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NOTE: Cityrinks.ca is not a city-run website -- we're rink enthusiasts who want the city's 53 outdoor compressor-cooled rinks to work as well as they can.
1.I'm looking to rent an outdoor rink for 1.5 hours on Sunday, January xx. Are there any downtown Toronto rinks available for rent? Answer
2. My friends and I were looking to come skating on Friday evening to Greenwood rink. Can you advise whether or not you have skate rental. Answer
2.A. Which outdoor ice rinks at the three CIVIC CENTERS can we rent skates at? Answer
3. Jan 9th 2014 - I have a question, is it possible to skate at Grenadier Pond at this moment. We really like to go than tomorrow. F&M from Holland Answer
4. Jan8th 2014 - I'm wondering if there is a twitter handle or some information tool that I can use to find out up-to-date ice conditions for the High Park skating rink. I went to play shinny the other morning and it was snowed in. Answer
1. What is your policy on Helmets at Toroto's rinks? Answer
1.We have no capacity to do rink bookings, but there are certainly permits available. If you call 311, they will direct you to the right number for Parks/rinks permits.
Downtown rinks that are underused, where it might be easier to get a permit, are Riverdale and Jimmie Simpson. Maybe Christie, maybe Monarch. And then there are rinks in North York that would sell their grandmother to get the permit income. Glen Long Rink, on Dufferin south of Lawrence, is not that far away, and they seem to be eager to book space.
Some of the other downtown rinks have a lot of free drop-in shinny hockey (e.g. Scadding, Dufferin, Campbell, Wallace) and they are less likely to have space for a one-off group booking.
By the way, cityrinks.ca is NOT a municipal website. We're rink enthusiasts, who want the city's 53 outdoor compressor-cooled rinks to work as well as they can. It's sad that there is not more skate rental, not even at civic rinks like Mel Lastman in North York or Colonel Sam in Etobicoke, but there it is.
Sadly, the rinks at Mel Lastman and Scarborough Civic Centre rents no skates. Skate rental locations at outdoor rinks in Toronto are very few, linked here on our website: http://www.cityrinks.ca/wiki/wiki.php?n=CityRinks.HomePageLinks
3. We also post natural ice rinks when people send us photos and stories: http://cityrinks.ca/wiki/wiki.php?n=NaturalIceRinks.FrontPage. So if you go down to Grenadier Pond, please let us know how it is! And if it's too bumpy or lumpy or has holes, try one of the other rinks. Harbourfront is nice: http://cityrinks.ca/wiki/wiki.php?n=HarbourfrontRink.FrontPage, and Dufferin Grove has skate lending, and a zamboni cafe with tasty food: http://cityrinks.ca/wiki/wiki.php?n=DufferinParkRink.FrontPage.
But there are lots of other places too. We would love to get your comments on wherever you end up, through Dutch eyes!
4. Sadly, there is no way to find out whether a rink is open except by looking at the city's rink web page, which is often out of date, by half a day or longer. There's 311, but it uses the information on the city's web page. Each rink has a phone line that could carry local staff updates for that particular rink, but the city does not allow those phone numbers to be published.
The "[email protected]" address you contacted here is NOT a city contact -- we're rink enthusiasts who run a website to help outdoor rinks be as good as they can be. We're not given any additional details to what's on the city's website; we often go to rinks ourselves to find out what's actually happening (but there are 51 outdoor compressor-cooled rinks all over the city -- a lot of driving!). Or skaters send us reports that we post.
I imagine you went to High Park Rink on Monday, after the rain/snow/flash freeze of Sunday evening. The city's zamboni crew have been doing quite good outdoor rink maintenance this season all over the city, but crazy weather like that can really set them back. The rinks got so bumpy and rutted, so it took extra long to repair their ice. (A bit like the airport runways).
Since there are no timely rink updates available, the best thing is to pay extra attention to the weather and wait until snow/rain/ice rain have moved out of the area, leaving an extra day for zamboni repair.
And keep us posted -- if you see that the rink is closed but it's marked "open" on the city's site, let us know, we'll put up that information fast, for other skaters.
I have cc'd the 311 line and the Parks media staff here to remind them of the many emails we get with the same question as yours -- how to get timely information.
5. cityrinks.ca is not a municipal website -- we're outdoor rinks enthusiasts who want the rinks to work well. So we have no power to set any policies. However, we don't agree with the city's mandatory helmets-for-shinny-hockey policy, which is not common in other cities either. We've seen the policy reduce participation and we think it obscures the fact that non-contact shinny hockey has a very low injury rate compared to many other helmet-less sports (notably soccer). Also, the more body armour, the more aggressive the play becomes. We have some documentation here: Helmets.
That said, the helmets policy is not followed in a quite a few of the city of Toronto rinks, or only intermittently followed. For example, at Giovanni Caboto Rink, rink guards finish their shift at 8.30 on week nights, and after that there is only a zamboni driver on duty, who stays in his office. So at that time there is a big crowd of youth who play without helmets. Some other rinks never enforce the policy, others (particularly in Etobicoke and North York), consistently enforce the policy, However, those rinks tend to have very few shinny hockey hours, so it's not much of an issue. For full-equipment hockey, most players choose full hockey gear anyway -- smart.