For better use and better management. The UNOFFICIAL Website of Toronto's Outdoor Skating Rinks

See also Site Map


Citizen-Z Cavan Young's 2004 film about the zamboni crisis

Contact Us!

[email protected]


Website and Privacy Policies

Google Analytics

City Rinks Toronto

Promote Your Page Too

Free Publication

A Manual for Running Compressor-Cooled Outdoor Rinks Really Well. Read more>>

City of Toronto website

wood stove at Dufferin


Rink Diaries Summary, 2008-2009

This page includes this year's recent rink diary entries for Toronto's outdoor rinks. In the individual rink folders you can also find (particularly the south District rinks) entries from previous years. See the individual rink folders for details.

Do you have Rink Diary material to share?

If you have stories, pictures, rink condition updates, a family or community event, etc. to share, send us the material at [email protected], and we'll post it in the rink diaries (subject to editing of course).

On this page:

For more detail, and complete diaries, see the individual rink details.

South District

In this section:

Barbara Ann Scott / College Park

Rink Diary 2008 - 2009

Saturday Dec.6 2008

The City's "rink hotline" says that this rink will open on Dec.13, but it's open on Dec.6. A rink attendant there says he's noticed that there is no compressor sound but there is ice on the most of the rink. College Park has very little drainage, and it's cold, so the water that collected there has frozen. Red pylons mark the cement strip along the edge. The opening sign, still from last year, says December 8. Inside it's cold, but the mats are laid out and the bathrooms are being cleaned.

The rink attendant says he was not told that his shift was cancelled, and the rink coordinator said he never heard about the delay in opening either.

the left-over opening sign from last year

pylons along the cement -- no other sign of explanation

Thursday December 25 2008

The rink has good ice, despite the lack of maintenance -- the rain last night really helped. A couple of kids are playing shinny hockey.

this rink has a heated garage but no zamboni

good ice in the middle of downtown

Sunday February 1 2009

A "girls in science" event has brought an instructor and two volunteers to have a "science of skating" demo at the rink. There are more people at the rink than usual anyway (it's a beautiful sunny day) but the ice is not great, wherever there's sun.

more skaters than usual

mushy enough in the sun to show footprints

Friday February 13 2009

compressor down, no ice

The "rink hotline" says that College Park Rink is closed for the rest of the season due to technical problems. So the bad ice must have been the sign already. Now there's only a big dirty puddle with a bit of ice floating in it. Sad.


Campbell Park

Christie Pits

Sunday December 28 2008

Some rain first thing in the morning, and then the temperature began to drop. But because Christie Rink has no drainage, the rain stayed on. The flying crew came by in the morning and lifted up the hockey nets so they wouldn't sink in. Then they left, without doing any maintenance. The rink program staff had brought up benches for the Sunday campfire, but the wind was too strong. Still, they set up the snack bar inside for the two hours a week it's supposed to be open. People came by but the ice was unskateable, so they left again. No ice maintenance happened until 4.30 pm, a short time before the rink was set to close. Then the crew came and pushed the water off, and the ice was excellent. Too late!

Monday December 29 2008

Ice maintenance: 12.45 and 6 pm

Tuesday December 30 2008

Ice Maintenance: 10 am, 5.30 pm. A busy day at the rink. Sadly, the recreation manager has said that staff are not permitted to rent out skates except for two hours on the weekend. The skates are there, but most of the week no one can use them.

Wednesday Dec.31 2008

Ice maintenance: 10 a.m. only.


City Hall

Nov.28, 2008

The rink is open, just in time for the Cavalcade of Lights, which starts tomorrow. last year the ramp had a "danger" sign on it, and people had to step way down off the overhanging edge to get on the ice. This time the ramp has no such sign. Good!

The ice is back, but no "danger" barrier on the ramp. Better!

Getting ready for "Cavalcade of Lights"

City Hall is one of the few larger rinks that doesn't have a garage for the zamboni, so they've made a little plastic tent for it. The zamboni driver says they have a heater in there, and that it's seldom that the zamboni freezes up.

zamboni filling

zamboni night shelter

December 17, 2008

At 1pm the rink is packed with skaters who seemed to be enjoying themselves. There are 70-80 people on the ice, with more skaters sitting and standing by the side of the rink. Roughly a third of the skaters are wearing rentals. There is a lot of laughter on the ice. The ice is smooth and hard, but starting to get snowy. At 1:25 the two rink guards blow their whistles and ask people to get off the ice so the Zamboni can clean it. After the skaters leave, the Zamboni waits a minute so that a figure skater can do a few twirls for a CITY TV cameraman.

December 18 2008

There's no bulletin board anywhere near the rink. There's an information counter, but it's a private venture and won't take a poster. Nor do they give out the city's own rink schedules for other rinks in the city. Inside city hall there's no bulletin board either.

The city hall staff don't answer the phone to let people know how the ice is. However, the rink rental place (new owner, nice guy) answers their phone and they say if the rink is open or not.

Thursday December 25 2008

At 1.45 pm on Christmas Day, the rink was very full of skaters.

Monday February 16 2009

(Family Day holiday)

All the stores in malls, and all the community centres and libraries, were closed. So the rinks were packed (a sunny day).


waiting for space



Rink Diary 2008 - 2009

Saturday Dec.20 2008

Friday had 15 cm of snow and the rink closed. On Saturday the hockey rink got cleared by early afternoon but the pleasure-skating side didn't get done completely until Sunday. Pleasure-skaters skated in the 15 cm of snow all day Saturday. The zamboni came twice but couldn't get it done and it wasn't enough and the workers got pulled to another rink. There was no plow.

Monday December 22 2008

In early afternoon there were 15 hockey players, 20 people in the rink changeroom and 8 people pleasure skating. Only 4 cars in the lot so it must be walk-ins. Hockey pad looks like it hasn't been scraped in a few hours of serious use but otherwise is in good shape. The pleasure-skating side still had snow around the edges and corners and mustn't have been resurfaced since Sunday because the rink has snow tracked and caked onto the rink from the zamboni wheels. It seems the zamboni only does the east 3/4 of the rink. The rink guard is concerned about 4 places in the ice where there are deep grooves. 2 are from skates that must have been extremely sharp, and 2 are from "vandalism" (kids whacking the ice with their skates making "potholes"). These holes have gotten worse through a lack of maintenance.

The change room still has a couple of problems that are easily fixable: soap in the washrooms. Fixing the wall in the women's washroom. And the men's bathroom may have a problem - the smell of pee was very strong, you can smell it as soon as you walk in.

Friday Jan.23 2009

At 7.50, the rink was quite full -- 26 pleasure skaters, 13 shinny hockey players (just under half in helmets), 18 people changing in the very brightly electrified change room. The building attendant said that earlier in the afternoon he had counted over 100 people on the ice and in the building. This rink is known to be very popular.

There were signs up urging rink users to "respect women's hockey," but the staff said there has never actually been a problem (maybe because they only have an hour and fifteen minutes on Saturday at suppertime). Their problem is slow ice maintenance because their water hose is connected to a narrow (one-inch) pipe and it takes forever to fill the zamboni. However they do have an on-site zamboni and their own driver, so the staff said they don't really use their ice scrapers to clean off the rinks, together with users. But they have two scrapers.


Dufferin Grove

Greenwood Rink

2008 - 2009

Saturday Dec.6 2008

E-mail from women's shinny hockey player M.G.:

"I went to the Greenwood shinny on Saturday from 10am-12noon and we did not get a flood even though there was a zamboni sitting on site (apparently wasn't charged the night before?) AND we had no nets. Funnily enough, the nets arrived in time for Men's shinny time slot just after ours. They were 10 skaters and the ice was anything but safe, there were numerous spots that were uneven and choppy, which caused many skater to repeatedly fall. As the season gets going the numbers will increase substantially, is there any way we could be assured of a flood for our treasured time slot? Nobody wants to get injured as the outdoor season is short enough."

December 10 2008

E-mail from rink supervisor Mark Hawkins

"I supervise 11 of the rinks in Toronto South. Three of the 11 rinks I will have operators on site which Greenwood is one of the three, the remainder 8 will be done by a flying squad. I am currently training new staff and I will have an operator at Greenwood starting on Dec. 20th. I will schedule Greenwood to get a flood this week prior to the 10 a.m. program and you should not have any further issues."

December 11 23008

E-mail from M.G. to rink supervisor Mark Hawkins:

"The ice at Greenwood is looking healthier and much improved since opening day Saturday, however there are still a couple of uneven areas, but over all it's looking very good, I really hope the weather keeps co-operating for you.

However, my email is not about the ice conditions unfortunately, I would like to bring to your attention a serious problem that I sincerely hope does not become habitual for Wednesday Women's shinny time slot for the rest of the winter. A friend and I drove by the rink at shortly after 8 to find that there were approximately 20-30 young men using the ice with 2 or 3 separate groups with pucks on the ice. We waited to go in the facility to put our skates on thinking the operator was just giving them some extra time. We entered the rink at 8:20pm, and I asked Anthony why there were boys on the ice during the women's time slot? Anthony indicated we were the first ones to arrive and offered to clear the ice, I said we can see how it is when we get out there (thinking the boys would give us half the ice or least 1/3 to do our thing). Needless to say, the scene was completely chaotic and unsafe as there were 3 different games going on, one of which dominated the entire ice. My friend and I are experienced hockey players/skaters and by no means beginners, we had no room to skate without getting blindsided or ran into. We expressed our need for some ice as this was our time slot, and we were met with sexist insults and belligerence by approximately a group of 7-10 males. They said since there were only 2 of us and "we can't play hockey anyways" and that we should be the ones to leave the ice.....

It took the staff about 20 minutes to get all the boys to clear the ice and a group of 5-10 males stuck around to berate us the ENTIRE while we were using the ice.....I understand that this rink gets a lot of use in the neighbourhood and an empty sheet of ice should not go to waste, but the women's shinny allotment of 5-1/2 hours per week pales in comparison to the 33.5 hours given weekly to shinny for males 14 and over."

December 11 2008, e-mail from rink program coordinator Marcel Vieira

I will follow up with the staff to ensure that the time slot is committed to women's programming.

I'm sorry that this ordeal transpired.

Monday Dec.22 2008

Staff say there's been a great improvement to the facility - same for ice maintenance. The recreation boss has a great reputation around here. In his tenure the rink got repainted inside and outside. Staff say he schedules them fairly, he got new benches for skaters and always has extra schedules (even holiday schedules) for people to take home! Now that is community minded! Best of all for skaters: new mats have been laid down and a new floor inside Greenwood so that the ante-room part of the changeroom area is totally accessible with skates on. Staff are friendly as usual.

