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There's been no response to our "test Dufferin Rink" request to Brenda Patterson. However, the new Ward 18 city councillor, Ana Bailao, called Ms.Patterson. Ana sent this: "She said Council and Mayor had been informed of this decision and that it was reached with the City Manager and she was not in a position to change it. She also said that some compressors broke last year - do you know of anything?"
No we don't know of any compressors breaking down because of starting up in November. We monitored all the rinks. Maybe Ana can find out which ones broke down, so we can follow up. It's always good to get the facts.
This is the letter that Ms.Patterson sent to the Mayor and Councillors: Memorandum November 12, 2010.
We'll check the assertions in it, and post what we find out. One thing we know already: although Ms.Patterson writes that "we need daytime temperatures not to exceed 5 degrees centigrade and zero degrees at night to facilitate ice-making" -- that's only true if you break the first rule of outdoor ice-making. The rule is: put on a night shift. Last November at Dufferin Rink, volunteers flooded at night. Here is the rink diary documenting the result: good ice-making with low 8 degrees, high 11.
Rink visits Nov.15:
City Hall: dirty and not ready. Workers were doing the yearly task of filling in the summertime fountain gaps with sand. Others were putting up lights. The header trench is still open.
Dufferin Rink: painters were painting the dasherboards, but first spending a lot of time sweeping leaves out of the way, because the rink surface has not been cleaned.
Harbourfront's Natrel Rink: They are on schedule. They tested out their cooling plant last night because they have new pipes in one corner, and said it worked well. Tonight, they said, they'll do the first 12-hour flood.
Everyone who wrote to Ms.Patterson got a form letter saying you can't make ice at these temperatures. Meantime, at Harbourfront, the rink has a solid sheet of ice at 9.30 a.m, after their first night of ice-making. They do 12-hour night shifts at the beginning. They open around this time every year and their original 1983 compressors are still working --they've lasted longer than those at City of Toronto rinks.
Valerie Hauch of the Star called saying that the Star plans to do a piece on this.
CityRinks spoke to David Sinclair from CIMCO, the company that makes the city's ice rink compressors: "Ice could be formed in the night even at 10 degrees celsius" he said, "and the compressors have no problem dealing with that. Outdoor rink compressors are designed for more capacity than indoor rink compressors. It's the daytime and the angle of the sun that are the main factors."
Ambient temperature, according to Sinclair, is very much a secondary factor. "Consider the temperature in indoor rinks," he said, "which is often 10-12 degrees celsius."