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


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

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Custodians:

Welcome to The Unofficial Website of Toronto's Outdoor Skating Rinks

There's nothing like outdoor skating

A project of CELOS (*)

McCowan Rink Profile

Built: 2015, but pipes were damaged at start-up, so the rink will have to be rebuilt in 2018
Compressors: unknown, but new
Current equipment: under construction in 2016/2017.

Opening: hockey pad opened Dec.9, 2017, for shared use
Closing: TBA

Rink change area: Bright and warm, with good visibility toward the skating surfaces

Staff: lots, courteous

Helmet use: leisure skaters under six

Cityrinks.ca position paper: is the city's helmet policy in need of an update? Should little kids be forced to wear only CSA approved helmets?

Maintenance: appears to be well maintained

Public Skating: see schedule


Comments about this rink: e-mail us at [email protected].

 
 

Rink Diary

2017 - 2018

Jan.5, 2018

The rink seems to be running fine again.

Jan.2, 2018

The city's website has a service alert for this rink. saying that "shinny is cancelled due to broken boards." Boards are tough but they can break if the zamboni runs into them....

Sadly, the city's website schedule for this rink was not up to date and now it has disappeared entirely.

Jan.1, 2018

the Aggreko cooling unit

This rink had a problem starting up, and will need to have its pvc pipes replaced this spring/summer (they carry glycol to freeze the ice). For the moment, there is a temporary rink on top of the existing hockey slab, supplied by a global equipment rental company called Aggreko, headquartered in Glasgow Scotland. The company rents out energy equipment worldwide including at combat sites and for natural disasters. Their sports rentals include equipping Olympic sites, but also making temporary rinks: example.

The skating trail, also needing to be rebuilt, is fenced off and covered with snow.

The tour:


nearby parking

a lot more parking

skaters walk along the road....

...and along a well-shovelled fenced-off path...

into a sunny changeroom with lots of windows...

...but a glass barrier with a little hole for talking to staff

Today there were four staff in the office, and because it's hard for rink visitors to hear what staff are saying, through that little hole, the staff invite skaters to come to the office door and talk from there.

Certainly the large glass barrier -- with just that little hole for talking -- reinforces the current city fashion of making the rink staff act like security guards rather than like welcoming recreation workers eager to help people learn how to skate. Permission to take a photo of the office window was only granted when it was certain that there would be no person in the photo. Rink staff are trained to focus on enforcing special helmets for shinny hockey and kids under 6, and preventing photography of skaters.

Funny.


There is a well-shoveled fenced path to the hockey pad...

...which is shared-use for this season

Staff were very friendly but clearly under-employed. They said that the rink has not been very busy -- no surprise -- since the temperatures have been very low. At the time of this visit, it was a bit warmer -- minus 10 and sunny -- and some people were skating.

When told about the Cityrinks loaner skates offer, the staff said that the reason why the city could never do skate lending was most likely "liability." The magic word.

 
Dec.27, 2017

9.45 a.m.: called 311 to let them know that the McCowan snow removal service alert is still posted there. It was corrected in early afternoon.

Dec.24, 2017

The "service alert" notice has been posted on the city's website, unchanged, for the past three days: covered in snow, snow removal in progress.

December 15, 2017, William Burtch, on Councillor Crawford's Facebook page

Staff have stated that they had the snow clearing issue which took far longer than they hoped due to misuse of the rink after hours (rink was utilized over night while snow covered, the public electing to clear the snow into the boards) which necessitated staff to hand clear the majority of the snow from the rink instead of utilizing equipment. Staff had mechanical issues with the ice resurfacer and last night there were electrical issues and the ice rink lights would not come on.

Staff is working very hard to overcome all of the issues and are committed to providing the posted service hours to the community.

Dec.10, 2017

The skating schedule on the city's McCowan Park web page shows skating hours (mostly pleasure-skating) beginning today.

Dec.9, 2017

The city's web page says the rink will partially open on Dec.9. However, it was marked as closed all day -- but Mayor John Tory was shown on TV at suppertime, skating there.

 


Loaner skates at Wallace Rink, 2014
September 11, 2017

A letter was sent to the city councillor, offering a donation of a complete skate loan collection for this rink.

Our reasons:
* people love to borrow skates: newcomers, school classes, kids and youth who grew out of their skates
* we have 110 skates, 20 hockey sticks, 20 helmets to donate
* this kind of program has been done by city staff for 12 years at Dufferin Rink, 9 years at Wallace and Campbell -- lots of experienced staff, each one teach one
* staff often have time on their hands to lend skates and also to maintain skates
* the city has insurance that can cover this (the city is self-insured under $5 million anyway), but skate lending programs are rarely threatened with a claim if they do responsible skate maintenance.

Offer declined.

 


Announcement on the McGowan Park web page:

Unfortunately, the opening of the ice rink and skating trail has been significantly delayed due to the failure of the refrigeration system. The failure of the piping became apparent when the contractor began to start up the system in preparation for the scheduled January 2017 opening. It has been determined that the refrigeration piping embedded in the concrete slabs failed. Investigation has found that the piping blistered, expanded, fractured and broke in some locations, however, the exact reason for the failure of the piping hasn't been determined. Investigation into the causes and possible solutions is ongoing.

The damage is significant, and the City expects the complete rink and skating path will need to be rebuilt. This will take approximately five months and cannot begin until weather permits. It is the City's expectation that the rink and skating path will be rebuilt at no additional cost to the City. Skating in Winter 2017-2018

The City has arranged for a temporary refrigeration system to be installed on the rink. This will allow skating at McCowan District Park in early December, weather permitting. The skating trail will not open this year.


 

diary entries from earlier years:

2016 - 2017

On the city's outdoor rinks web page, the McCowan District Rink link now says "closed for the season," with this announcement:

We regret that the new ice rink and skating path will not open as planned during the 2016/2017 skating season due to technical difficulties encountered during construction. The new rink's opening will be delayed until the 2017/2018 season. Our apologies for the inconvenience.

Jan.17, 2017

The councilllor comments on the delay.

Jan.1, 2017

On New Year's day, the sun shone on the new rink construction area. There was a wide opening in the barrier fence, with many footprints of others presumably looking to find out what stage the new rink was at.


Jan.1: wide opening in the fence, hockey rink on the left
 

the rink change area

large hockey rink, looks close to ready
 

lots of seats for spectators

where the skating trail meets the hockey rink
 

lomng oval skating trail

skating trail goes around a landscaped centre
 

zamboni garage door

office inside changeroom

The office window appears to have plexiglass with a small porthole for staff to speak to the public -- for staff safety?! The rest of what could be seen though the change room windows looks like modernist benches and coat hooks and washrooms in blond wood. No space for skate rentals or snacks or neighbourly socializing. Too bad.

 

full length windows, easy sight lines to rink and trail

equipment still waiting for installation
 

See Read more

Views of the rink

See schedule on city website.

The paper schedule at the rink is as follows:

Pleasure skating:

weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 5 p.m to 8 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday: 12 noon to 9p.m.

Shinny hockey:

child 9 - 13: Tuesday and Thursday, 4 p.m.to 5 p.m.
youth 13 to 18: Monday Wednesday Friday, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
child and caregiver: Sunday, 10 a.m. to 12 noon
adult 19+: Monday Wednesday Friday, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.,Saturday 4 p.m.to 5 p.m.
Women 18+: Tuesday Thursday,8 p.m. to 9 p.m.

 

To see the report card, click here

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Content last modified on February 07, 2018, at 12:08 PM EST