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Weather: partly cloudy, -9 though windchill of -17
There was 10cm of snow last night.
Plow just finishing clearing snow of the rink, zamboni waiting to go on. Two young shinny players in the changeroom waiting. We asked the BA if there was anything special happening today and he said that they might get the fire in the woodstove going, and pointed out the shinny/pleasure skate skating schedule. Then another staff came in and said that it is Olivia Chow's family day skate, from 1-3pm. We didn't make it back to check out the actual festivities.
12 people, mostly kids and parents playing shinny. Ice solid, in good condition.
There were about 40 skaters at the rink when we arrived, 8 playing shinny, 12 pleasure skaters, the rest around the rink and the campfire. The campfire was cozy, in a shallow metal dish raised off the ground. The market was extended today to run 2-7pm. When we came out of the fieldhouse (where the market was) at 5:10pm there were only a handful of skaters left. The ice looked great, people said that it was a puddle after the warm weather, but it re-froze and they did a lot of repair on it, and now it's in good shape again.
300-400 people all around. Ice in good shape but very snowy from heavy use, there was so many people on the trail, not sure how much fun it would be. There were new painted lanes on the trail. There was free Pickle Barrel hot chocolate, live performances and skate rental as promised. The skates were borrowed by an MPP from a skate program elsewhere. You get free skates in exchange for ID. There were various food vendors - and hot chocolate for $2! - taking up half of one of the parking lots, though we couldn't find a legal parking space. There was an ice throne, tic tac toe made of ice, and ice blocks for kids to play with. There were a few rink guards, though it was far to crowded for any real skating instruction.
Hard to tell how many people were here because most of them are inside in various buildings, but the parking lot was full, so probably a couple of hundred. Most people were there to see Fort York, rather than for skating. The synthetic rink was made of plastic interlocking squares laid out like a skating oval, with benches to sit and rubber mats to lead to the "rink".
There was free skate rental - a set of 50 on loan from the company that runs the skate rental at City Hall - though no skate aids. There were only 2 people skating, being helped by the person in charge of the synthetic rink set-up. Skating on this kind of surface looks a lot like walking. The person who set up the rink told us you encounter more resistance, and your skate blades get dull quickly, but you can have hockey tournaments in July if you want. Occasionally he sprays the surface a bit with a mixture of water and glycol to lubricate it. Other than the rink there were two campfires, and inside there was music, free soup and biscuits, and other activities.
There were easily about 200 people there, all watching the zamboni flood the ice when we arrived. The ice was in good condition. As advertised, there was free skates - 50 loaners from City Hall - free hot chocolate, and lots of activities indoors as well. There were two rink guards, plus the zamboni driver.
There were still about 150 people there, though there was no more hot chocolate and the skate loan was closed (another city hall loaner collection). We asked the skate rental folks if they had lent a lot of skates and they said no, it hadn't been very busy. The ice was in good condition. We saw one rink guard and another city staff, plus the zamboni operator. The rink guard said the rink would be open regular hours and the ice maintenance would run all night as usual.