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Citizen-Z Cavan Young's 2004 film about the zamboni crisis

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wood stove at Dufferin


Rink Diary

2021 - 2022

Nov.27 2021

Opened for the season

Rink diaries from earlier years:

2020 - 2021

COVID-RELATED RESTRICTIONS: To find out how to book a skating time, go to the city's outdoor rinks web page.
All shinny hockey has been removed except for Greenwood (and only children and youth are allowed there). The city's opening rules are described here and our rinks blog is here.

Nov.28, 2020

opened for the season


2019 - 2020

No reports

2018 - 2019


NO reports

2017 - 2018

Nov.24, 2017

ice is in


Loaner skates at Wallace Rink, 2014
September 11, 2017

A letter was sent to the city councillor, offering a donation of a complete skate loan collection for this rink.

Our reasons:
* people love to borrow skates: newcomers, school classes, kids and youth who grew out of their skates
* we have 110 pairs of skates, 20 hockey sticks, 20 helmets to donate
* this kind of program has been done by city staff for 12 years at Dufferin Rink, 9 years at Wallace and Campbell -- lots of experienced staff, each one teach one
* staff often have time on their hands to lend skates and also to maintain skates
* the city has insurance that can cover this (the city is self-insured under $5 million anyway), but skate lending programs are rarely threatened with a claim if they do responsible skate maintenance.

Offer declined.


2016 - 2017

Nov.23, 2016

At 11.30 a.m. the rink was clean and had a microscopic layer of ice on it. The foreperson explained that they have to begin with a very thin layer of water, slowly adding more layers. Progress! She also said they hadn't started earlier because there were lots of leaves in the rink and they first had to be removed. Better late than never. In fact, there were two workers with leaf blowers still moving the leaves further away to the north of the rinks.

The tent for the zamboni is exactly as in other years. The rink staff said that this year they would be flooding at night, not in the daytime. Progress again. It will still be a cliffhanger, though, since there are only three nights left before the rinks are scheduled to open. One of the other staff said that maybe the weather wouldn't be cold enough to open on time. Same old excuse....

sign still up from last March

first layer of ice on the rink, three days before opening day!

the last zamboni tent in the city

better late than never

2015 -2016

March 11, 2016

The rink was scheduled to stay open until March 20 but it was closed for the season this afternoon.

Feb.15, 2016

Family Day, 10.45 a.m. -- where was the union event?

Five days ago, CUPE Local 79 sent out an invitation to members of all the city unions, for a Family Day skating event at four city rinks. High Park was one of the locations:

Join us for a great skate on Family Day!

On February 15, Locals 79, 416 and 4948 are hosting skating parties at rinks across Toronto. Itís a great opportunity for you and your family to get a little ice time while showing the public our dedication and commitment to the quality public services that make Toronto a great place to live.

The skating events will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.on Monday, February 15, at the following rinks:

Nathan Phillips Square, Mel Lastman Square, Scarborough Civic Centre and High Park.

There will be free hot chocolate, visits for the kids from some Minions and maybe even a Storm Trooper or two, and lots of fun.

But at 10.45 there was no event there and the staff said they hadn't heard of any plans.

January 1, 2016

at 11 a.m. rink is open

the zamboni tent -- still there after all these years

MLSE ads everywhere

strange ugly images of wrinkled people

The city's website has a blank on New Year's Day, for High Park rink. That would normally mean it was closed, but it wasn't -- both the ice surface and the change rooms/washrooms were open. The staff said the rink had been left open all night from New Year's Eve, on purpose. The staff were assigned from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today. Then the change room would be locked but the ice would stay open for the rest of the night again.

There are logos everywhere -- on the boards and along the slippery, ice walkway. The images are strangely ugly, seen close up.

Dec.29, 2015

Last night's heavy snow, supersaturated with rain as well, closed all the rinks citywide for the day. High Park rink was listed as open at 5.30 p.m. -- one of the first four rinks to re-open.

Dec.26, 2015

Despite the rink supervisor's misplaced anxiety about losing the ice in warm late-December visit, the rink was able to re-open easily on Boxing Day, and probably would have been fine on Christmas Day as well.

