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Rink Diary

2019 - 2020

 

Rink diaries from earlier years:

2018 - 2019

Opened: Nov.24, 2018

 

2017 - 2018

Feb.4, 2018, announcement on the city councillor's website:

Community Skating Party with Josh Matlow, Rob Oliphant & Carolyn Bennett!

I'm excited to be co-hosting a community skating party with our local MPs, Rob Oliphant and Carolyn Bennett at Hodgson Ice Rink (East of Mt. Pleasant, entrance off Millwood/Harwood, behind Hodgson PS).

Please join us from 2pm to 4pm on Sunday, February 4th for a fun, family-friendly afternoon with free coffee and hot chocolate.

I look forward to seeing you there!

2016 - 2017

Dec.2 2016

From Ward 22 City Councillor Josh Matlow: "I am pleased that the 2016/17 skating year will once again feature expanded community hours at Hodgson ice. The agreement with the TDSB reached last year will see the rink open for community hours starting at 11:30am (rather than 4:30pm) every weekday."

 

2015 - 2016

March 10, 2016

Closed for the season today, although it was scheduled to stay open until March 20.

Community Skating Party with Josh Matlow, Rob Oliphant & Carolyn Bennett!

From 1pm to 3pm on Sunday, February 7 for a fun, family-friendly afternoon with free coffee and hot chocolate.

Jan.5, 2015, item from City Councillor Josh Matlow's newsletter

Expanded Community Hours for Hodgson Rink!

I am happy to report that we have finally been successful in expanding community hours at Hodgson ice rink. While we were successful at getting a new rink built, there were many of us who weren't satisfied with the relatively few hours initially dedicated to the community. Since the new rink opened, the school has had exclusive access until 4:30pm every weekday, even though it is not fully utilized. Today, the TDSB has finally signed off on our proposal to expand hours for community ice time.

The new agreement will see the rink open for community hours starting at 11:30am (rather than 4:30pm) every weekday. City Staff have told me that they expect the new, expanded hours will start within a couple of weeks. I'm grateful to Trustee Shelley Laskin for her strong support and assistance.

I have also asked City Staff to update, the very out-of-date, rink website as soon as the changes are operational.


Rink diaries from earlier years:

2014 - 2015

January 22m 2015, from Councillor Matlow's newsletter

I am delighted to announce that about an hour ago, I was able to ensure that Ward 22's Hodgson Ice Rink will be open tomorrow (Friday, January 23rd) between 9am-10pm!

Currently the City's website indicates that community access will only begin at 4:30pm. However, I am very happy the rink will now be enjoyed by our community during a PD Day at our local public schools.

I am also actively working with Trustee Laskin, TDSB and City Staff on expanding community access to hours currently reserved by the TDSB. This is our community rink and I believe it should be accessible to both students and community as much as possible.

I will keep you updated on our progress.

Happy skating!

January 18, 2015, email from rink user:

Just wondering if you know anything about the new hours at the Hodgson rink? It appears that they no longer allow any skating or hockey from Monday to Friday until 4:30 pm, so the rinks sit empty all day during the week. I normally go for a skate in the morning during the week but no more :(

Response from Cityrinks.ca:

City staff accepted an arrangement that is not in practice in other parts of the city. Although to be fair, most city rinks have almost no school visits anyway. So for me to cite the city's practice elsewhere is a bit of a red herring.

​The common practice is for most city rinks to have sparse or no users during much of the daytime. There is no outreach to schools done by city staff except in Ward 18, and in the downtown area some single pads normally keep their change rooms/washrooms locked during school hours, making school visits even less likely.

But as far as I know, it's only Hodgson that currently has a policy to specifically prevent entry to the general public for 7 hours a day five days a week (I subtracted the lunch hour) -- with the taxpayer still having to cover the rink's operating cost -- including the cost of operating empty when no schools come, as you observed, Ian.

This is an arrangement that should not have been agreed to and should be changed. I continue to be amazed at what Torontonians will accept.

Jan 1, 2015 (New Year's Day)

At 12.15 pm the rink had lots of people skating -- but the change room, and therefore the washrooms too, were locked. Hodgson Rink cost $2 million to build, but in order to save $77 holiday bonus pay for a building attendant to keep the change room open, the doors were locked. In Etobicoke at the same time, rinks that had as many skaters had full access to the buildings, and multiple staff as well. Rinks that had fewer skaters were simply left unlocked, without staff, and that worked well too.

