Recreation supervisor Linda Koehler-Moore, Dec.30 2010, 4.45 pm, cc to 311, Councillor Josh Colle, and Recreation Manager Costanza Allevato.'
thank you for your concerns and the information on Glen Long. We will ensure that facilities are available as advertised and will monitor attendance. I have followed up with staff and can report that Broadlands, Ledbury, Chapley and Glen Long were all open on December 26th with staff and the ice was maintained.
E-mail to Recreation supervisor Linda Koehler-Moore, Dec.30 2010, 5.57 pm:
My goodness, it sounds to me like you are telling me that I was mistaken to think that Glen Long was closed when I was there on Dec.26, that staff were there, that the ice was maintained and that the schedule I photographed did not exist. Let's follow up on that when Costanza comes back. This is getting to be quite intriguing.
E-mail to Recreation Manager Costanza Allevato, Jan.5 2011, 12.18 pm:
attached is the large version of the schedule posted at Glen Long, and I've bolded (in red) the relevant sentences in my question and Linda's response. When I was there at 10.45 on Dec.26, the rink was on the local schedule NOT the 311 schedule (attached in Linda's e-mail).
E-mail from Recreation Manager Costanza Allevato, Jan.5 2011, 2.29 pm:
Thanks, let me check into this further.
Jan.13 2011, e-mail to Ward 15 Councillor Josh Colle from cityrinks.ca
You may recall that Mary Margaret McMahon introduced us in December, and you mentioned that you are concerned about Glen Long Rink -- its low usage -- and are wondering about ways in which it could work better. Our non-municipal website cityrinks.ca has been documenting all 50 city outdoor rinks for some years, and here is this year's Glen Long page. As you see, this Ward 15 rink continues to be one of the lowest-usage rinks in the city, and its schedule appears to differ from the Glen Long information on the city's website. The Glen Long rink diaries of other years show that the problems of this rink are long-standing:
The city's management staff have tried to address some of the problems, but we think that more progress can be made, with some good approaches from our rink booklet: "Toronto's Outdoor Artificial Ice Rinks."
Our group of rink enthusiasts loves to help rinks work well. Also, the Ward 18 rinks just south of you are often very crowded, and some of the skaters (including whole families) tell us they come down here from your ward even though Glen Long is anything but crowded. Could a couple of us come and talk to you about how to "spread the wealth"?
No acknowledgment or response.
Follow-up from Recreation Manager Costanza Allevato, Jan.14 2011
I checked into the Glen Long Boxing Day situation and found that we had 2 signs posted side by side at the Glen Long outdoor rink. One in green, that you photographed, referred to the ice pad schedule only and the other in white that referred to the ice pad and building schedules. Both signs were consistent with the City website information as they both indicated that the rink would be open for public use on Boxing Day.
I believe the confusion arose from the fact that the green sign did not mention the building schedule and one could assume that the building would be closed. However, the white sign posted said the 'building' would be open and this was consistent with the City website. The white sign referred to the rink building only.
On Boxing Day, the Community Centre 'building' was closed to the public and this is consistent with the City information as no programs or permits were operating in the building. However, only one of the two change rooms in the rink building was open, when both should have been available for public use.
In addition, maintenance staff were scheduled to work 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and I understand a maintenance staff was present but may have been in the mechanical room at 10:45 am when you were at the rink. A Supervisor went to the Glen Long rink at 1:20 pm and found that maintenance staff was present and the rink was maintained.
I am meeting with maintenance and recreation staff on Monday to review our rink schedules and signage so that they are clear and consistent. As well, in the future our signs will provide information on both the rink and building hours so that ongoing confusion is avoided.
From J.M. to cityrinks.ca January 18, 2011
Does this rink have any adult shinny hockey during the day? It looks like it is closed all day and only opens in the evening.
Any info would be great.
From cityrinks.ca to Recreation manager Costanza Allevato, January 18 2011
as you see in this e-mail below, the Glen Long Rink mystery continues....do they sometimes lock it during the day?
From Recreation manager Costanza Allevato to cityrinks.ca
I have passed your message on to Linda. Also, GL staff were reminded today to keep the gate open during all hours of operation. I have been visiting the rinks too.
January 27 2011, rink visit
For the kids hockey (5.30pm - 6.30pm) at 6pm there were 2 rink guards on the ice wearing reflective vests. There were 6 kids playing and there was 1 adult playing/coaching with the kids.
For the 13yrs - 17yrs hockey (6.30pm - 7.30pm) at 7pm there were 6 players and no staff visible on or by the ice, although there were 2 reflective vests draped over the boxes so maybe the rink guards were playing shinny.
At 7.30pm the zamboni scraped/flooded the ice.
At 7.45pm a lot of players went out for shinny. The zamboni driver said it was a permit from 7.45pm - 8.45pm then it would be all ages shinny from 9pm - 10pm.
From Recreation staff Daniel Carravagio to Dufferin Rink staff, cc to cityrinks.ca, January 19 2011
We had a successful meeting with Councillor Colle on Thursday January 27, which provided him an overview of the services we offer, including Glen Long Artificial Ice Rink. Councillor Colle is in the midst of planning a family skate event in February, in collaboration with Community Centre Recreation staff.
Centre staff look forward to moving forward and engaging Glen Long Community Centre and surrounding area with our initial stages of community consultation. This will be a good opportunity to have the local community speak to what they would like to see in their local arena. Thanks for your interest and we will keep you posted on future developments.
I read about your story in the Toronto Star and your efforts to host a community skate party for youth at Jane & Finch. I am sorry to hear the local rink was unable to accommodate your event.
I wanted to let you know I am hosting a Family Skate Day with Toronto Parks, Forestry & Recreation at Glen Long Rink on Family Day, Monday February 21st.
Anyone from your community is welcome to come and participate and join us for hot chocolate, refreshments and activities.
February 25 2011, 6pm:
The shinny players left the ice before 6pm, when the zamboni came on and scraped and flooded. After that nobody went on the ice and the change rooms were empty.
I asked a staff member in the staff office about public skating and she confirmed I could skate from 6pm until 8pm.