For better use and better management. The UNOFFICIAL Website of Toronto's Outdoor Skating Rinks
Opened for the season
Rink diaries from earlier years:
COVID-RELATED RESTRICTIONS: To find out how to book a skating time, go to the city's outdoor rinks web page.
All shinny hockey has been removed except for Greenwood (and only children and youth are allowed there). The city's opening rules are described here and our rinks blog is here.
Opened for the season
The rink has been marked as open until yesterday and then it was listed as "snow removal in progress" (with over 25 cm of snow). At 3 p.m. it was again listed as open.
Listed as open for the first time this season.
This rink is listed as "delayed opening." A sign on the door says "facility closed until Dec.8 due to repairs." But at 2.45 there was no one around, nor any sign of repair work being done.
This rink was scheduled to open on Nov.24, but late this afternoon the message was changed to "opening delayed due to mechanical issues."
The sign by the door said the rink was closed, but at 10.45 it was open -- it was warm and tidy, with some skaters outside and their stuff inside.
This rink was scheduled to stay open until March 20, but was shut down for the season today.
The rink was closed. The zamboni driver said that there was a problem with the compressors on Monday so they couldn't be started up until Wednesday. He said the rink would be open in a few days.
The rink opened on Nov.29, closed on Nov.30, and reopened on Dec.2.
According to the city's outdoor rinks web page, this rink is still CLOSED since the ice storm (from Dec.22 2013). But in fact the ice has been open 10 am to 10 pm and maintained since Jan.3 (only the building has been closed).
The ice was being scraped and flooded at 11 a.m. The operator said the rink has been open every day -- unlocked every morning at 10 a.m. and locked again at 10 at night. Ice maintenance was limited to scrapes while the water was not going. Now the water is back on and he thought the building would open this afternoon.
The rink is still listed as "closed - no water." But in fact the rink opened yesterday, lots of people skating.
At 10 a.m. the city's website says that West Deane will hopefully open by noon. But it didn't.
The rink is closed, with a sign stating that fact, but with no actual information. There are some city trucks in the parking lot, but they're from Transportation, just meeting up there at their lunchtime. One of the workers says he thinks the pipes may have frozen during the ice storm power outage, which lasted four days in this neighbourhood. But it's more likely that the rink was drained when the power went out, and has not been put back into service.
Our rink rarely gets used during the week, not even by school classes. There are really only 2 schools within walking distance that utilize the rink for school visits and even then, it's at the discretion of individual teachers as to whether or not they WANT to take their classes skating!
Public skate is available Friday night and Saturday/Sunday afternoons, but the rest of the time is taken up with shinny. They used to have Wednesday nights available, but I'm not sure they are still offering it this year (Ed.note: no).
Our parent council holds a family skate night every year in January and this year we've added a Sunday afternoon in February.
It would be nice if there was more use of the facility, though!
The rink is open from 9 am to closing, so that anybody who wants to skate in the morning can change in a warm change room, and use the washrooms too. The foreperson says that the rovers go from rink to rink to check on them regularly/irregularly, but there's not always someone on site. He says that no one behaves badly there, even though no staff are around.
Good ice, no opening date sign.
I took my kids to the rink today to play some shinny hockey as we use the rink for their hockey league every Sunday. We really enjoy the ice there and I read the website to see when the ice was available for Shinny. It said that there was a child and caregiver shinny from 12:30 to 2pm and then a children's one from 2 until 3:30pm. When we got there we were informed that my son who was in full goalie equipment was not allowed to be on the ice as it was a rule, I do not understand this rule and it is not stated anywhere on the website. As we were leaving we saw some teens that were preparing to go on the ice. My question is that how is it that the rules can be broken to allow teens on the ice during the wrong times but my son that was with me and fully equipped was not allowed to play.
Can someone please address these concerns for me....I have 2 boys and they are 8 and 10....There was one other man with a young boy that was looking forward to having a goalie for his son to shoot on. At that point a teenager about 15 came and asked if he could play as well. When we came back there were only older kids there as well as a new set that drove to the arena in their own cars so they had to be at least 16 that were playing during the children's shinny time. There were at least 5 on the ice and another 5 heading in to go on at that time. All we wanted to do was give my sons some practice time and I am not sure why we were unable to do so. Why is there a rule about no goalies during shinny?
The CityRinks visitor found six shinny players on the ice during the children's shinny time listed in the city's website holiday schedule. Five were over age. In the change room, one more boy was getting his skates on, but his mother said she was worried. Four other youth were getting their skates on too, and she said she wasn't sure it was safe for her son to go on if the hockey was going to be older, and fast.
There were two rink guards, who said they would speak to the youth and tell them to be careful and not be too fast. But there were so few kids there, they said (there was one other girl on the ice), and so they didn't want to have to turn all the youth away.
The only public youth shinny time on offer on Wednesdays was in the morning, but clearly the pressure was there from the youth, to be allowed to play more. The rink guards said that Martingrove has no public shinny times in the evening, not even during the holidays.
The rink guards also said that the Martingrove holiday schedule they have doesn't match the city's schedule. But there were no more copies of the local schedule except for one taped high up inside the office window. The writing was too small to read. The rink guards also said that no one could find the website schedule online, but the mother of the boy showed them the schedule on her i-phone.
