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Weather was overcast, 5 degrees. Ice conditions were pretty good, fairly smooth, just a little velvety. There was a game of all-ages shinny on the hockey side, fathers and sons, a few young guys. A father and his three daughters were playing tag on the pleasure side. There are a couple of benches and picnic tables on the edge of the pleasure pad, probably a better place to change your skates than those maze-like change-rooms (though there are now a few patchy mats in the women's change room - almost there!).
There were two staff in the staff lounge. Neither knew if there was a new schedule for March break. On the glassed-in bulletin board outside there were two sheets about school fieldtrips to west district rinks, but high park wasn't listed on them anywhere. The zamboni is being repaired again (it's been broken various times this season) so ice maintenance is down to a tractor with an ice re-surfacer hitched to it. Not ideal.
Hockey side was snowy -- was it done today? Nets had sunk into the ice and were embedded. 5 shinny hockey players, one with no helmet. Pleasure skating ice was good. The zamboni driver was on the phone, but paused her conversation to explain that this was her first day at this rink, and that they had just found out last week that High Park would stay open. She seemed frustrated by the rink conditions, and said that a staff person had been on all day and she couldn't understand why the nets had been allowed to sink in.
This rink has some safety problems -- easy access to the swimming pool area, with a deep drop and no barriers nor signs. Also a slanted walkway from skate changing areas to the rink, with no handrail. Beyond that, the change area for this rink is very unpleasant, windowless. The large glassed in room right next to the rink, which could be used for changing, is only used as an office for staff, no one else is allowed in. Why do staff need an office anyway? Very puzzling.
"Rink Sizes? There used to be two gates that allowed the Pleasure Side and the Hockey side to open up into one big skating circle. The gates were this year redesigned and they now are frozen shut due to the plans -- no fix in sight.
Number of skaters? Try pleasure skating with 200 others on the one pleasure skating side that's open.
You'll find the skating numbers will always be better on Grenadier Pond -- Which the City posts as No Skating. Do they enforce it? Do they do anything with it? The residents know what works -- check it out some Saturday.
Hockey Rink Condition and Age? The Boards probably haven't been changed in 40 years. Some stuff is just patched together waiting for another year to pass. GRADE C-"
Ice looks like its in good condition. Hockey side - 22 people, pleasure side 3 people. Arena Operator on site - cleaning and tidying up. Two other staff in staff room. Change rooms remain a maze - womens washroom still has no mats. The men's, however, have mats lining either side of the benches.
The ice conditions were good, hard, smooth and crisp when we visited. The pleasure side was smoother, while the hockey side was more powdery, probably because of all the action. The ice was thick though and overflowing on the pleasure side onto the concrete and above the rim of concrete (about 5 inches) around the pleasure pad.
There were 10 skaters on each of the shinny and pleasure pads. The schedule was not posted and no copies seemed available.
On site was a zamboni driver (who stays all day) and a rink guard. There was also a building attendant and another worker just finishing up his shift. The zamboni remains on site and is housed outdoors in a canopy by the rink.
To get indoors, skaters follow a single mat into the back door of the building. The change rooms' main purpose is for swimming pool users in the summer. There are many signs with respect to pool rules: avoiding the spread of communicable disease, rules about no photos in the shower rooms, swimming safety signs etc... The "rink this way" signs and "locker liability" sings are small and few in comparison. There is no Rink Code of Conduct Sign and no schedules posted. The areas are sex segregated and have lockers, changerooms, private changerooms, toilets, showers and a formal entrance/exit to pool. Rink users have gotten used to figuring their way around, although, as one user said: she had strayed into the men's changeroom twice- luckily without compromising any man's privacy.
The hallway to the women's changerooms is not lit and inside there are no mats. There are, however, signs instructing skaters to walk only on mats. But the mats aren't there! There are two entrances to the men's - one through the showers and one at the end of the changerooms. There are wheelchair accessible washrooms but the one closest to the mens is smelly, the garbage is overflowing and there is no soap. Some of the shower stalls are used for storage.
The green rink shovels were only needed last year and onwe of the staff says that there are liability issues around a building attendant stepping on the ice. The staff room has first-aid kits and there is a staff phone. The staff room is large and has a view of the rink. The mats only go partway into the staff room.
High 9 celsius, low 3. Mainly cloudy. The hockey side was closed and the pleasure skating side had three people on it. The ice looked rough but the zamboni driver was about to try and scrape it. There were no other staff at the rink -- no rink guards and no building attendant.