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Rink opened for the season
Rink diaries from earlier years:
COVID-RELATED RESTRICTIONS: To find out how to book a skating time, go to the city's outdoor rinks web page.
All shinny hockey has been removed except for Greenwood (and only children and youth are allowed there). The city's opening rules are described here and our rinks blog is here.
No skaters, at about 1 pm. Everything about this rink is spread out far. The changeroom is a windowless building southeast of the rink that feels unsafe. There are rubber mats nicely laid out the longish distance between the changeroom and the rink. Beside the far (west) end of the rink is an office where the rink guard sits. At least he has a window!
Some years ago, a community group raised funds to instal a fire cage (instead of the more common open fire circle) to the south of the rink. Now there is a handsome metal shed for wood. There are stones to sit on. The friendly rink attendant says he doesn't know when the campfire is lit, that it has nothing to do with the staff -- its a community group that runs it.
Opened: Nov.24, 2018
The rink has been marked as open until yesterday and then it was listed as "snow removal in progress" (with over 25 cm of snow). At 4 p.m. it was again listed as open.
the Jan.24 message was finally removed.
Rink marked as closed for maintenance between 6.30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. The same message was still on by 9 pm on the city's outdoor rink information website.
Gorgeous sunny (cold) day by the beach. There were 4 skaters when I arrived, two playing shinny, the others just enjoying the nice conditions. The fire pit is in a perfect spot with rocks to sit in around it. A closet with some scraps of firewood was padlocked close by.
The change rooms were in stark contrast to the bright day outside. Maybe it was the glare of the sun but I couldn’t see a thing inside. No windows, an empty cold room with a locker in the corner and benches along the wall.
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.
no entries and no letters
This rink was scheduled to stay open until March 20, but it closed for the season this afternoon.
"Kew open with a flood this morning. 9:00 am. Shinny played at 9 :00 am with about 16 skaters all with helmets."
1 p.m., visit by cityrinks:
There was no supervision, but everything was open, including the change room/washrooms. About a dozen people were on the rink, some pleasure-skating, some playing hockey. Much like the rinks in the est end -- friendly and accommodating. The bulletin board sign (and the city's website) said the rink was also closed on Boxing Day but hopefully it wasn't closed then either. Why close the rinks on the main holidays of the year?
This rink has been closed due to weather quite often, or at least marked as closed on the city's rather unreliable website. On Friday, with 15 degrees and bright sunshine, the ice was covered by a thin layer of water at 12 noon, but that was not different than some other nearby rinks that were open. Yet Kew Rink was locked, with a sign on the gate saying the reason for closing was "soft ice conditions." Most likely the closure is related to the beliefs of the local rink supervisor, not the ice quality.
The photo below shows a smiling skater named Ivy, who said that as of Dec.9, she had been skating 101 times this season already, although mostly on indoor rinks. Even though she was smiling, she was clearly disappointed to see that the rink was locked. She got me to take a picture on her camera, to post on her Facebook page.
The rink was scheduled to open on Nov.28, but it couldn't because of construction delays. From a neighbourhood skater: "There is a sign up no girls' hockey. What they may mean is women's shinny cancelled."
Rink diaries from earlier years:
At noon, the rink was open and in good shape -- it was cloudy and plus 1. Parent-child shinny had 5 little kids in helmets, one middle kid with no helmet, and 6 adults with no helmets. There were three separate games and everybody looked like they were having fun. There was a small fire in the firecage, with a huge amount of firewood, some still uncut in a pile beside. A few dog walkers stopped and looked, but there was a cold wind and nobody lingered.
The sun came out at about 1 pm and the temperature slowly rose to 4, then 6 to 6. Still a cold north wind, but by 3 pm rinks elsewhere in the city started to be shut down for mushy or thinning ice. Kew stayed open, though.
Holiday Hours: the city's rink information website/311 says there will be access to Kew's changeroom/washroom on Boxing Day (for two hours only, 4 pm until 6 pm), but not on Christmas Day or New Year' Day.
"What do you think the chances of the ice being cleared/flooded for tomorrow's (Friday) shinny game at 9:00 am?"
"- damn good question. I see that the city has even marked Greenwood as closed, roof not withstanding. Whereas Wallace Rink (west side of town) is marked as open even though no plough or zamboni has been there at all and there's at least a foot of snow. So you can't depend on the city's info site. But they could surprise you, by coming in early to clean Kew.
Or you could surprise them, by trying to see if their rink phone number still works: 392-0739. (See my blog on bringing back the rink phone numbers."
"The ice was the best of the year and ready for 24 players (5 with helmets) at 9:00."