Meantime the skaters at Hodgson had to freeze their fingers trying up skate laces, and if kids had to go to the bathroom, the family had to go home.


New Year's Day: lots of pleasure-skaters

lots of shinny hockey players

change room/washrooms locked

people have to change outside in the cold
 
Dec.26 2014 (Boxing Day)

The city's rink schedule said the rink would be open for regular skating (implying access to the change room/ washrooms) and it was. A lively scene, with a crowded change room, lots of skaters and shinny players, and many friendly greetings among neighbours. There was a zamboni driver in the office but no rink guards -- no sign that they were needed, either. The zamboni driver had put up a sign on the change room door "closing at 7 pm" (so not as the city's information site said) but it may be that the rink surface would be left open.

The zamboni driver said he had no idea why Hodgson Rink had been scheduled to be fully open on Boxing Day when most of the other central city rinks were scheduled to have no change room/washroom access.


lively skating scene on Boxing Day

lots of people in change room
 

Holiday Hours: the city's rink information website/311 says there will be access to Hodgson's changeroom/washroom on Boxing Day (9 am until 9.45 pm), but not on Christmas Day or New Year' Day.

Dec.15 2014

Hodgson Rink was open at 11.30 am, with two pleasure skaters. The staff said it had indeed been closed the whole of the previous week. But the staff heard that the problem was over now and the rink would stay open. The ice was good, and as I was leaving, a school class was arriving to skate -- from another school, not from the direction of Hodgson School.


Dec.15: rink open again

freshly painted benches

freshly painted change room with Pepsi machine

an improvement: a window for the staff room
Dec.14 2014

City Councillor Josh Matlow was able to hold his rink opening party, and in his newsletter he included Steve Paikins' blog about the event. The Councillor also included the contract document to Frank Pellegrino General Contracting Limited, for rebuilding the rink, at a cost of $1,920,414.72 once the HST rebates are in.

Dec.8 - 12 or 13

Apparently Hodgson Rink was closed all week due to "a legal matter" (one rink user wrote that the principal of Hodgson School told her this) -- having to do with the signing of contracts.

Dec.6 2014

The rink opened on time.

Councillor Matlow has sent out an invitation for a skating party Sunday Dec.14 from 12 noon to 2 pm.

Nov.21, 2014

The rink looks close to ready -- there's lots of snow on it but the boards are up, a fencing contractor is finishing the chain link, and the swing gates are being installed for the zamboni. There's the smell of fresh paint in the changeroom, and the mats are ready to lay down as soon as the ice melts. Sadly, no window has been added to the staff room and the change room windows are caged in -- giving a "project" feel to the place. The largely middle-class constituency of this rink doesn't seem to mind, though -- the rink is a very popular and social place to go. The staff usually seem to find benches to put outside along the sheltered, sunny wall of the rink house, for parents to sit and watch their children.

The city's website says Hodgson will be open on Nov.29, along with most of the other second-wave municipal rinks. Maybe they're right.


boards are up

gates being installed

project-look wire mesh on all windows, no windows for staff

out with the old -- waiting for trash removal
 
Nov.10 2014

Newsletter announcement from City Councillor Josh Matlow

Hodgson Artificial Ice Rink Update: I'm delighted to report that there has been excellent progress with construction at our community's new and improved Hodgson Rink: the concrete pads have been poured, the hockey boards are now installed and the fencing around the pleasure rink is nearly completed! Barring any unforeseen obstacles, the rinks are expected to begin operating again by mid-December.


2013-2014

Newsletter from City Councillor Josh Matlow, March 2014

Significant Progress Made Toward Keeping Hodgson Rink Open!

The Hodgson ice rink is closed this year as a result of two ammonia leaks in two years. Components at a facility like Hodgson have a life cycle of 15-20 years. The Hodgson rink is now over 30 years old. There is no doubt that the rink's infrastructure needs to be completely replaced.

With the rink closed, I worked closely with many dedicated parents to build a natural ice rink nearby. While this rink has been a great success, it does not replace having a reliable artificial rink in our neighbourhood.

The land on which the rink is located is owned by the TDSB. The City earmarked $2 million toward the Hodgson rink in its 2014 capital budget and is ready to begin construction. However, TDSB staff was only willing to commit that their property will remain a rink for 10 years to keep their options open for future uses, which is insufficient for a capital investment of this size.