Ice looks excellent - as it should, with a Zamboni driver on-site at all times 6-2pm and 2-10pm. Anytime the staff want a flood or scrape they just need to ask. While the driver is very accomodating the zamboni itself is not always so helpful- it breaks down frequently. Staff say it is the worst machine in the city. Apparently the Local 416 zamboni driver reads in another part of the building during the day, when he's not running the machine. A little more thorough shovelling would be great, especially in the path between rinks to the hockey pad.

On Friday the rink shut down with 15 cm of snow but by Saturday at 12pm it was open again on both sides.

January 23 2009

At 7 pm the rink was in good condition with lots of people on both sides. The staff said that they've never has ice maintenance as good as this year, and that they even feel confident now about permitting out the rink sometimes, knowing that the ice won't be bad.

a big new sign as part of the renovation

The rink has a big new sign at the entryway. Inside it's painted purple -- the staff said that according to the rink names, Monarch should have been painted purple and they should have been painted green. Good point.

There were several big signs, "Respect Women's Hockey." This rink has three women's shinny time slots -- Wednesdays 8 to 10, Saturdays 10 am to noon, and Sundays 11 am to noon. The staff said, "it's only fair to the women, to make sure they get to play and don't get bothered." So the struggle earlier in the season must have been worth it.


Harbourfront (not a City-run rink)

Saturday Nov. 22 2008

Harbourfront Rink opening day Nov 22 2008

little woodstove

A perfect day to open -- minus 6 celsius and weak November sunshine. A lively scene at the rink, with a new addition: a little warming campfire in an outdoor wood stove. One of the staff said the fire was an idea that came down from management. It's a bit off to the side, near the pizza oven, maybe hard to find -- easier if the restaurant decides to serve hot chocolate there. There was a musician playing a guitar, and staff said a storyteller would be coming around five. The only problem was the women's washroom -- on opening day, two toilets had an "out of order" sign on them, and the third was hard to close.

Musician by the fire

women's washroom needs work

December 25, 2008

The rink was open and busy from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Monday February 16

(Family Day holiday)

It was a sunny day, and the rink was really, really full.

crowded on Family Day

so many little woodstoves, inside little fenced pens

the boardwalk beside the rink

maybe the bake-oven gets some use in winter


Harry Gairey / Alexandra / Scadding

Saturday December 27 2008

Mild, 9 degrees, earlier rain showers that left a layer of water on the ice. At 7 pm the rink was fairly dry, even though the zamboni operator said he had only gone on a few times, since he was worried that he might hurt the ice.

Sunday December 28 2008

The ice has been good here for most of the day. At 4 pm, the zamboni operator had just put on a flood, which was surprising given the amount of rain in the last 24 hours. But he said the ice would be shaved down a bit in the next few days to keep it low. And it looked great, with lots of skaters on the shinny hockey side.

smooth like glass

good pond hockey

Monday January 12 2009

view of the rink from Bathurst Street

At 9.30 there were two pleasure skaters, with two more getting their skates on, and sixteen shinny hockey players in a game, plus nine more waiting against the boards. The zamboni driver reminisced about his days working on natural ice rinks in Scarborough, ploughing and then hosing at 3 in the morning. Scarborough has only indoor arenas, with the single exception of the outdoor civic rink at the Scarborough Town Centre. The driver said they kept on making the outdoor natural ice rinks until a few years after amalgamation, and then it ended.

He said he used to play hockey, but now his knees are bad, but he knows guys who still play twice a week, who are older than 70.

Sunday February 1 2009

Bright sunshine, a beautiful day. At 2.45 pm the rink was a bit mushy but not bad, and there was a good shinny game going on, with a fair number of pleasure skaters on the other pad. The zamboni driver said that since he has a small zamboni for this rink, it takes him longer than usual to clear snow off the ice after a snowfall and it also takes longer to flood because he has to go and refill in between.

bench for skate changing --snowed in!

a beautiful sunny day for skating

small zamboni -- cast-off from North York



2008 - 2009

Nov.25, 2008

From shinny hockey player Craig Pardey, about Beginners' Shinny at Hodgson: The good news is that you don't have to sign up or pay a dime; you just show up and play :) The only requirement is that you wear a helmet although most people also wear hockey gloves.

The City usually assigns an instructor to help out with some drills for the first 1/2 hour, and then we play for an hour or so.

There are also other times at Dufferin Grove and Ramsden - both also free and require no sign-up.

Hodgson opens Dec 6, so the first game will be Sun Dec 7 @ 8.30pm Ramsden opens Dec 6, so the first game will be Fri Dec 12 @ 6pm Dufferin opens Nov 29, so the first game will be Wed Dec 3 @ 10pm

Thursday Dec.25 2008

Hodgson Rink was open and staffed on Christmas Day.

Saturday Dec.27

At 7 pm the rink was drying up but still damp. Four skaters. The zamboni driver said he had gone on the ice a few times, but not cutting the ice, only using the cloth to sweep the water.

Sunday March 1 2009

E-mail from a young rink visitor:

We just went to the rink and we were doing a rink survey and when we got there i got on my skates and looked for staff room and for staff because there were hockey players on the pleasure side. there were no markings or signs to tell you where the staff were. So I tried the first door and i went into an electrical room. The second one I opened, and I saw the staff sitting with his feet on the desk, talking on his cell phone. It surprised me to see him like that and i said - "Can you clear the hockey players of the pleasure side so that we can skate." He said sure I'll do that. He went out and cleared it off. Then just walked right back into his room to talk back on his cell phone. Soon as he went back into his room, all the hockey players came back on. I didn't care any more so i just went back to skating. Soon after,10 mins later, he came back out and walked a few feet down the mats and had a smoke, not doing anything about the hockey players skating on the pleasure side and continued to talk on his cell. After that he returned back to the staff office, closing the door behind him. That was the last we saw of him.


Jimmie Simpson

2008 - 2009

Saturday Dec.20 2008

The "Hockey in the Neighbourhood" program is held every Saturday. Yesterday there was a big snowstorm. The program staff asked the maintenance supervisor if they could be dug out first on Saturday. By 12 noon they had their rink back, and they were able to run the program right on schedule.

!Dec.22 2008

8 shinny players, without any helmets. A family asks for skates and a helmet but neither are available. Another group of people complain that the online brochure schedule is incorrect. Schedules are available on site for anyone to pick up and are posted.

There is broken glass and a broken fixture in the men's changeroom. The women's is locked up. Jimmie Simpson has also had a rebuild from Home Depot and the Maple Leafs, including new plastic boards. Are these boards louder than the old ones? Staff report that the new boards require almost daily maintenance.

Although the mats are great, the path to the rink is still covered in snow. There are no benches outside. Staff can't see the rink from their office, which faces in the wrong direction and has no window anyway.

The ice is in very poor shape, staff say they get maximum one scrape and flood per day usually in the early morning. Because of the rain and snow about 2 inches of ice has built up in mounds around the edges of the rink. They need the edger.

Friday January 23, 2009

At 6 pm there were nine kids on the ice, and it was pleasure-skating time. Seven of them were playing British Bulldog. At the edges there was a teenage girl and her much younger sister, trying to stay out of the way. I took a picture of the rink and right away a couple of the kids started yelling about taking pictures. I tried to tell them that they were just tiny stick figures in the pictures, with their backs to me, way down at the other end of the rink. But shouting at me was too interesting to stop for facts. One kid in particular wanted to tell me that his mother weighed four hundred pounds, stood six feet tall, was an "oreo," and would beat me easily. He said that if there was any picture of him on the website, he would shoot me with a supersoaker, "only it won't have water in it."

At this some of the other kids quietened down a bit, and then they resumed their game.

Inside the windowless rink change area there was fresh paint and a new rubber floor. After a few minutes, the teenage girl and her sister came in and took off their skates. They said it was no fun trying to skate with those kids around because they were on-purpose trying to hit them. Another women in the rink house said those kids are there all the time and that they bother everyone and last week were all banned for a few days, for spitting at other skaters.

an island of light in the winter darkness, tilt-and-load in front

Back outside, there were excellent new mats for going from the rink house to the ice. The zamboni truck came up and unloaded, with a huydraulic system that looked much like the dumpster trucks. The zamboni driver said they like that "tilt and load" truck because it's much easier on their backs than a trailer, although their flying squad has a trailer too. He said they used to have two tilt-and-loads, and had even arranged for one of them to be modified to be more useful. But as soon as it was out of the shop, he said, it was requisitioned by the West rinks, and they had never seen it again.


Kew Gardens

2008 - 2009

Nov.21, 2008

[Old message from February 18 2008, only just found] your website sucks can not retrive simple info without severe trouble congradulations just wanted to find places to play shinny hockey in the city what a nightmare using your program ridiculas will cc sanadra bussin but it is not her fault this is typical city of toronto joke and waste of resourses K.S.

Response: Hello -- I just found this message -- did I miss it last February, as the date of the e-mail says? Sorry you had trouble finding what you wanted on the website. But we are not actually a city-run website and therefore you don't need to worry about wasting your taxes (if that is part of your beef).

Maybe if you can let me know which rinks you want to play shinny at, I can copy the information for you. There are city schedule links in the right column of the home page: City Skating Brochures.

Two other possibilities:

1. check out the rink map, then click on the rinks you're interested in and use the prominently listed phone numbers to call them and ask about their shinny times

2. Come to Dufferin Rink and tell us your shinny-locating problems in person. Just don't use the word "suck" -- it's not a fun word, and shinny players are usually pretty much fun.

December 27 2008

There was never an answer to the email above.

On this day: Parent and child shinny, parents say it is the best and that they wish they had more hours, other parents say that during the holidays it is well attended (requiring shifts of little kids and their parents!) but that usually it is more calm. There must be 30 people on the ice. The kids are suited up with hockey pads, jerseys and helmets, most adults have helmets but some don't.

The outdoor information board has a too small copy of the schedule and the brochure which is basically to high for any non professional basket ball player to read and again the type is too small. However efforts have been made: the staff have a stack of schedules available and there is an innovative note on the outdoor board by the rink saying "find staff over there" with an arrow.

Inside the changerooms it is as dismal, although clean, as ever. The ice is good, they are getting a minimum of 3 floods and scrapes a day, sometimes 5. Staff are friendly. Staff have made another invention: they have a sign up sheet for helmets and they put duct tape on the helmets (official ones from the city "Nike") so that people write down their names to borrow a helmet and staff have 6 helmets available!

As usual there is a lot of ice to navigate between the rink and the staff room. Also the pathways to the rink for the boardwalk, Lee avenue and Waverley are not cleared.

Friday January 23 2009

At 6.45 there was a big Montessori School permit on the ice. More parents and little kids kept coming -- looked like it was 70-80 people.

Montessori school arriving for their family skate night

the rink guard said that the permit was taking the place of normal Fiday night pleasure skating. He also said that the ice had been giving them trouble -- there were long deep cracks all over the ice and the rink had been closed for two hours in the afternoon for a special maintenance session. He said that there is an old zamboni from North York in a garage at Kew, but for this special maintenance they brought over a better zamboni. the driver scraped the ice, then gave it repeated "towel-floods," and afterwards the cracks were much less.