When asked about the rule saying "no goalies," the rink guards said that the rule was taught to them during their training, because of "liability." However they could not find it posted on any of the schedules or rule boards that were posted at the rink. The guards said that earlier in the week, when a parent had questioned the "no goalies rule" for her child, they had advised her to go to one of the unsupervised rinks nearby and let her son practice there. His reasoning was that on an unsupervised rink there would be no liability issue.
At 3.50 pm. there were 5 shinny hockey players on the rink with one rink guard, all with helmets. there were 9 people in the main change room and 5 more in a side change room, changing out of their full-equipment hockey gear. There was 1 woman, but the feeling was of a male locker-room. The zamboni driver was reading a newspaper in his office -- was friendly and informative about the rink. He said he considers it his job to make sure everyone is wearing a helmet. He said they don't have high numbers for shinny but they have regulars. The scheduled public shinny time is 4 to 5.30, but he says the first permit doesn't start until 7.15 so he lets the kids stay on longer.
report by M Monastyrskyj
2:30pm I arrive exactly at 2:30. As I enter the rinkhouse, I notice that part of the schedule posted on the blue and white sign by the door has been taped over because there was a discrepancy between the sign and the times posted in the Etobicoke (City West Region) skating brochure open pdf. Earlier in the season the wrong times had not been taped over.
The changeroom is big and there are plenty of benches. It looks almost the same as the changerooms at Sunnydale Acres and the Westway. There are three smaller changerooms on the side. There are bulletin boards with recent notices. The Etobicoke rink brochure schedule and other notices are posted on the window of the staff room. The staff door isn't marked, but I think the windows and the notice would make it obvious to anyone that this is the office. The door isn't locked. There is supervised public skating today from 2:30-5pm. It is cold and windy. During the hour and a half I spend at the rink, there are at most 11 skaters on the ice at one time. There are, however, three employees on site: two rink guards and a rink operator (Zamboni driver). A rink guard and two skaters tell me the rink is usually busier. They say it is quiet today because of the cold. The rink is on top of a hill and the guard says this is a windy rink. It's certainly windy today.
When I arrive, there are hockey players on the ice, all wearing helmets. The rink guard says she let them continue playing because no one is here to pleasure skate, but offers to clear them off the ice for me. I tell her I've come to the rink to gather information for a community group and that she shouldn't clear the ice just for me. She is friendly and willing to answer questions about the rink. She is a high school student who works at other rinks at well.
She also works for the Etobicoke Speed Skating Club, which uses the rink on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Membership in the club costs $50 for adults ($30 for children) if you skate only on Tuesdays and $100 ($60 for children) to skate on both Tuesdays and Thursdays. There is also a $20 fee to rent skates for the season. (The skates are kept at the rink.) It costs $5.00 to try it once. A sign on the bulletin board advertises the club. I've also seen signs about speed skating at Martingrove in the West Mall rinkhouse.
While we are talking a second pleasure skater arrives. The guard tells the hockey players to leave the ice. The guard says this is a popular rink because the ice is good. The ice is hard, but I notice some leaves buried in it and there is snow at the ends as well as along the edges. This is snow that has blown onto the ice. Also, the hockey players have left a lot of ruts in the centre.
There was one rink guard on the ice for a short time at the beginning of the public skate period when there are two other skaters on the ice including myself. I ask her if she has to be on the ice when there are only two skaters. She says she supposed to be, but adds it's very cold. The other rink guard comes onto the ice. The two chat for a few minutes and then the other guard goes back in. I notice that he takes the time to put on a helmet and orange safety vest even though he's only on the ice for a few minutes. After about twenty minutes, the first guard goes in. When I leave the rinkat 4pm, both guards are in the staff room with the rink operator. (The room does have a window that gives a clear view of the ice.)
Before leaving, I want to ask the rink operator some questions about maintenance. He confirms the rink has its own Zamboni in a garage and that there is a rink operator on duty Monday-Friday 3-11pm and all day (2 shifts) on weekends as there are at other Etobicoke 'major' rinks. However, when I try to ask more questions, he says he's not supposed to talk to me because he has been instructed to refer all questions to the Media Relations Line 416-560-8726. He says this is to avoid giving out wrong information.
Rink operators at other Etobicoke rinks have been willing to answer questions. I ask him who gave him the instruction, but he doesn't answer. I tell him I'm doing research for cityrinks.ca and that I have been asking questions at other rinks. I ask whether the instruction he received has anything to do with my visits. He says no. He has never heard of the website before today.
1:45pm There is adult permit hockey on the ice. Two of the players also play at Dufferin. The ice is in reasonably good shape but it is lower than in downtown Toronto (South Region) rinks. The ice is particularly low near the boards. One of the players says they weren't able to play at the rink on Monday.
11:15am There is an adult hockey game going on. There is a referee and the players are wearing full equipment. The rink has a large changeroom with windows. The changeroom doesn't have rubber mats, but there are mats on the outdoor path leading to the ice. One of the players says the ice is in good condition. The rink has a tractor to clean the ice.