Dec.23, 2015

At 8 pm the hockey side is closed, but there are quite a few people on the pleasure-skating side, and their ice looks good. There's just one wet corner, which the zamboni driver has barriered off, worried that it's going down to cement.

The rink supervisor is there. He says this warm weather is making it impossible for them to keep the ice in good shape, no matter how hard they try. He's worried that the warm spell tomorrow will mean three days to get the ice in good shape again.

The zamboni driver said that the hockey ice was actually not bad, but he wasn't letting anyone on it to keep skates from scraping off ice, to protect it for tomorrow.

pleasure skaters, Dec.23

wet corner
Dec.17 2015

The "rink status report" seems to suggest that High Park had a power outage sometime today and had to close for a time, was expected to re-open about 9 pm.

Dec.14 2015

A warm day, 10 celsius by 10.30 a.m. But the ice was holding up well.

pleasure-skating pad

hockey ice
Sunday Nov.29, 2015

The rink guard said that despite the warm weather and periods of sunshine, the ice has held up well at High Park, just a few pylons near the sunny side of the boards, and even there, the ice under the melt-water is solid.

first skate of the season

pylons near the boards
Nov.25 2015

Even though it's only Wednesday, and some of the rinks due to open on Saturday haven't even started making ice yet, High Park has a good layer already.


Rink diaries from earlier years:


Dec.26 2014

Boxing Day: skaters and also rink guards

This rink was listed on the city website as unsupervised, no washroom/change room access on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year's Day. But on Boxing Day at 2.30 pm there were three rink guards and a zamboni operator, and the building was open. Lots of skaters, too. The lift gates had been opened so there was no shinny hockey, only pleasure-skating in the round.

Dec.2 2014

The rink reopened.

Nov.30 2014

In the afternoon, the rink was shut down, one of seven late-starting rinks to do so.

Nov.25 2014

The rink is ready to start -- brine tank are gone, header trench is closed. Despite yesterday's high winds, the rink is clean of leaves. CIMCO workers are there, servicing the condenser.

rink is clean of leaves

CIMCO staff working on the condenser
November 19 2014

The rink is getting repairs to its header trench, although at 10 a.m. there was no sign of work being done -- but there were trucks. The slabs are clean of snow on both sides -- compressors are not on so it would have been easy to hose them down. Because it's still minus 7 this morning, the water from the hosing has frozen onto the pad -- it almost looks ready to skate on. But it's not -- there are big brine storage tanks at the side of the compressor room, and the header trench is open, with all the rink pipes disconnected. When it can open is a puzzle. Their opening date is still 10 days away -- but it might be a cliffhanger.

brine storage tanks

open header trench

High Park Rink has a tent for the zamboni -- presumably it's next up for a metal hangar such as the models at Dufferin Rink and now being installed at Greenwood.

inside of zamboni tent

zamboni tent with straw bales

Rink Diary 2013-2014

March 1 2014

4.15 p.m.

Pleasure skating in the round today. This rink was re-opened as one of the 11 season extensions. The change rooms are also opened and the sun is shining -- happy skaters.

Jan.1, 2014

The city's website shows a blank day on Jan.1, but the rink is open for unsupervised skating (no rink guards) and -- happy surprise -- the change rooms and washrooms are open and warm. There is a zamboni driver in the office. He says the rink was closed on Christmas but open on Boxing Day as well as today. A schedule on the wall says "unsupervised skating 10 to 6." But a sign on the changeroom door says the change room is closing at 7.45. Lots of different messages!

A man comes to the office to ask if there are any washrooms open, and it happy to hear yes. But it looks like not everyone knows about the change rooms -- they are actually the swimming pool change rooms and so they're a distance from the rink. Down by the rink, there's no sign giving a hint of the change rooms at the end of a longish trail of rubber mats.

Jan.1 pleasure skaters

sign is friendly and informative


Rink Diary 2012-2013

Saturday Dec 1, 2012

High Park Rink opened today!