The rink guard also said that most of the weekend there's not much shinny.


Monarch Park

Rink Diary 2008 - 2009

Monday Dec.22 2008

About 10 players with zero helmets. The ice is pretty bad, it needs a scrape and flood but the edges are melting from the sunshine, which is made worse because the edges are especially thick with mounds of ice that have built up due to heavy precipitation. The staff have a schedule to hand out and they have posted it all around.

2 staff members are there and one is working very hard on cleaning up while the other is working very hard on being invisible (no staff shirt, no response when spoken to, Ipod on too loud, maybe).

Parents and kids seem pretty happy there but staff say that enforcing the pleasure/ shinny divide is hard and sometimes dangerous because the rink schedule online at is not up to date so people are constantly angry and disappointed.

Monarch had a lesser rebuild, a few new benches and mats but it isn't as obvious as Withrow or Riverdale. Staff say Monarch is the poor cousin since Jimmie Simpson is a priority centre, and Greenwood is a double pad and Riverdale, Withrow, Dieppe and Kew are all in wealthier neighborhoods. There is snow in the hockey boxes and the hard working staff is about to get to it after finishing refilling the soap dispenser. That is right...a rink with soap in the bathroom- that deserves a prize!

There are 3 vending machines, all working now but staff say they break frequently and are objects of theft. There are no helmets available. the ice gets done once a day before 10am usually.


Ramsden Park

Saturday December 27 2008

At 8 pm the rink changeroom had a sign on it "rink closed due to weather." This was despite a City "rink hotline" announcement saying all the rinks were open. The hockey side was wet and showed no sign of maintenance. The pleasure-skating side had four skaters playing hockey, since the water had mostly run off and the ice was fairly free of puddles.

It appears that the area rink supervisor had sent all the zamboni staff home for their afternoon shift, presumably on full pay, and turned off his pager, so that rink staff could not reach him to ask about ice maintenance. By contrast, Rennie Rink had hourly ice maintenance and was able to run an all-day tournament with only one game cancelled. The ice was good there.

A pity for Ramsden, that it doesn't have the care that Rennie gets.

Monday Demember 29 2008

Group e-mail from Gar Mahood:

The bottom line is this. Ignore earlier schedules out there. Adult hockey, New Year’s Day morning, is on for 9am to 11am. Read on for details.

As you know, Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s are the busiest days of the year at Ramsden. But with the cancellation of adult hockey on the mornings of these days one or two years ago and then again this year, teens and adults who want to play were collapsed from two sessions into one on the afternoons of these holidays. The overcrowding has created a situation where there is not enough room on the benches for the players present. Faced with this, players leave early or simply turn away when they get to the park.

One obvious solution is to return adult hockey, largely levels 3 and 4, to the mornings on these holidays. We were promised adult hockey on Christmas and on Boxing Day, but, despite the efforts of a couple of senior city employees, the return of adult hockey did not go smoothly on these days. (See attached report for a description of what occurred. My apologies for the length of the memo but I am trying to keep a comprehensive and detailed record of the ongoing problems at Ramsden.)

There is evidence that the city staff who are involved now understand the problems and are trying to fix them. But there is a lot to be fixed. It is too late to correct everything this year because schedules have been circulated. I secured a commitment a few hours ago to provide adult hockey on New Year’s Day morning. This will also relieve pressure on the afternoon session.

Contrary to what the distributed schedule says, the rink will open early at 9am. By the way, IGNORE THE SCHEDULE DISTRIBUTED LAST WEEK by city staff that was two years old and is marked 2006-2007! Ignore the earlier holiday schedule for 2008-2009 as well. The rink will be open at 9am and adult hockey will take place from 9 to 11am. The kids’ session will follow. This is the compromise reached earlier today.

The city is trying to find staff to open earlier. Even if no staffer is available, I will be given a key to open the rink and change room early. And I will do so. Those who overindulge the night before won’t make it out of bed or will stumble to the rink to shed the hangover. But, if this game goes as it has in the past, the serious types will be there and it will be great fun.

Thursday January 1 2009

11.50 a.m. The game was on, although there were only 11 players, meaning that some of them looked wiped -- two hours with no subs! The rink attendant said he had cleaned the ice with the rink scrapers before 9 a.m. (he said a few people helped), so it was in good shape despite the lack of zamboni staff. On New Year's Day only the Etobicoke rinks had zamboni staff.

a fun game but....

...after two hours with no subs -- bushed!

There were only four kids and a dad waiting for their shinny hockey time, starting at 11 a.m., so nobody seemed to be put out by this schedule change.

January 3 2009

12.45 a.m. e-mail from R.Y. to I live at--- and every night I have to call the non emergency Police to come down to Ramsden rink and get the hockey players off the ice. I do work in the morning and they wake me up EVERY NIGHT. I know the doors are not locked and just the lights are turned off!!!!!!!! Why is THAT??????? Leaving the players on the ice for however long they want to play. I have made numerous calls and nothing has been done.

I would suggest they lock all the doors. And as usual it is 12:45 AM and I will be call the police again!!!

I know nothing will be done, because what can we do it's not our job.

January 3 2009, Response to R.Y. from, cc'd to City Recreation manager Lucky Boothe and [email protected]

The website is not a municipal website, but we are passing on your very understandable complaint to City management (cc'd above, if you want to contact them directly). The Ramsden Rink staff building attendant who closes the building must be directed to also lock the rink gates, since the rink is close to houses and the sound of the hockey playing after hours is disturbing your sleep.

I've just spoken to the Ramsden rink building attendant and he confirms your experience -- that the staff lock up the nets but not the gates to the rink. I'll call them again after 4 pm, to ask if the woman on duty on the closing shift can start the ball rolling to lock the gates when the staff leave at night. It may be that she needs to speak with her supervisor on Monday before she can receive direction to lock the gates, but at least she can become more aware of the problem.

I'm familiar with a similar situation we had at Dufferin Rink. The staff left the gates open for years, until a rink neighbour came over one day and said: "this is wrecking my sleep!!" The neighbour is a strong supporter of the rink but she said that people were playing hockey at 2 and 3 in the morning. So the staff locked the rink at night from then on. Even so, people climbed the fence occasionally. So the rink staff put up a big sign on a chair they set right in the middle of the rink. And when the next night-time hockey game began, the neighbour came over to the rink and spoke to those shinny players, pointing to the sign. This involved the neighbour putting on clothes and going out into the cold, but she said it was still better than lying in bed, hopping mad.

The shinny players told her they were shift workers hoping to have some after-work fun, but they could see her point. These folks are usually not mean, just thoughtless, and it helps a lot for them to see the effect of their noise. (No need to yell, either -- the obvious misery of a person with a bed-head and a pajama sleeve sticking out of their coat can be really quite embarrassing to the hockey players.) After two friendly but firm visits from the neighbour, they didn't come back.

Please let us know if the City staff get back to you and solve your problem, or if it recurs. We will keep on following up as long as necessary, and I think you'll find that City staff take this problem seriously too.

January 3 2009, follow-up e-mail re noise problem, from to R.Y.

Hi there -- here's the first bit of follow-up: I just spoke to a nice rink staff named Annemarie, who works only on weekend evenings (as a rink building attendant). She says they used to lock up the rink last year but now they use those chains and padlocks to just chain up the nets. Maybe they just need to get a couple of new chains and locks and then they can secure the rink at night too.

She have me two numbers that you can call to get this problem fixed:

1. immediate rink coordinator: Danielle at 416 990-1084 2. rink co-ordinator's boss: Jonah at 416 392-1783.

Let us know if they fix it.

January 4 2009

Response from R.Y. to, cc'd to Lucky Boothe, Recreation manager for Toronto and East York

It does not matter whether the nets are locked, they just want to play hockey!! If the gates were locked last year, I do not see why they cannot be locked this year. I have already spoke with Jonah, ( I also went through this last year with him.) Jonah suggested I come up with a solution, LOCK THE GATES! On Wednesday December 31/08 I left a message for both he and Danielle, whom I have also spoke with, very sweet and understanding but I have not heard back from either of them. Maybe they have the week off.

I do not like calling the police every night, but I have to work in the morning, and my work and home life are suffering as a result of this.

January 4 2009, e-mail from to R.Y., cc Recreation manager Lucky Boothe

"The solution is straightforward, as you mention -- staff can lock the gates at the end of every evening shift -- and the line of responsibility is also clear. Please let us know if this problem gets resolved this coming week. Hopefully the Recreation manager for Toronto and East York, Lucky Boothe, will give the necessary direction."

January 6 2009

E-mail from R.Y. to cc Recreation manager Lucky Boothe "Re Update - the staff returned my call yesterday saying locks were ordered? There must be locks and chains somewhere where they do not have to wait for them to arrive. (I did not ask how long it would take) My mistake! I have not heard any more. Last night Monday January 5th 2009 slamming the puck against the boards until 3AM! I am looking older than my actual age."

January 7 2009

E-mail from Recreation manager Lucky Boothe to R.Y., cc

"Thanks for raising your concern of after hour access and usage of the rink that creates issue of noise. Immediately, we will be placing a lock on the rink gates at closure.

Historically, the locks at this location are often vandalized and after hours access becomes a problem. To this end, we would like to monitor the impact of locking the gate and the vandalism that occurs. Should the vandalism persist and the issue of noise continues, we would like to engage in a conversation that provides alternative strategies to dealing with the after hours usage."

January 7 2009k, e-mail from to R.Y. cc Lucky Boothe

Great, Lucky responded. and took the first step.

But if the midnight hockey crew climb over the fence, or find a way to get a key, my offer stands. (We could also tell them about a few rinks that are left open and NOT near houses. Exercise is good, even at 3 a.m., but not at the cost of people's sleep.)

The rec staff at the rinks around here are pretty adventuresome and they were bothered when I told them your "sleepless at____" story. They were ready to come along (on their own time) and negotiate in the middle of the night, if needs be. We all love rink rats -- only we want them to behave well.

January 8 2009

E-mail from R.Y. to recreation manager Lucky Boothe, cc Thanks for responding so quickly but it is 2:30 AM and I just called the police again. this is ridiculas. There are trespassing signs posted, maybe they should be enforced! I am not calling anyone at home to go to the rink, just go to Ramsden rink anytime after 12 Midnight, there is always a game going on!!!. And I am tired of calling the Police (they have better things to do)

Who is putting the locks on the gates?? I think when the lights are turned off no one takes responsibility and It's Not My Job!!!

January 12 2009

E-mail from R.Y. to Recreation manager Lucky Boothe and I have not heard any late night hockey in the last few early evenings. I will keep you posted and I want to say Thank You for all your help in this matter, I really do appreciate it and also for the quick reponse that I received.