There was one warm day -- Nov.24, 14 celsius -- and the ice at Kew had trouble. It was listed as closed for two days and then in the evening of the second day, the rink was opened at 9 pm so that a permit could play.
A good opening day. Mostly regulars who are accustomed to sides having 13 players. 5 helmet were worn with the majority of the players wearing shin pads; fascinating! A fairly fast game for the first one. The ice was satisfactory for the first day of the season. Ice-time for shinny on Saturday’s is 8:00 am. Work began to improve the ice surface at 8:00 am; consequently,we did not begin play until 9:00 am.
The rink has smooth ice (with snow patches visible underneath from the recent snow/rain, but solid on top). Ready to go.
Today a frustrating thing happened for shinny hockey players -- they turned up at the rink because the city's schedule had Kew opening today, Friday Nov. 21, with shinny hockey scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2. Since cityrinks.ca has no access to "insider" (staff) rink information, only what's on the city's website, we posted the same opening date. But three days ago the city put an opening date of Nov.22 on the main rink page. The individual opening date on the Kew link stayed Nov.21. We left that date up on our main page but also kept the link to the city site -- with a caution that there were contradictions on that site.
At the time of this writing, 6.30 p.m. on Friday, the individual Kew schedule remains the same -- shinny hockey starting Nov.21 at 9 a.m. But the guys who showed up there this morning were disappointed to find it locked. In the afternoon, the rink management sent two e-mails asking us to change the date. We did -- because by that time we had visited the rink (and five others) and we saw for ourselves that it was not open yet.
But the ice looks okay, the mats are out, and there were four CUPE Local 416 crew there flooding and setting things up. One of them said the ice would be gone by Saturday, perhaps worried about the 5 degree forecast and the rain. But unless the buried snow patches weaken the ice, it should be fine. The pipes under the ice cool it.
On Sunday night and most of yesterday there were snow squalls mixed with rain showers. Today the compressors are on -- and probably they were on yesterday too, because there is a layer of snow stuck onto the rink slab. No sign of any staff starting to hose the rink -- which might be a good thing, since there are marks of ploughing but the remaining snow glued on to the rink slab is still substantial. The temperature is minus 9 with 70 Km winds -- not a good time to hose with water.
3pm- pleasure skating and about 40 people. Zamboni does ice in the middle of the pleasure-skating time. Schedules available to take home outside the door to the rink office. No campfire, rink office staff (1) says he doesn't do the fire. Hockey boxes need garbage cleared. Access to the rink office is very hard because of the ice that has built up between the rink and the office.
4pm - Campfire on and 60 people skating. You can ask the rink staff in the office for spare skate aids. They have duct-taped them where the bolts have gone. They have about 6 of 2 different types. Schedule is posted by the entrance to the rink. Rink change rooms are sex segregated but parents with kids don't seem to follow the rules. Men's and ladies' bathrooms are clean. Lockers in the ladies are 75% functional. Mats to and from the fire spot need cleaning of ice. The mats to the changerooms are in better shape. People can change by the fire which is nice, but a few more benches and a picnic bench would be great (and a garbage can!)
10.25 a.m.: The ice was shiny and smooth, with two skaters going around the perimeter. The change rooms were open and warm (drawback: the change rooms are remote from the rink, and windowless). There was a building attendant in a separate building, who said that -- unlike the rinks in the neighbouring ward -- the Kew Rink buildings do not stay locked in the mornings. When asked if school classes sometimes come in the mornings, he said they used to last year, but haven't started to come yet this year.
10.15 a.m.: The rink was open, and the ice looked fine. There were about six shinny players, mostly young teens and a rink guard who was playing shinny with them. Rink guards know how to get the word out!
The rubber mats were all laid out to the washrooms/change rooms. So were the mats to the campfire site. It didn't have the fire cage in yet but the rink guard said it was coming.
See also: Editor's and Rink Users' blog
Kew Gardens in the Beach was open with a flood ( perfect ice) on Christmas day, boxing day and again today New Years day and the dressing rooms were open but no staff on site. The rink though was posted as closed. Just an early morning flood and rooms opened. Played shinny there all three days at 9:00am with about 15 skaters each day, followed by pleasure skating families.
I played shinny down at Kew this morning Sat. They scraped then flooded at 7:30am and we played at 8:00am. The ice was really good for the first half hour and then it snowed up pretty quickly. They still flood even on warm days and it only takes about ten minute to dry up. Could be the location (a little cooler down by the water in the Beaches) or good compressers, but I think it's just really good maintenance. We had about 20 skaters. Rink maintenance down there is nothing but spectacular. We even played Fri. morning at 9:00am before it rained.