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4 p.m.: -- one of the first two city rinks listed as closed (covered in snow). But this rink has been listed as open every day until now.
5 pm: listed as open again.
This rink was open yesterday but today it's listed as closed.
This rink was scheduled to open today and it did, but then it closed before the end time.
Rink diaries from earlier years:
A letter was sent to the city councillor, offering a donation of a complete skate loan collection for this rink.
* people love to borrow skates: newcomers, school classes, kids and youth who grew out of their skates
* we have 110 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 (actually -- ignored).
Since its scheduled opening on Nov.26, this rink has been listed as closed -- until this evening, when it finally got on the open list.
The rink has been on a "closed: ice conditions" alert all week but today the alert is gone. Then by 2 pm the rink was back on the alert list again. It's one of three North York rinks that were closed March 11 but are still listed as staying open until March 20, but on alert as "closed -- ice conditions." They have no ice.
During this skating season, Irving Chapley rink has been closed almost as many days at it's been open, part of North York's conservative approach to ice management. During March, it's been closed most of the time, and yet is still scheduled to keep running until March 20.
8 p.m.: Temp. 3 degrees, rink listed as closed.
Councillor Pasternak's skating party was on at the rink from noon until 2. At 1.30, there were lots of people around, inside and outside and skating. Despite a forecast of rain, the sun was out and it was 9 degrees, so some skaters were in almost summer clothes. The ice was a bit wet on top along the south-facing boards, but solid. The CELOS skate loans were in evidence all over the rink, as were the skate aids, on loan from Wallace Rink. Lots of kids and adults looked like they were skating for the first time. Here and there a very young would-be skater was crying in apparent discouragement, but the mood in general seemed very friendly with lots of smiles, even for those new skaters who had to cling to the boards. How pleasant to see this rink, with its very nice building, so lively.
A poster from Councillor James Pasternak's office, for their skating party on Sunday:
Tod Debling, 416 338-3759 at Antibes Community Centre, is working to help with Councillor Pasternak's skating day on Jan.31. He'll come over with a truck to pick up skates at Dufferin Rink, helmets and skate aids at Wallace Rink.
Closed Dec.23 - 26 "due to weather"
Closed "due to weather."
This rink is closed again, one of only two city rinks listed as "closed because of the weather."
The councillor is thinking of having a skating party at the rink. His staff want to know how to set up skate lending using Randy's loaner skates.
A problem with the HOLIDAY HOURS: it appears on the city's rink information website/311 that almost all of the city's rinks will have their changerooms/washrooms locked on the three main holidays: Christmas Day, Boxing Day (yes!), and New Year's Day. You can skate on most of the rinks but you can't get your kids out of the cold to change their skates and you can't take them to the washroom. This is true for Irving Chapley Rink, and even worse: this rink will be closed on two other school holidays: Dec.24 and again on Dec.31.
What's the message here -- "you should be drinking, not skating" -- ?
The rink opened on Nov.22, closed Nov.23, reopened Nov.26.
Question from a rink user: "I was hoping you could resolve an issue I ran in to a few times last year with arena staff. During non scheduled hours, for example 9.30-2 Thursdays at Irving Chapley when there is nothing scheduled between those hours, am I allowed to bring my stick and a puck on to the ice to shoot around with my friends (we're 25 years of age)."
From cityrinks: "Five years ago the head of Parks directed rink staff to make the rinks freely available for skaters when a rink doesn't have a permit or a program (for example, most of the daytime).
Does Irving Chapley now have a schedule posted on the fence? Is Thursday 9 to 2 posted as shinny time? If it isn't on the schedule like that, but that's a good time for you and your friends, and the rink is normally empty Thursday daytime, the schedule should be changed to accommodate you. Rinks change their schedules all over the city -- the staff just modify the signs with a piece of tape.
Irving Chapley is one of the least used rinks in the city, which is a shame since it's a great little rink. If the onsite staff don't welcome your group, the next thing is to ask your city councillor to help: [email protected] or (even better) 416-392-1371."
Good ice. Five shinny players were enjoying themselves around 11 a.m. Only one of them was wearing a helmet, and skated up to me when I took the rink pictures. He was probably the rink guard (they get in trouble if they don't wear a helmet), coming up to tell me that I'm not allowed to photograph. But he missed his opportunity, so he went back to playing.
This rink, like the other North Toronto rinks, was on the schedule as opening tomorrow, Nov.24, but that seems to have been a mistake. It's lucky that there was a rink guard to let his friends know to come down, the rink was open!
See also: Editor's and Rink Users' blog
The rink looks like it's only half done. Much like last year. And the half that was done looked a mess -- like shell ice.
The ice looks very thin, with darker patches showing where there may be cement. This is a very quiet little Rec centre -- only a few kids in a daycare room. The caretaker/rink staff was sitting in his office. I asked him when he thought the rink would open. He said: "call 311," and then he got up, shut his office door, and walked away. I said, "thanks for being so informative!" He said, over his shoulder, "no problem."
But then out in the parking lot as I was getting into my car he said, "we've been through this before. You can't make ice when it's eleven degrees." I told him he should look at Dufferin Rink, and then I drove away.
This rink is supposed to open on Saturday. There's some good ice on it already, but a style of flooding that may not work out well. The hose is poking out from under the closed garage door and just lying on the ice with a lot of spray coming out from the nozzle. It looks like it's making a hole where the pressure is greatest.
A caller tells us that when she phoned to find out the status of Irving Chapley Rink, she was told that the rain from the day before had done some damage to half of the rink, and that there would be extra staff on the evening shift to repair the damage with lots of hand-floods. The rain gets blamed for human error, maybe.
At five pm, there's one rink operator inside the building. The ice is thick and hard but bumpy and uneven in the place where the hose must have done its unmanned flooding yesterday. There are also some leaves frozen into the ice -- a common problem everywhere. The rink operator says he'll resurface the ice so that it ends up smooth.
Overcast with sun. The rink had some ice but lots of holes. Mats were laid out to the staff office and the building was open. The staff sitting inside the office said that they had had trouble building or keeping ice because of the warm temperature and the sun. So they decided to shut down the compressors and wait till it was zero degrees. He said that never in his time had anyone tried to make ice so early and that since our winters were getting shorter it would make more sense to just cut down the rink season accordingly. He disagreed with who ever made the decision to have an early opening and said they should be fired.
High 1, low -5
A phone call to find out if the rink was open got the information that it's closed. The informant said that there was ice but that the official opening date was not until Monday Dec.7, and that's when the rink will open.
High 4, low -2
The 311 line says this rink is listed as open, but the rink staff say they are officially closed until Monday, because they feel the ice is too thin. However, he says, people are sneaking out onto the ice.
At 3 pm the rink looked rough, with shell ice and bumps all over it, as well as leaves blowing around or frozen into the ice. The rink doors were open but there were no skaters. A staff person was in the building, sweeping out the daycare room. He said he's the zamboni operator.
When asked about the poor ice, compared to nearby rink that had excellent ice at the same moment, he said that he doesn't do the ice unless a permit is coming, "and permits don't even start until later." He said that the rink isn't really open, "we don't do that in North York," but that if someone got on the ice during the day he "won't call the police" or kick them out.
The zamboni operator was friendly and approachable but he had quite a few strongly-held opinions about how the rinks should be run (everybody has to pay)or whether there should be outdoor rinks at all (emphatically not).
When asked whether I could put up a cityrinks.ca poster on the bulletin board he said, "why not?" but he made it clear that he didn't want to know much about it. He also reiterated that he will not do ice maintenance except for a paid permit.