Well you're pretty nice to call it a quick response if you've been talking to rec staff since last year and this is your first winter-season week off the midnight hockey. But it's wonderful to hear that it's quiet now. Your idea of locks was a good one, and maybe one of the staff knew the players and shooed them away. Or maybe Lucky got the night-time Corporate Security staff to come around.

January 12 2009, e-mail from to R.Y., cc Recreation manager Lucky Boothe

A couple of e-mails back you wrote that you were looking older than your years from so many interrupted sleeps. I hope your youth is back now! Your e-mails reminded me that warning shinny players about late-night noise is always good -- I put this bit into the Dufferin Rink January newsletter item:

People usually write in about problems, but not always – sometimes they just want to share their pleasure at the existence of the rinks. The problems that hears about are most often related to ice maintenance (see page 6). There are also some glitches with scheduling, and – for a few unfortunate people – there’s late-night noise. Shinny hockey players, if you want to play midnight hockey, don’t do it at a neighbourhood rink! is putting together a list of rinks that are far away from houses, soon to be posted on the home page.

Friday January 23 2009

At 9.30 pm, there was a fast shinny game on the hockey side, and on the pleasure-skating side there were two pleasure-skaters and three hockey players, no rink guards. Maybe the staff shifts end earlier on Fridays.

Sunday Feb.1 2009

On a very sunny day, 2.15 pm there's no sound of compressors running and the ice is mushy. The hockey side is closed and only half the pleasure-skating side is open. The staff say that the compressors seem to be down and they're waiting for somone to come and look.

The zamboni driver shows me the zamboni and tells me she always wanted to drive one, since she was very small. "My dad took me to a hockey game and I said -- that's what I want to do, I want to drive the machine that cleans the ice." She says she's a big Leafs fan, too.

hockey side locked at 2.15, no compressor noise

zamboni garage
Feb1 2009 cc of letter from T.G. to City Councillor Kyle Rae:

After a great skate yesterday morning at Ramsden one of the skaters told me that the City was considering closing the rink and selling the whole park for development. I was shocked to hear this as I consider the park to be one of the City's great assets, apart from one of the principal reasons we just bought a house in this area.

I have been trying to find out more information about this by searching on the web. So far, I have discovered a website devoted to maintaining all public rinks open but no news items on this rumour.

I write you somewhat reluctantly: I don't want to start a rumour but I also don't want to miss an opportunity to advocate for the park should there be a real debate starting on the subject.

We would be grateful for any information on the subject you could provide to us.

Feb 2 2009

Cc of response to T.G. from Mark Wilson, assistant to City Councillor Kyle Rae

Thank you for the note. There is no such truth to what you've heard. There was a proposal submitted by the Badminton and Racquet Club to redevelop the land that the city's facility sits on, this being the Ramsden Works Yard at the south/east corner of the park. This proposal was turned down by the city but may resurface in the future. Only time will tell, but it certainly does not involve the sale of Ramsden Park.


Regent North

2008 - 2009

Saturday December 6 2008

The ice was in and there was a building attendant and a rink guard inside. The rink change area has no windows, so the staff can't see out and skaters can't see in -- creepy. Out at the rink there were zero skaters. The sign announcing the opening of the rink was from last year, and gave December 8 as the date. It looks like nobody knew.

signs from last year

ice in, but rink looks neglected, and nobody came


Regent South

2008 - 2009

Saturday December 6 2008

Regent South Rink was open with a building attendant and a rink guard. Good ice, four people playing shinny hockey. The sign was from last year's closing date. The rink house was light-filled and run-down and friendly as always.

good ice

the closing date sign, still up from last March

January 23 2009

At 5.40 there were eight skaters on the ice and another 5-6 kids inside the rink house. Regent South is always a fun place to start a conversation -- people (usually kids) are polite and they always have interesting things to tell. There was some difference of opinion about when the flying squad comes, but most kids felt it comes twice a day, either at 2 and 6 or at 12 and 4. The ice on Friday was good. The building attendant, whose little brother was also there, said they had a permit last year but this year "nobody wanted one." If the ice is bad, they don't use shovels, since their long green scrapers got broken. They were never fixed.

One of the kids was retaping his stick. They said they can buy hockey tape at the variety store across the street, the Daisy Mart, which stocks it along with groceries.

I asked the kids if they wanted a photo on the web site and at first they said they wanted an action shot, but then they changed their minds. They said I should write that the Regent kids are shy -- but talented.



2008 - 2009

Monday Dec.22 2008

15 shinny players, all but one without helmets. The building attendant says he has 2 donated helmets to lend out, but that people stole the official city ones because they were Nike brand. He hasn't got any new ones. The changeroom has been updated in partnership with Home Depot and the Maple Leafs Players Association. Unfortunately the beautiful blue paint was not reapplied enough to cover the white or yellow underneath and it looks sloppy. But there are new benches and it looks better overall. Moreover the window has been replaced in the staff room so that the staff can look out. The previous window was always covered in posters and was hard to see out of because of the embedded wire and kind of glass. Now only the schedule and the helmet poster stop staff from looking out.

However the staff person is friendly and seems competent. Schedules are available on site for anyone to pick up, and are posted.

not many pleasure-skaters on this holiday

Archives photo of Riverdale rinks 1934: thanks to Chris Short


Rink Diary 2008 - 2009

Saturday December 6 2008

Opening day. The ice was almost okay but it had thin patches near the entryway. Six people skating. The rink change house doors were open but there was no sign of any rink attendant other than a parked car -- knocks on doors produced no result. Much of the rink building and surround looks in need of care and attention -- scraped doors that need paint, a signboard with no information, a deep crack in the asphalt path that's just covered over with a piece of rubber mat.

opening day

thin ice by entryway

signboard with broken information slot

staff car? But no evidence of staff

doors need paint

office door? Sign says "DO NOT ENTER!!!"

January 4 2009

E-mail from R.R. to

I would like to file a complaint with the city about the maintenance of the Rosedale hockey rink. Could you advise me who to contact and how?

The long tradition (10-20 years!) of the same players coming out to the weekend early-morning shinny games (Sat 8-10; Sun 9-11) is in jeopardy this year because of the terrible maintenance of the ice. In the past, the flying zamboni team would clean the ice first thing in the morning ensuring great games. But this season we've faced unplowed snow and rough ice. The rink attendant doesn't let us use the scraper and there's only one (!) shovel for the snow. One morning we shovelled and scraped with whatever we could find for 1h and could only play for's a very sad state of affairs when the kind of cameraderie that has developed over the years is threatened because of city's indifference.

January 4 2009, response fom to R.R. is not a city website, as you may have noticed already, it's external. But I can certainly tell you who to contact.

Your complaint is not unusual, and people in various parts of the city are trying to solve these kinds of things at their neighborhood rink, e.g.: Ramsden Rink.

One problem seems to be a very uneven distribution of outdoor rink ice maintenance staff. All single-pad central Toronto neighbourhood rinks except for Kew have been recently downgraded to "minor" rinks, while in Etobicoke those rinks are called "major" (like our double pads). The many single-pad hockey-board rinks in Etobicoke have on-site ice resurfacing staff and vehicles for 9 - 14 shifts a week, leaving the central single-pad rinks with the crumbs (flying squads that come twice a day on good days, often less).

The new acting general manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation, Brenda Patterson, recently defended the present situation in writing: "The start-up this season has gone very well, with only a few minor disruptions....Staff is pleased with the availability and assignment of equipment and believes it is more than sufficient to support the needs program across the city." Her whole letter is here.

It would be very helpful if the general manager heard from other rinks that it's not working as well as she seems to think. However, in case City management never do get it to work this season (despite the considerable cost of the large and well-paid ice maintenance staff complement), shovels and scrapers are a big help. At Dufferin Rink we (rink users and on-site rec staff) fought the "battle of the scrapers" some years ago. As a result, the director at that time put out a citywide memo explicitly permitting rink users to work alongside rec staff to clean snow off the ice. However it seems that a number of rinks have slid back into the old approach of "NO."

The rink staff at Dufferin, Christie, Wallace and Campbell rinks have worked out a shovel protocol and have already begun to do regular supplementary ice maintenance, since the City is demonstrably not able to deliver an adequate level of maintenance at the central rinks (not even all double pads). You could ask Parks to supply Rosedale Rink with a total of three green rink scrapers (two single-size and one double) and four snow shovels, plus a letter of permission to use them. The person who can get you the shovels and the letter is the ice maintenance supervisor for your area: Peter Leiss.

The person who can clarify the on-site building attendant's role in supporting the manual ice clearing with the best shoveling routine is City recreation manager Lucky Boothe . He may wish to send the Rosedale rink staff to Dufferin Rink for a quick training refresher with the rink staff there. Lucky would also be responsible for ensuring that any staff reluctance to support rink users is remedied.

And the address for the general manager is [email protected]. Drawing her attention to your problem is perhaps the best way to make sure it gets immediate attention. And -- of course -- gaining the support of your city councillor is always helpful: [email protected]. He must be very aware of the issues you're facing, having dealt with them for so many years at Ramsden.



Sunday February 1 2009

E-mail from L.S. to Recreation supervisor Dave Hains

I again visited Ryerson rink this morning (Sunday Feb 1st, arrived 11:30 am). No rink attendant, building locked, schedule missing from door.

Attendant (young, female) showed up at 11:45 am. This week's quote: "I'm running late - I called my supervisor".

Aside from myself there were two parents with small children waiting and another single adult skater waiting. By 12, 2 other adult skaters had arrived. So there is interest in using this rink. It sends a very negative message to users when the building is not open on schedule. Two Sundays in a row is not a coincidence, in my opinion.

I would like to add that the ice was freshly flooded and in perfect condition - now we just need a rink attendant as advertised.

Wednesday February 4, 2009

figure skater

zamboni doing circles around the rocks

At 2 pm the rink was smooth and there was a figure skater on it, doing wonderful routines around the rocks. The building attendant was sitting inside with a friend. He was courteous in his replies but not interested when he heard that this wonderful skater was outside. The inside looks shockingly squalid. There's scribbling (about cockroaches?) on the beautiful rock faces that make up part of the walls. The staff desk looks junky. One slight improvement has been made -- two of the nasty-looking opaque plastic windows have been replaced by glass panes, so that you can see a strip of the outside.

Click on image to enlarge it.

the builders and donours of the rink

The inside of that place could be fixed up with a good cleaning and a little paint and a little respect for the design, there could be coffee and hot chocolate on a table in the corner, the rest of the sun-damaged plastic could be replaced by glass -- and the whole thing would look 100% better. When???

At 4 pm the figure skater was gone but the zamboni was there, doing careful circles around the rocks, making the ice even smoother. Two skaters were waiting to go on.