Sunday Dec 2, 2012

High Park was listed as closed today.

Hockey side closed

Empty rink

Pleasure skating side thin layer

We went by to take a look at High Park today - surprised that it would close after one day of being open. We saw two rinks with very thin ice. At 4:30 pm, the hockey side was closed - but they were letting skaters on to the pleasure side. The staff there was trying to plug the drainage holes on the hockey pad.

He said that they started flooding on Wednesday Nov. 28th, 2012 (recorded temps: high of 4, low of -3). When they came back on site the next day, Thurs. Nov 29th (recorded temps. high of 8, low -3), they found most of the ice had melted and they had to start again. He said that the hockey pad is uneven, and that even though in some places they had laid down almost a half inch of ice, there was concrete showing in other spots.

There were an additional 2 staff in the office, and 4 pleasure skaters getting laced up.

Saturday Dec 3, 2012

The pleasure side is listed as opened today! but no hockey.

Saturday Dec 4, 2012

High Park is once again listed as fully closed.

Saturday Dec 6, 2012

At two pm - the city listed High Park as open again.


Rink Diary 2011 - 2012

Saturday Dec.3 2011

5pm: skaters on hockey and pleasure rinks. They are the only rink with signage to advertise opening date, they had these pink signs in several locations around the rink. The sign states that all skating programs will begin at High Park on Sunday 4th December so Saturday was extra!

The ice looked well used and in need of a flood. On the hockey side there was one corner where the ice had melted quite a lot and it was wet.

pleasure-skating side

shinny hockey, Saturday Dec.3
Monday Dec.26 2011, Boxing Day

Photos taken by rink user Rafael Lewis, about 2 p.m.


Rink Diary 2010 - 2011

December 26 2010, Boxing Day

11.30 a.m. -- good ice, change rooms open. No sign of any staff (office looked empty).

Boxing Day shinny hockey

pleasure skating on Boxing Day morning

vast change rooms -- even room for mice

zamboni tent with straw bales
January 3 2011, e-mail from B.C.

High Park rink is poorly maintained for a rink with its own zamboni. The change house is poorly set-up (it is the pool change room as well). It is too far from the rink with a walk down an often slippery ramp to the rink. The doors for access should be on the rink side not the pool side - an easy fix. The change room should be for all not divided by the sexes. There should be food and drink available. It is a rink that gets a lot of use but is poorly run.

January 28 2011, e-mail from A.C.

This e-mail is in regards to the outdoor rink @ High Park. I packed the kids up this morning (Friday, Jan 28th) to go skating, but the rink was locked up tight. Online and on site schedule says 9:00am to 3:00pm public skate. Very disappointed that I wasted my morning waiting for somebody to show up. Is there only one person who opens the gates etc.? If he/she doesn't show up for work does the rink just stay closed? I would appreciate it, if I could get a reply in this matter.

From cityrinks to A.C. Jan.28, 2011 is not a municipal website (it's website run by rink enthusiasts). So we have no power to fix anything directly, but we can help people follow up. (It's our hobby)

The best thing to do in this case is to re-send your e-mail to 311, with a cc to 311 at this point in time has the mandate to stream all complaints to their right people -- and we've heard that the staff who get the complaint sent to them are supposed to respond within 24 hours.

If the actual rink gates were closed, that's very important to follow up, since the shift is supposed to begin at 7 a.m. If it was just the change rooms that were closed, and it was very soon after 9 a.m., it could be that somebody was late.

We have been getting a fair number of complaints about High Park Rink this season.

From 311 to A.C., forwarded by him to cityrinks

Thank you for contacting 311 Toronto.

My apologies for your experience at the High Park ice rink. I have forwarded your email to the supervisor responsible for High Park facilities for their review of the situation.

From Rinks supervisor Dave Chapman to A.C., forwarded to cityrinks

The staff member who would normally open and clean both High Park and then the Earlscourt rink, was sick that day and it took some time to call in an alternate staff person to do that work. Sorry for the inconvenience.


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Content last modified on December 02, 2021, at 07:16 PM EST