I worked with Trustee Laskin to ensure that City and TDSB staff were focussed on arriving at a resolution rather than the obstacles in their way.

I am delighted to report that there has been significant progress made by the City and the TDSB toward an agreement. The City is now moving forward with tendering a contract to refurbish and upgrade the rink. The facility will continue to be located at Hodgson Senior Public School and, barring any unknown construction, the rink will most likely be ready for the 2014/2015 winter season.

To the parents and residents who have advocated for our local rink, I can tell you that not only were your voices heard, they were instrumental in what we've achieved.

Once again, when our community has been presented with a challenge we've successfully faced it together.

November 2013 Newsletter from City Councillor Josh Matlow and Parks Manager Bob Crump: Why Hodgson Rink is closed for this whole season:

Dear Residents,

I'm writing to you because you have expressed interest in Hodgson ice rink. Please feel very welcome to share this with your neighbours.

I have received an email from Bob Crump, a District Manager of Parks with the City of Toronto, about the state of repair and future of the Hodgson outdoor ice rink. Keeping you informed is a priority for me so I am sharing his message in full with you. I know this is not a reality that any of us would choose but it would be irresponsible to ignore the safety concerns raised by City staff. I am also very disappointed that the timing of the upgrades to the rink was impacted by the TDSB's inability to commit to a long-term lease with the City of Toronto earlier in the year.

Thank you to everyone who joined me at my public meeting on October 21. I look forward to meeting with a group of community volunteers soon to work together on creating a local natural rink for this season to ensure that our kids have a place to skate until the rink re-opens in 2014.Pl

ease feel very welcome to contact me if you have any questions, at 416 392-7906 or [email protected]

Sincerely,

Josh

From Park manager Bob Crump

Hello Councillor

Thanks for your call yesterday afternoon. I appreciate that the Hodgson outdoor rink is highly valued by your constituents and they are concerned about having it out of commission this winter.

Unfortunately, Hodgson AIR (artificial ice rink) has been living on borrowed time for quite a while and issues with the rink have finally come to a head. The rink was built in 1980. It is now 32 years old and most of its physical components have 15 to 20 year life expectancies. These components are beginning to fail and its deteriorating condition does not make it feasible to operate the rink in its current state any longer, for both financial and health and safety reasons. The rink must be rebuilt. PFR has earmarked approximately $2M capital funds for this project, with construction beginning in 2014. The City requires a minimum 20 year agreement from the TDSB in order to justify this investment.

The City originally scheduled reconstruction of the rink in its 2005 capital plan and requested a 20 year renewal of the shared use agreement for the right to renovate and use the AIR located on TDSB property at 282 Davisville Avenue. TDSB did not take action on the proposal. We asked again in 2008, again to no avail. We asked again in February this year after we experienced a minor ammonia leak (the second in two years - one from a leaking pipe in the floor) and were advised it would cost over $50,000 to remove and replace the 6,000 lbs of ammonia in the system in order to replace the major valve that had failed and caused the leak. The refrigeration mechanics who work on our equipment expressed real fear that they didn't know where the next issue was going to crop up and were concerned for both their safety and that of the public, particularly the children in the adjacent school.

After much foot dragging on the part of the TDSB, and much prodding from parks staff, it appears we finally have their approval to extend our shared use for another 20 years. However, we still do not have official confirmation that this has been approved by their board. Nevertheless, PFR staff have been diligently working on the design for the rebuilt facility with the expectation that it will be forthcoming and that we will be able to begin construction early in 2014.

But the fact of the matter is that we cannot continue to apply bandaids to this facility. The rink is the last of the antiquated, old style direct ammonia plants in the city. Piping in the floor is encased in concrete and its condition cannot be assessed. Given its age and the recent history of ammonia leaks, it can be assumed that the likelihood of another, possibly greater leak, is high. Something else could fail at any time. At worst, a dangerous ammonia leak could occur and pose serious health and safety risks to staff, school kids, area residents and patrons.

The new rink will offer residents a safe clean facility for many years to come. It's unfortunate that it took us so long to get here and that it will be out of commission for one winter but in the interests of public safety, I'm not prepared to run these risks and I don't think area residents should be either.

Regards

Bob Crump Manager, Parks


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