Thursday February 5, 2009

E-mail from Ryerson Rink friend L.S. ("Ryerson Rink Yenta"):

In keeping with my decision to try to use the Ryerson rink more regularly and keep an eye on conditions there, I visited on two weeknights Tuesday Feb 3 and Thursday Feb 5th. On Tuesday around 7 the rink building was open and attendant present (if somewhat surly) but ice had not been cleaned or resurfaced all day according to the attendant. There were about 5 adults other than myself waiting to skate and the ice was covered with snow and had dangerous soft areas. The zamboni operators arrived while I was there and we all waited for about 20 minutes. The ice was then beautiful and everyone had a great skate. I met 3 "new Canadians" teaching themselves to skate. I wonder if any level of government takes account of the importance of the outdoor rinks in improving the quality of life for newcomers.

Thursday evening was the first time in recent visits that I have encountered both clean ice AND an open attended building upon arrival. However it was 20 below with the windchill and no one but me was foolish enough to be out skating!

Monday February 16 2009

(Family Day holiday)

E-mail from L.S.

Today is a perfect skating day, with bright sunshine and a temperature that's not too high or low. I visited the Ryerson rink between about 12 and 1 and there were at least a dozen skaters, including several families with children and one man I recognized from my figure-skating club. Apparently one of our club coaches works at Ryerson and also uses the rink . This rink may be an orphan but it has interested friends out there.

Unfortunately, the ice conditions at opening were not up to an acceptable standard, except around the perimeter of the rink There were more than 6 craters in the ice surface. When I complained, the attendant quickly placed chairs and cones on the largest depressions, and called in a supervisor who promised it would be fixed "within a day or two". Fixed today would be better, but alas, we orphan-rink supporters cannot be too demanding.

I am happy to report that the building was open as scheduled today (noon) and the attendant was a truly charming gent who says he's 45 but looks 25! Maybe he was pulling my leg...

The visitor was also there. L.S. pointed out the craters in the ice, and they looked pretty deep.

skating around the craters

Alex, the rink co-ordinator, has a friendly talk with L.S.

One of the skaters told L.S. that she was an interfering busybody and so was the cityrinks visitor, and they should both mind their own business. This was on the basis of overhearing the complaint about the craters. His bark was worse than his bite, though -- he said he loves the downtown rinks, except for Nathan Phillips Square Rink, which is too crowded. He was unenthusiastic about anything like skate rentals, which he felt would bring more users to Ryerson Rink. It turned out that one of the best things about the rink, for him, is that so few people use it. Fair enough! But nevertheless, the rinks are expensive to run, and they need better care. The huge rock that forms part of the change room wall is marred by graffiti. And the place needs paint.

graffiti -- or the truth? on the inside rock

paint me!

Thursday February 19 2009

E-mail from L.S.: The CityRinks visit to Ryerson rink on Family Day seems to have borne fruit, as the ice was beautifully smooth tonight. When I first arrived (7:30pm) I was disappointed but not surprised to see a thick coating of fluffy snow from this afternoon's storm. I cleared a track for myself using the shovel from the rink building. Around 8 the Zamboni team arrived and did a proper clearing. The ice did not need flooding - it was perfect, and I skated around the rocks enjoying the night (if not the wind).

The attendant told me the maintenance squad had been to the rink at 11 and 3 today, so this was an (unusual) third visit. The zamboni operator was very insistent that the attendant log their visit. Perhaps this is due to some pressure from higher up? Whatever the reason, the result was a rink in nice condition tonight. Too bad no one else braved the cold.

Sunday March 1 2009

E-mail from L.S.: Another beautiful day for skating outdoors: clear, cold and sunny. I arrived at about 11:15 am. Once again, door locked and no sign of attendant. One other adult skater on the ice. I put my skates on outside. At 11:30 a female attendant who is often working on Sundays appeared, standing outside the rink building door talking on her cell phone. As she has two other Sundays in the past, she said she had called a supervisor to report she was late. This time she said it was due to a death in her family.

It is hard to tell whether this young woman has valid personal reasons for being chronically late opening the building on Sundays, but it is not acceptable from a rink user's point of view. While I was inside the building she asked me to speak to her supervisor Alex, and handed me the phone. Alex apologized for the inconvenience but seemed to share the worker's point of view that as long as lateness is reported to a supervisor, everything is fine.

While this was going on a family of 4 arrived and two more adult skaters for a total of 8 on the ice by 12. The ice was not in acceptable condition, had evidently not been resurfaced and was covered with holes bumps and soft areas. I stayed around the area until 1:30 today and no sign of zamboni team. Of course, everyone was enjoying skating despite conditions, but my companion and I were not able to skate very fast for fear of tripping on a hole.

I was sad to leave as this is the final day for the season at this "orphan rink". I hope my complaints have at least made the City staff aware that there are concerned users who care about the state of the Ryerson rink.


Trinity Bellwoods

Wednesday December 24 2008

Snow followed by rain: no maintenance.

Thursday December 25 2008

No maintenance, not skateable.

Friday December 26 2008

The plow came in the early afternoon, the zamboni after that -- skateable by about 4 pm (report from rink neighbor).

Saturday December 27 2006

Off and on rain-showers especially in the morning. No ice maintenance at all.

Sunday December 28 2008

An early-morning rain shower put some more water on the ice. Then the rain stopped, but there was no ice maintenance at all. At 3 pm, pleasure-skating time began. The three hockey players who were on the ice were asked to get off, so they left. A father and his little daughter stayed. The zamboni arrived on its trailer, and one of the two zamboni guys went into the rink house. He came back out shortly and got back in the truck, and they left without doing any maintenance.

ice pretty good, but big puddle at the end

zamboni guy leaving, without resurfacing the ice

Thursday January 1 2009

early evening at Trinity Rink, January 1

There were pleasure skaters on the ice and two rink guards in the building. The ice was rather snowy, since there had been no ice maintenance since yesterday, but the rink guards said they are not allowed to use shovels to clear snow off the ice. They said there used to be those big green rink scrapers at Trinity Rink,. to clear the snow off the ice, but they had been removed so that no one would use them.

Sunday January 4 2009

From the Karen MacKenna for the Friends of Trinity Bellwoods:


Well, after some false starts this inaugural season - sincere apologies - looks like today the weather (no rain!) is smiling on us. By all accounts the hot choco will be served up between 3pm and 5pm today at the rink. All skaters and sledders welcome!

Please, BYO Mugs if you can. We will supply eco cups if you forget.

I will host the initial Sunday and Patricia Arseneau has agreed to share alternate Sundays with me. But we welcome and encourage any volunteers who would like to take on a shift during the 12 week season. Please contact me at[email protected] you are interested).

Patricia Arseneau was serving up the hot chocolate (organic Camino, and free!)and there were plenty of people interested. But just as she poured out the first cup, the freezing rain began. However, there were still skaters on the ice. Soon this bad weather luck has to turn.


Karen MacKenna and friend giving hot chocolate advice

Patricia mixes it in

free hot choclate, just as the rain begins

Wednesday January 7 2009

At 7.45 pm the rink is open but very rough. There are hockey players on the ice even though it's pleasure-skating time.

Monday January 12 2009

At 9.00 pm there was a very fast women's shinny game -- there were only nine players, though, and it looked like they might run out of wind playing at that pace, with no subs.

Monday night women's shinny

so fast, and no subs -- how long can they last?

The building attendant said that there's a women's instructional shinny class before that game, which today had six people.

The poster that had been tacked to the bulletin board inside the rink change area has been replaced by a city outdoor skating schedule. The supervisor for this rink is quite certain that the cityrinks poster is unauthorized, and that only authorized notices must be put up on city property, i.e. bulletin boards at public rinks.

Saturday January 17 2009

Ice maintenance: apparently NONE.



October 5, 2008

Soon after the ice melted in early March, the very popular BMX bike course was set up again on the rink. At the end of March, two of the wooden platforms caught fire and burned fairly dramatically. The cause of the fire -- accident or arson -- was never determined.

BMX track before the fire, March 25, 2008

Fire damage to Wallace BMX track, March 29, 2008


2008 - 2009

Monday December 22 2008

Fresh paint outside and on the boards and the snow has been well shovelled. The new benches and wooden staircase still look great. There were 12 pleasure skaters and a happy scene. Ice is in great condition, they are serviced by the flying squad.

Monday December 29 2008

30 shinny players, about 1/3 with helmets. 3rd scrape and flood of the day. Skaters are happy.

Saturday December 27 2008

From the City's "rink hotline" "Due to flooding at Withrow clubhouse this rink is not operational today."

January 9 2009, e-mail from M.G. to

"I went to Withrow Park last night in hopes that there would be enough bodies for spirited game of shinny as when I initially drove by there were no skaters on the rink, much to my surprise there were about 10 skaters waiting in the rink house. They weren't allowed to on the ice to skate as there was a couple inches of snow (pond like conditions) and in dire need of a hard scrape/flood. I noticed the frost build-up along the boards is getting bad and could pose a serious problem later in the season if this cold snap continues.

The rink attendants said they dispatched the flying squad at 3pm to service the rink, as of my arrival shortly after 6pm, there was still no call back from city dispatch. This same discussion was being had with the rink staff/patrons as more and more ladies showed up to skate only to be disappointed.

I left the rink at 6:45 after waiting around in vain in hopes of the flying squad making a timely arrival, and there were still MORE women showing up to play, I would say there was at least 20 women turned away. Why are there 2 rink attendants on site getting paid to sit around on the tax payer's dime when the rink apparently hadn't been safe enough to use for AT least 2 days?! Talk about a ridiculous waste of money!

Women only have 2 hours per week allotted for shinny at this rink and apparently this is NOT the first time this season that the rink has fallen into complete disrepair and had to sit idle due to lack of maintenance.

Is there any way we can get the ice to be safe and useable for the rest of this very short outdoor season? Who is the maintenance supervisor?

January 15 2009

E-mail from M.G. to rink supervisor Mark Hawkins

''I was just wondering if you would be able to tell me if the Women's Shinny timeslot (6pm-8pm) at Withrow Park will actually be happening today? I tried to call today but couldn't get a straight answer from anyone, I was given 4 different numbers/people to try, with no luck.''

I also tried 416-338-RINK but that was fruitless for information regarding current ice conditions.

I just don't want to show up & be disappointed or waste my time, like I have the last 2 Thursdays I have showed up to play. Any news would be greatly appreciated.

M.G. said that Mark Hawkins got back to her right away, and that the ice was excellent.

Friday January 23, 2009

light in a dark park

At 7.30 pm there were 10 skaters (pleasure-skating time) plus four more changing into skates. Inside there were four guys in the staff office, only some of whom seemed to be actually on duty. They were very helpful about me putting up the poster, offering stick pins. Their bulletin board also had the sign, "Respect Women's Hockey," and another longer declaration of social inclusion.

They said that they get ice resurfacing usually twice a day, sometimes only once, and that they never know when the flying squad is coming. That also siad that they never use scrapers or shovels on the ice because they are not allowed to. If people piled heaps of snow on the sides, a puck could get caught underneath the zamboni, and then the Local 416 guys would be angry.

They took the shoveling bulletins and read them with interest.


North District

In this section:


2008 - 2009

Friday January 23, 2009

At 9.10 pm on a mild winter night, there are 12 pleasure-skaters, enjoying one of the rare programmed public skating times. In the community room beside the rink there is a large and lively group of disabled kids and families, who can look out onto the ice through the big picture windows.

On the rink change room door there is a sign saying that the rink is available for extra drop-in skating whenever there is neither a program or a permit, but that pucks and sticks are never allowed during that time.

The zamboni driver says that the youth are really unhappy about having only two hours a week to play drop-in shinny (the remaining two hours are for little kids). On the rink office desk, there's a clipboard with a long sheet of permit slots, many of them blank for this day. Apparently the way it works is that anyone who pays, gets the permit, so there can be 20 people wanting to skate, and somebody might book the time for three people. As long they pay, the ice can be taken by the three people and the twenty are turned away. The zamboni driver says that on those occasions it feels very strange -- an empty rink, lights blazing, staff on duty -- with only a few people skating around on their own.

The economics are not impressive. Broadlands Rink, with its hustling approach to selling permits, earned $16,526.56 in permit income in 2008. That makes it the third highest-earning rink in the city. But the City estimates that the full cost, for the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division, of running the 49 outdoor rinks for the 3-month season is $5.7 million. To recover its assigned share of this cost, Broadlands would have had to earn at least $121,000 -- not close to realistic for outdoor rinks.

So the gap between income and cost is huge. Broadlands Rink currently dips into the public purse for an extra $104,474 in tax funding per season to deliver a meager 12 hours of public drop-in skating a week. At the same time, it has more staff and equipment than many rinks that offer ten times that amount of public drop-in skating.

It's time for this to change, and for City management to treat this 80% tax-funded rink as a public amenity for all the citizens for 80% of the time. Broadlands Rink should set a realistic income target and beyond that, open its gates to the many youth who love to play drop-in shinny, at the rink their parents' taxes fund.

Monday February 16 2009

A meeting at Councillor Minnan-Wong's office, with North York Recreation manager Costanza Allevato and Recreation supervisor Wendy Jang. The question was: how can Broadlands rink get more public drop-in shinny hockey than their current 4 hours a week? Wendy explained that signs had already been made that would allow more public skating including shinny hockey. However, she said she had become concerned about future problems with the new schedule and had held off posting them so she could seek advice from both Risk Management and Parks ice maintenance managers. There was still some uncertainty but she was willing to post paper signs in the interim, to allow the additional skating and remove the rule against ever using pucks and sticks during the unsupervised times.

The question was raised about prime time public skating, and Councillor Minnan-Wong said that there ought to be a fair balance, and that the "first principle" in considering this ought to be "maximum use of public resources." It was agreed that this would involve an analysis of the current permit schedule.

The question was raised whether it would be possible to introduce a skate-lending program to increase use in public times. Recreation management felt this would be problematic because of a city policy against cash-handling by staff.

beautiful little community centre/ change area

this rink has its own zamboni and staff on-site 14/7

Friday February 20 2009

E-mail from to North York Recreation supervisor Wendy Jang:

no pucks or sticks

Hello -- to follow up from Monday's meeting about Broadlands Rink:

I went there this morning hoping to take a photo of the banner or the new signs. I was surprised to see only this paper poster (photo excerpt):

"No sticks or pucks on the ice" -- so nothing has changed, still no additional shinny hockey. Can you let me know if it will be changing?

Also, the day after we met, the Dufferin Rink staff got a directive to work toward conforming with the city's cash-handling policy. Since there is no city computer at the park, this will take some working out. However, I assume there's a computer at Broadlands, so the rink staff could enter all income and expenses easily. Here is the December skate balance for Dufferin Rink (as you see, it pays for itself, especially if staff can do most of the rentals as part of their regular shift -- all staff have tons of spare time, including Local 416 staff.

Friday February 20 2009, e-mailed announcement from North York Recreation supervisor Wendy Jang:

Attached is the revised skate schedule for Broadlands AIR for the remainder of the season. A temporary (paper) sign has been put up effective February 19, and all location staff have been advised of the changed schedule. Installation of the permanent sign to follow.

Friday February 20 2009, e-mail from to North York Recreation supervisor Wendy Jang:

That's a good start. Three questions:

1. Did Chapley and Glen Long get the same paper signs, or only Broadlands?

2. I see that none of the non-program shinny hockey times are in prime time, i.e. none after 3.30 on weekdays, and none on weekends. So no open shinny for school kids, nor for youth, nor for working folks. Is that because prime time is 100% permits?

3. I see that all three North York single pads are scheduled to stay open to March 15. Will they be keeping their permit schedule for the extension as well? If not, that could be a good time for shinny players (little and big) to get extra ice time in the evenings (daytime is often mush in March). Can that be arranged?


Glen Long

Thursday January 1 2009

There was never an answer to the e-mail offering a "rink open for public skating" sign for the holidays.

The City's holiday rink schedules showed many outdoor rinks in Etobicoke and central Toronto open for New Year's Day. But it said that North Toronto outdoor rinks, except for Mel Lastman, would be closed.

The North York rinks were as good as their word. Despite the nice weather, and despite outdoor rinks in other parts of the city being lively with families and "Happy New Year" wishes exchanged among neighbours, Glen Long Rink was locked, with a new sign: Rink Closed. There was no other sign explaining when the rink would be open again.

Rink Closed, plus duct tape

view from the rink -- there are lots of people living nearby

January 14 2009

In the afternoon the rink is open but there is still no outdoor sign re hours, "welcome to the rink," etc. No evidence of any skaters or rink staff either.

doors unlocked but not a soul in sight

Irving Chapley

2008 - 2009

Tuesday December 16, 2008

3 pm - bumps and shell ice -- not maintained
Click on picture to enlarge it.

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 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.

Wednesday December 17 2008

E-mail to City outdoor rink manager Kevin Bowser, from Yesterday at 3 pm on a rink visit to Irving Chapley Rink, this was the situation: [link to Dec.16 report].

I assume that a zamboni operator is assigned to an A.I.R. on a morning shift to maintain the ice, and the operator can't make an independent decision not to do so at all? (You may want to click on the ice photo enlargement).

Also it would be good if your A.I.R. staff actually support public outdoor ice rinks, but even if they don't, they need to be familiar with the current policy -- i.e. that the rinks should be accessible for free, unsupervised drop-in skating when not scheduled for either programs or permits. This operator seems to be unaware of that policy, even though (rink friends tell me) the Mayor emphasized it in a recent radio interview.

December 18 2008

E-mail from City outdoor rinks manager Kevin Bowser, to I spoke to the Supervisor regarding this email. The staff you spoke to was filling in for one shift. Staff have be trained on the protocol that are at the facility on a regular basis.

December 29 2008

Letter from rink user P.M. re Irving Chapley Rink:

"I think this arena is amazing and has such great potential for a major attraction in North York during the winter months. I've seen the ice in good condition over the years and its a blast playing there. However, I have not once this season seen this place maintained properly. The 14 ice maintenance shifts each week must be spent inside that newly built community centre, and not to mention how the phone rarely gets answered.... (they still have outdoor pool information on their answering machine) Its unacceptable. A few weeks ago the worker there refused to take the zamboni on the ice when I wanted to play with buddies cause he said it would ruin the surface."




Friday December 12 2008

Aty 2.15 the rink had 7 shinny hockey players at one end, three pleasure skaters, and a large family of eight more skaters just arriving in the rink change house. The rink is so long that the shinny hockey players and the other skaters seem to be able to share the ice without bothering one another. The rink change area is clean and inviting, with lots of benches and a great view of the ice.

long rink with a little bridge going over it

shinny players at one end

December 29 2008

Letter from Ledbury Rink:

Recently we were invited to play shinny at Ledbury with 2 other families and when we arrived at 2pm and put on equipment the zamboni driver insisted there was no shinny until 4pm. On the parks website at Ledbury park there is even a picture and a description of part of the ice for pleasure and part for shinny and how well this works.

How do these seemingly arbitrary decisions about ice usage get made? How is it that these other two families were playing shinny the day before but not allowed to the day we all arranged to meet??

I have tried calling the number on the website (Elvie @ 416 395 6004) but she is on holiday! why would she be on holiday at the height of her busy time? Her voice mail left two other numbers - no one is answering even though it is Monday! Where is a proper schedule?

We are trying to keep three young boys busy outdoors over the holidays and your lack of coordination and community communication is startling and extremely frustrating.


Mel Lastman Square

Rink Diary 2008 - 2009

Sunday November 30, 2008

Mel Lastman Rink was supposed to open yesterday, according to the city web site and the staff report to city councillors. Until Friday, the city's "rink hot-line" still carried the 2007/2008 schedule information for this rink. Then the message was changed to say that Mel Lastman Rink would open on December 6. Confusion!

The reality is even more confusing. The rink has ice, with snow on top. There are skate marks, but at 11 a.m. there's only a little kid with his toy tractors, pushing the snow around. The city should take a leaf from his book -- Mel Lastman Rink needs a tractor, or even better, a zamboni, to deliver on the city's promises.

A hunt for staff to find out when maintenance will happen leads into the former city hall building, which is open but ghostly empty. Finally we encounter an older gentleman, who directs us upstairs to the security desk. He says, there's no one working here today -- come to think of it, there's no one working here any other day either!

Snowy ice attracts a little kid with his toy tractors

ghostly empty

Upstairs there are two security staff at the desk. The sign above their heads says "Access Toronto." But sadly, they don't know when the rink is supposed to open and be maintained for skaters. No one has told them. But they think that maybe the ice has been in for a week already. They've tried to tell would-be skaters to stay off it, but they say it's impossible -- the skaters just come back when they're not looking.

interesting interlocking rubber tiles

North York seems to have careful approach to materials, if not to people. Their rubber times are all laid down for the skaters -- very nice interlocking tiles, like jigsaw puzzle pieces. The outdoor rinks in other parts of the city would love to have some of those.

Click on pictures to enlarge


North Toronto Memorial

Otter Creek

Rink Diary 2008 - 2009

Friday December 12 2008

At 2.30 pm Otter Creek Rink had 21 enthusiastic shinny hockey players on the hockey side and another 17 on the pleasure-skating side, with many more in the players' boxes. They said it's exam time (the rink is right by Lawrence Park Collegiate) and a lot of the kids had the afternoon off. What better thing to do than play hockey?

A mother who was there with two young children said that normally the rink is pretty quiet on weekday afternoons. She didn't mind that on this day both rink pads were full of shinny players -- they were letting her little boy play along with them and the mom said -- this is one of the best days of his life!

Lawrence Park exam time

little NHL hopeful -- the perfect day at the rink



East District

There is only one outdoor rink in Toronto's East District:

Albert Campbell Square

2008 - 2009

Sunday Nov.30 2008

Albert Campbell Square Rink was scheduled to open yesterday, according to the city web site and the staff report to city councillors. And it did open yesterday, with very good ice. There were three skaters on the ice today at 11.30 a.m., and three rink guards -- a luxurious ratio of 1:1.

The rink guards said that yesterday wasn't very busy either. That may be because of confusing information. The city's "rink hot-line" still has the end-of-season message from last March, and it ends with the message: "Leisure skating will return weather permitting in December 2008." It then directs rink users to the Access Toronto line, as though that was a direct line: "For information at this location, contact Albert Campbell Square at 416 338-0338." But that line -- it's just the city's central information line downtown -- is only active on weekdays between 8 and 5.

Excellent ice, few skaters

Rink guard to skater ratio is luxurious

Tuesday Dec.2 2008

The "rink hotline" message still has the same last-season message on it, saying the rink is now closed and will open again in December. Since it's a weekday, the Access Toronto line was accessible, and they said that the rink is open, and that they would look into the glitch on the "hotline."

Wednesday Dec.3, 2008

Hurray, the "rink hotline" message has been changed to say it's open. It sounds friendly and inviting. The assistant to the Ontario Minister of Tourism sent an e-mail inquiring about City Hall rink, so we sent him a link to this rink too. Its location is dramatic, and the ice is very smooth.

Monday Dec.8, 2008

At 9.30 pm the rink is unsupervised but the music is on and the ice is good. There are six youth there in the semi-dark, three hanging out and three skating. One of the skaters is practising his backward skating, very gracefully.


West District

In this section:


Wednesday December 10 2008

unsupervised shinny hockey, what a thrill

The rink is in the middle of a big open space behind an apartment building. At night it's visible from far away because of the bright rink lights and the steam rising from the condenser. The ice looked good, despite bad weather yesterday (rain mixed with snow). At about 7 pm the rink had 25 youth on it, skating around or talking. A few girls, mostly guys. Almost half seemed to be smoking. There was no adult at all, nowhere nearby either. The mood was merry, lots of ribbing, but it didn't sound mean. Some of the kids remembered having their photo taken last year, and they commented on its having been the "featured picture" on the homepage for some time.

Sticks were thrown into the middle and then suddenly there was a fast game. There are no boards, and the ice doesn't even cover the whole tennis court -- on one side there's suddenly cement -- but it didn't seem to bother anyone. A few kids wore helmets. Most didn't.

shrine for a murdered youth

Outside of the rink, against the chain link fence, was a shrine for 17-year-old Boris Cikovic, who was murdered near the rink in early October. There was a hockey stick, a basketball, some lanterns, a photograph, a plastic wreath, and a little printed description, maybe from the funeral.

A rink maintenance staff person came by to check on the rink. He said that there had been many layers of water put down to get the rink ready, "every day, every day, we were out here" and he was clearly pleased at the results -- good ice and a rink full of kids, playing shinny. The memorial is right beside them, and at least some of the kids must have known this talented young hockey player. But as long as there are kids and places where they can play, life goes on.


Giovanni Caboto / Earlscourt Park

January 14 2009

The entryway to the rink

It's minus 15 at noon and there are not many people on the ice on this cold day. As usual, it's hard to get in, since the front stairs continue to be unshovelled and so a rink user must squeeze in between the street construction trailers and a portable toilet. Once in, I was impressed to see some guys playing shinny despite the cold. I took a picture, and then another one. One of the players skated over and shouted at me: "what are you doing? why are you taking a picture?" I explained that I wanted to put up a photo showing that Canadian shinny players are tough enough to play shinny in the extreme cold. But he cut me off, angrily pointing to the metal City Policy sign with all the rink rules -- "can't you read? You're not supposed to take pictures!"

Then I recognized him as a rink guard. "You work here? You're not supposed to be playing hockey on your shift!" He said he could play hockey if he wanted. I told him he was very rude. That was the end of it.

cold weather hockey

the cityrinks/ca poster is gone

He was probably not working at that moment anyway. I think that in the daytime, they just have the rink operator in his unlabelled office, not a second person. But I think the rink guard recognized me as the person who contacted the supervisor about the unshovelled steps. Not that it seems to have made any difference.

I went by the front foyer, but the door was closed as always, no one in sight. The sign that I had put up on the bulletin board last time was gone, though.

The feeling one can get at that rink a lot of the time is of a boys' clubhouse, it might as well have a "private, keep out" sign scrawled on it. But it's not private, it's a public rink, and the question is -- does anyone in the administration care?

E-mail from to City Councillor Cesar Palacio, Jan.14 2009

This is a photo, taken today, of the entrance to Giovanni Caboto Rink, the outdoor compressor-cooled skating rink in your ward. Giovanni Caboto is a great rink, and there's a much nicer main entrance, but that entrance is kept locked. The rink staff feel that they don't want to shovel the snow off the steps to the front doors. So people have to squeeze in between the construction trailer and the portable toilet, walk over the snow, and go in the side gate.

I have let Parks management know about this problem but it hasn't changed in a month -- perhaps they might attend to a request from your office? I've cc'd them on this e-mail, as you see. If the front door is re-opened and there is a warm welcome to new rink users, perhaps Giovanni Caboto will start having more skaters again. It used to be very popular.

January 15, 2009

E-mail from acting rinks manager Dave Chapman to I will look into this for you right away and get back to you as soon as can.

January 19, 2009

E-mail from Parks supervisor Dave Chapman to Please excuse me for taking so long to get back to you, but the Supervisor (Mike Hindle) of that area was away and has just returned. Mike has provided the background as I remember from the time when the new building was built. The fact is that the building was meant for providing change rooms for the Outdoor Pool and the AIR was more of an after thought. The change rooms for the access to the pool run off the hallway which is the AIR change area in the Winter. During the summer when there are more staff in place there are always staff in the building. Unfortunately in the Winter the rink staff are expected to be out on the rink and for that reason they want to be aware at all time who is entering and exiting from the Building. For security reasons they keep the doors closed so that nobody can slip in or out without being seen and thereby eliminating any chances of illegal activity in the building while nobody is there.

When I spoke to Mike this afternoon he advised me that he had spoken to the Port-o-let people who are trying to get the toilet removed from the location altogether to provide an easier access to the rink. It might be 1 or 2 days before they can take care of it, but they hope to get it moved before the end of the week.

January 19 2009, e-mail from to Parks supervisor Dave Chapman

The front doors at Giovanni Caboto Rink have been used for decades, and they do not look like an afterthought. There's an excellent stairway and a big "Artificial Ice Rink" sign that's part of the original building (see photo attached). As for supervision -- there is always a zamboni driver on site and his office door is right by that entryway. The drivers are usually in there. It's true that there is no window in the office door, and the door is always shut, but they can prop the door open --yes? Lead hands are supposed to deal with the public as part of their job.

I well remember how active that rink used to be and it's very sad how it has slid in the last few years.

You will note that (happily) keeping the front doors locked is not common at other Toronto outdoor rinks, except for West Mall. And the zamboni staff told me the front doors are locked because it's not their job to shovel the stairs, not because of the reasoning you have advanced here.

May I post my query and your response on the big empty bulletin board at JJP, to see if other rink users can see the point of this locked door? I would need explicit direction from management to JJP rink staff, giving permission to post, since I was cautioned by an irate young off-duty rink guard about taking the outdoor skating photos on here (I was actually trying to show that there's some life in the rink despite the obstacles).

Please let me know if you give this permission.

January 19 2009, e-mail from Parks supervisor Dave Chapman to

I will speak to the staff at the rink, but as far back as I can remember that door is never opened in the Winter. I will get back to you.

January 19 2009, e-mail from Parks supervisor Dave Chapman to

I am still looking into this and I have now been advised by Recreation staff that the gate which opens to the ice surface should be closed and the glass doors opened, except during a flood. I am still working on it and will get back to you with confirmation as soon as I can.

January 21 2009

E-mail from to Parks supervisor Dave Chapman Tonight when I passed by Giovanni Caboto Rink, the stairs had an access-way cleared and the front door was unlocked. Good stuff, thanks for solving that problem.


High Park

Rink Diary 2008 - 2009

Nov.19 2008

To from High Park rink user S.H.

Winter is in the air and the skating season is upon us, so I got to reading your report cards for rinks. It reminded me of an issue at the High Park rink from last year, and it occurred to me that you might be good folks to mention it to. They had set up, for a good part of the season, skate mats that went down the hall and into only the men's changeroom - none into the women's room at all - not to get there, and none in the room itself. The men's room, on the other hand, was covered completely with mats. Not cool. And very unwelcoming to female skaters.

I know that several women took to moving the mats each time they came, so perhaps this will be remedied this year. Here's hoping...

Nov. 19 2008 From to Kevin Bowser, Parks manager of outdoor artificial ice rinks (A.I.R.'s)

Copy of Sarah Hayday's e-mail, plus comment: Fyi -- if this situation was because the skate change area is meant to be unisex, sounds like some better signage is needed, maybe? And still, there would need to be mats to the women's washroom. Sounds like there is a bit of a shortage of mats, citywide.

Nov.19 2008 From A.I.R. manager Kevin Bowser to

Thank you for your e-mail. I am on vacation and will be back on Monday, December 1st, 2008.

If you require immediate assistance, the following Supervisors will be covering during my absence: During the week of November 17th, Helen Sousa Tel: 416-392-6599. During the week of November 24th, Barry Latanville Tel: 416-394-2487.

Nov.19 2008 From to Paul Ronan, Director of Parks

The website got a rink request which I forwarded to Kevin Bowser as manager in charge of rinks -- I am surprised to see that the manager in charge of rinks is on holidays exactly at the time when all the rinks are starting up -- so I am passing this on to your office, with a request to forward it to the person in charge of preparing High Park Rink for the skating season.

Nov.20 2008

From Director of Parks Paul Ronan to, cc Helen Sousa Certainly. I will forward to helen Sousa who Kevin has clearly identified as the contact during this time. Take care

Nov.20 2008 From to Director of Parks Paul Ronan

Sorry, my mistake. Ms.Sousa, the rink user has asked that we post her letter and I'd like to post the solution as well -- good news is always welcome -- could you keep me posted?

Nov.20 2008 From Director of Parks Paul Ronan to, cc Helen Sousa

Helen should be in touch with you if she has not been already. I spoke to her personally about this.

Nov.20 2008 From Helen Sousa, Parks Supervisor for High park, to

You are correct in assuming that the intention was to only have one unisex changing room for the purpose of changing into your skates and this is the reason why only one room is fully matted. I would agree with you that better signage to indicate this could be provided. We will work on this for the upcoming season. We will also provide matting leading to the women's washroom.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.


Humber Valley

2008 - 2009

Wednesday December 10 2008

7.30pm -- the rink had good ice, a bit snowy but no problem for skaters. A dozen youth were on the ice with an instructor, having full equipment hockey drills. They had an odd drill where two lines of kids on either side of the rink shot pucks back and forth to each other while other kids took turns running the gauntlet down the middle, trying, I guess, not to get hit. Nobody raised the puck so it didn't seem dangerous, but it was different.

Inside the change room there were another dozen younger boys just changing out of their equipment, and as soon as they left, another crew of kids arrived to get ready for their time.

The rink operator said that the Humber Valley Hockey Association has the ice every evening, and it was those kids who filed in and out according to their time.


Lambton Kingsway

2008 - 2009

Wednesday December 10, 2008

At 8 pm the rink was covered with snow and locked.



Prince of Wales

2008 - 2009

Sunday December 7 2008

huge skyline at Prince of Wales Rink
Click on picture to enlarge it

This is one of the most impressively located rinks in the city, with a huge view of the lake and the Toronto skyline. At 11 a.m. The ice was in excellent condition, but there were no skaters. The front door had no sign announcing the rink opening date. The rink operator was friendly and informative, though, and said they had been preparing the rinks for two weeks already. So it was no wonder that the ice was so much better than at the downtown rinks, some of which had only three days of preparation.

The rink operator said she hopes to get together a rink staff hockey team to play for fun this season. She said that that one of the rink guards at this rink was a former member of the Canadian Women's Hockey Team -- so the pace of the hockey ought to be pretty fast.

Wednesday December 10 2008

At 6.15 the ice had 12 young shinny hockey players playing a lively game, with a few other guys moving their own pucks around in the corners. The schedule says "public skate," but there were no pleasure skaters.

Friday January 9 2009

shinny with a view

At 1.30 pm there were some guys playing shinny on ice that was a bit skated up but not bad. The change room was open but there was no sign of any staff. Outside the front door there's a sign about hours but the sign may not be right, since there's no mention of permits or a program schedule. There's also a garage, for the ice resurfacer, and another tractor parked outside, with a snow blower attachment.

each "major" rink has its own tractor for snow removal

confusing sign?



2008 - 2009

Wednesday December 10, 2008

pre-amalgamation rink staff truck

At 8.15 pm the rink was shiny from just being flooded. A rink maintenance guy sat in his truck nearby. He said he had just done a flood and that he'd be doing one more before his shift ended. He said Queensway hadn't opened yet for the season but would open the next day. he thought there might have been a compressor problem that delayed the rink opening,. He also said they have equipment breakdown a lot -- we're still using equipment from the sixties. His truck looked more recent, but it had the Etobicoke pre-amalgamation logo "Parks and Culture" on it.

The rink has only one weak streetlight to see by, no proper rink lights, for night-time skating. Maybe that's because it's very near houses.

Thursday January 8, 2009

Despite the rain and snow yesterday, Queensway Rink was in good shape today and the guys playing shinny there said the ice was fine.


Rennie Park

Wednesday December 17

At 8.30 pm the large parking lot is full to capacity -- it's girls' hockey night and every change-room is full. Lots of parents/friends watching, some standing beside the rink and some looking down from the changeroom above. The snack bar is open, staffed by three young guys who say they're doing this as volunteer hours. Zero healthy snacks! Just chips and chocolate bars and pre-wrapped cookies. They say that on Saturday the menu is more varied, even including toasted bagels.

Two hockey teams on the hockey side and 17 pleasure-skaters on the other side.

The zamboni operator doesn't know when this rink was cleared from last night's snow -- but when he came on duty at 3 pm, it was all done. He says he cleans the ice often, up to five times a shift.

girls' hockey

rink house windows with a good view

Saturday December 27 2008

At 4.30 pm the rink was in good condition, although the weather was foggy and mild. The zamboni driver said that this was the second day of a hockey tournament and there had been a different game every hour. To prepare for the tournament he had come in at 6 a.m. and worked on the ice for three hours. Then the games had gone on, and despite the showers and the mild weather, only a single game had been forfeited -- all the other games were played.

ice almost three inches thick

The ice was about an inch lower because he had shaved it every time, but that was not a problem, the operator said, because it had been over three inches thick already.

Unlike almost all the other rinks in the central-Toronto area, this rink got maintenance, and therefore it had no water on it at all.

The operator said that the staff of this particular rink try to keep the ice not too thick, and sometimes when they know they want to shave ice, they run off the compressors at night so the ice will be a little softer in the morning, and easier to shave.

Thursday January 1 2009

The rink was really full of people, the big parking lot had no spaces left. There was a big shinny game and there were lots of people skating around the tree. The ice was excellent -- the zamboni driver said he's been assigned to work 10 to 6, all by himself -- no rink staff at all! He said it's strange to have only himself there as staff. But the scene looked verv friendly, lots of Happy New Year's, nobody acting foolish, so that they would have needed direction from a rink guard.

The zamboni driver said that they have not lost one day all season so far.

the view out the rink clubhouse window

skating around the trees

Wednesday February 11 2009

A rainy day with a high of 8. Closed technically all day long, because of weather forecast of torrential downpours -- so they cancelled all permits in west and closed all rinks. Yet at 1:30 seemed solid, a little wet, a concrete worry near boards patched up. 7pm good condition, ice dry, still closed technically but allowing people to skate if they wanted to.

Thursday February 12 2009

At 10.30 there was water in the center on the hockey pad but the sides were freezing up well (good drainage). The drainage was even better on the pleasure-skating pad and it was more or less ready to be skated on. The zamboni driver was just about to go on. Open from early afternoon.

yesterday they chopped open all the drainage holes

smooth ice, around the tree



2008 - 2009



Sir Adam Beck

2008 - 2009

Sunday December 7, 2008

beautiful ice, no public access

The rink opened yesterday, and the ice was perfect. But at noon it was empty. The rink operator said that a permit had ended at 11.30 and public skating was not scheduled to begin until 2.15. So he had turned a man away who wanted to skate at 11.45. I said, why? He said that it was all about insurance, and the threat of lawsuits. I told him that there had only been two rink-related claims against the City in ten years, both related to full-equipment indoor-arena hockey leagues, one a body-checking injury, one a fight. He said, even one injury is too much. But then he added that he was just starting to work at the outdoor rinks, and he'd have to check with his supervisor on Monday to see if it was all right to let people use the rink outside of the scheduled times.

December 8, 2008, e-mail to Kevin Bowser, manager of City Outdoor Rinks, from

On the weekend I was at Sir Adam Beck Rink and a man had just been turned away from skating even though the rink was not in use. The lead hand told me that he hadn't been told during his training that he could let people skate outside of scheduled public skating times, if there is no permit. He therefore turned that skater away, but said he would check with his supervisor today. Could you let me know whether that rink issue has been clarified: are there rinks in the city which are kept locked for certain hours of the day, in case someone might later on purchase a permit for that time slot?

December 9 2008

E-mail from Kevin Bowser, manager of City Outdoor Rinks

Have asked the Supervisor to follow up with the LGH. Can you be specific about the day and time you were at Sir Adam Beck?

* Note: "LGH" may refer to the "Lead Hand" designation of the ice maintenance staff.

Decmeber 13 2008

E-mail from to

Kevin Bowser, manager of City Outdoor Rinks

The exact time of my visit to Sir Adam Beck Rink on Dec.7 is in the cityrinks blog here. Your supervisor will have been told about the time by the rink maintenance staff, if he asked. My question as I asked it in my e-mail did not relate to one specific time but to a policy, so I will repeat it here: are there rinks in the city which are kept locked for certain hours of the day, in case someone might later on purchase a permit for that time slot?

I would much appreciate finding out the answer.

[no answer came]

Friday Janaury 9 2009

ice waiting for people

At 4 pm the ice was empty but it bore the marks of skaters, and the kids were just getting out of school next door. Some kids were asking the rink operator through the fence -- "is there shinny for kids now?" He looked it up in the schedule for them, and sure enough, it was their shinny time. They hurried away, presumably to dump their school books at home and grab their skates.

The rink operator showed me the equipment -- there was a tractor with a plow attachment, which he said hasn't worked for some months, and a Champion ice resurfacer on another tractor. They also have a smaller unit that can be used to blow snow off paths.

He said that if it snows, they usually bring a plow over and have it cleared fairly fast.



Sunnydale Acres


Rink Diary 2008 - 2009

Wednesday Dec.10 2008

The rink was in very bad shape after two days of unsettled weather including a day of snow mixed with rain. At 7 pm it had been plowed but not scraped and there were big holes all over it. Even so, two young boys were skating in between the holes, while a man was putting his skates on. When asked when the busiest time of this rink is, they said -- all the time.

A zamboni driver said that it's a popular rink, but that the neighbours living nearby don't appreciate the shinny hockey noise and there have been times when someone has poured salt ion the rink.



West Mall

Rink Diary 2008 - 2009

Sunday December 7 2008

At about 1 pm the hockey side had about 8 adults and 8 kids playing hockey. It looked like a parent-child program but it might not have been because that's not in the schedule. The ice looked very good, although one parent worried that it was a bit thin. The boards have the Home Depot and Maple Leafs logos in quantity, and there's a special sign up on the wall. The impression one has is that West Mall Rink is there because of those two corporate sponsors -- but it's unlikely that they cover a fraction of the cost.

good ice, lots of logos

on message

big rink, sparse users

There were only four pleasure skaters, and it was a cold wind. Inside, the rink was clean as always, but monotonous, with not many people there, no food, no services, no neighbourly chat. The donours' paint job had painted over the bulletin boards, so they were no longer notice boards but just clean white surfaces. Antiseptic!

The rink maintenance worker was very friendly, though. He let parents stand and watch the hockey in the office, because it was cold outside and the office had the best view. He said he's not a lead hand nor an APO2 -- he was just helping out because they were short-staffed.

One odd thing hasn't changed from last year -- the main entrance, facing toward the street and close to the bus stop, was locked. There was a track of footsteps through the snow, leading from where the bus stops, along the long front wall of the building, to the edge of the car parking lot, and then onto the path that leads to the rink-side door, the one that's unlocked.

January 22 2009

E-mail to Parks manager Kevin Bowser from

Wonderful that Giovanni Caboto got its front doors unlocked and the steps cleared of snow. If you look at the subject line, I've altered it to underline my other question about West Mall Rink ["All-season locked front doors at West Mall Rink"] -- can those front doors also be unlocked, since they provide safe, direct access to the bus stop?

No response.

February 18 2009

4.30 pm. The front doors at West Mall Rink were still locked.

February 19 2009

E-mail to Parks manager Kevin Bowser from

Yesterday I saw that the front doors at West Mall Rink were still locked -- was that just an oversight for yesterday or is it a policy?

I just want to give you a chance to check into it before tomorrow's meeting with Councillor Davis.




hosted by | powered by pmwiki-2.2.80
Content last modified on December 22, 2008, at 07:53 AM EST