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Rink diaries from earlier years:
Opened for the season
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: Nov.24, 2018
The rink has been marked as open until yesterday and then it was listed as "snow removal in progress" (with over 25 cm of snow). At 4 p.m. it was again listed as open.
We walk over to Dieppe now that weíre inside Danforth Tech. Itís about equidistant to Monarch and Dieppe, but Dieppeís change areas are brighter with a better view of skaters. Itís also open reliably in the morning and they have lots of skating supports. As a double pad (mini-trail and shinny rink) we donít have to worry about hockey scheduling. And with all-day, all-ages shinny scheduled during school hours, we have the chance to introduce the better skaters to shinny.
Well, there goes our plan for the beginning of semester 2 PE class at Greenwood Secondary School!
I walked over with my group of grade 10 girls this morning to be locked out and to see this notice. Too cold for non-participants to sit around and wait outside. No rubber mats from the benches beside the locked building to walk over to the rink. Not a solution to allow enthusiastic rink users like our students to continue skating at this time. So frustrating, since we've been doing this for years and could finally rely on an open building with washrooms and heat for non-participants as well as the lovely plastic skating supports our newcomer students so badly need.
We enjoyed 10 periods each of skating with 6 different grade 9 PE classes in December and January. Unfortunately we learned that the washrooms in the rinkhouse were being vandalized during hours it wasn't staffed. (Not by Greenwood students). I wish they would just staff it during the morning hours. It is in such a prime location for school use.
They had some problems with the pipes under one end of the rink when I first contacted you, and that problem was fixed.
We have benches in the change rooms (and the local baby boom has the rink well used, especially on weekends).
Iíve just come from my kidsí school, helping organize their skate loan library. They have 110 pairs of skates and 40 helmets for families to sign-out. I hear itís well-used. Greenwood school has also started skating at Monarch for their PE classes.
This rink was scheduled to stay open until March 20, but closed for the season this afternoon.
Just arrived to Monarch Park 10 minutes ago for some "Shinny hockey +18" people was playing there "Shinny: Caregiver & Child" and suddenly when they finished they closed the rink because of "soft ice"... So we couldn't play today and go back home...
We skated with our afternoon classes. There was a lot of water on the ice but underneath it was fine. Our classes left at 2:45pm and then 30 students returned at 3:15pm for after school skating to find that the zamboni crew had closed it.
A class went this morning. The ice was great. We've got 2 more classes scheduled for this afternoon, as well as after school skating.
Teacher Sally Bliss wrote that she had asked the rink program staff if they could open the building so that classes could come to skate today. He said he would make sure it was open, and Sally says it was! A promising start to the rink season.
When we visited at 11.30, everything was still open, although the ice was starting to get some water on top -- it was 12 celsius and sunny. But under the water the ice was fine. No one was skating, but Sally said she planned to bring another class over in the afternoon. Later that day, the rink was listed as closed, on the city's website.
A problem with the HOLIDAY HOURS: it appears on the city's rink information website/311 that almost all of the city's rinks will have their changerooms/washrooms locked on the three main holidays: Christmas Day, Boxing Day (yes!), and New Year's Day. You can skate on most of the rinks but you can't get your kids out of the cold to change their skates and you can't take them to the washroom. This is true for Monarch Rink.
What's the message here -- "you should be drinking, not skating" -- ?
The teacher got word that the Monarch Rink changeroom/washroom will be unlocked at 9 a.m. every morning so that the students can change and get warm as needed. Problem solved.
It appears that there are a number of downtown rinks that keep their changerooms/washrooms locked during school hours, making it difficult or impossible for teachers to bring their students skating. Is there bad blood between Parks and the TDSB? The rinks in Etobicoke allow access to these facilities during the day -- why not downtown?
Monarch Rink has been added to the 17 rinks scheduled to stay open longer (until March 16). The ice was perfect this morning, but there were no skaters at 11.30 a.m.
News from an ESL teacher -- the change rooms have now been open in the mornings, when the schools come.
"I was at the Monarch Park Rink on Dec 24 during unsupervised public skate around 11am. There were quite a few boys and men playing shinny on the ice. The area was open for public skate 9-1 and 1-4 it was shinny. Along with me and two friends, there was also another couple with a child between the ages of 1-3. When the couple and child entered the ice, the boys moved one of the nets to the middle of the rink giving them half of the rink to skate on. But the puck kept flying over to their side, and the couple and child left within 10 minutes of being on the ice as it is very dangerous to have children on the ice with pucks flying around. They went ahead and moved the net back to the original place even though there were 3 other people on the ice. I had to go over and argue to have them move the net to the other side as we wanted to be on the ice as well. All of them ignored me except for one, who decided to move it, as it was very unfair. The boys know that it is very intimidating for people to be on the ice with sticks and pucks flying around, and therefore they know that people will not come on the ice even if it is public skate. Also the excuse I received was that it is unsupervised public skating and therefore they could do whatever they wanted. This is extremely unacceptable as its unsupervised public skating not unsupervised shinny hockey. If they want to be on the ice during the early times, then maybe the timing should be changed 9-1 shinny and 1-4 public skating. The rink is there for everyone to use and it should stay that way. This is also very dangerous. I understand, if the rink is empty and they want to play, but the minute people get on the ice if it is time for public skating these boys do need to get off. This is a family oriented neighborhood and parents want to bring their kids to teach them the sport. A bunch of young boys and men do not have the right to dictate what the ice times are."
"Today when we went there with the students, the change room was locked again. So it was an anomaly that the Monarch building was open one morning last week. The recreation supervisor emailed that he would see if it could continue, but we heard nothing more.
We have been taking students skating there daily. It has been hugely popular and our newcomer students are getting a positive introduction to how to keep active in cold weather.
I'm sure community members with young families would also appreciate having access to the change facilities and washrooms."
Recreation supervisors have stuck to their guns -- no single-pad rinks in Councillor Fletcher's ward will be unlocked before the afternoon. Councillor Fletcher seems to make no objection. But then there was a happy surprise: this morning two ESL teachers brought a lot of students to skate at Monarch, and the rink building was unlocked. It turns out that the zamboni driver, when he found out that all those students would be coming on such a cold and windy morning, left the building open for them.
"We had two teachers with 20 students at Monarch rink this morning at 9:30 am to find both the rink and building locked.
"Our classes were at Monarch Rink Tuesday morning. As promised, the rink was unlocked but the building was not. So our non-skaters (stomach ache, 1st-time jitters...) had to stand around in the cold.
Boy, it would be unfortunate if they wanted schools (our school in particular) to pay for a permit. I thought they had a mandate to get more girls, immigrants and young people in general active. On the other hand, it would generate some interesting press.
In addition to our curricular PE class skating, we're doing drop-in after school skating for the rest of the students on Mondays and Wednesdays. We really have to hustle to get there before 13-18 shinny starts at 4pm. Our school dismisses at 3pm. We got there at 3:20 this past Wednesday. Then a zamboni driver who was in training took 30 minutes to clean the ice. The shinny players were gracious enough to give our 15 skaters 10 minutes before they started. I felt we needed to vacate because a huge crowd shows up for shinny."
See also: Editor's and Rink Users' blog
The rink opened for the season.
Monarch Park Rink was listed as open on Boxing Day, on the city's website.
But although the rink is unlocked, the change room is not. Nor are there any benches outside. There's a family changing out of their skates, sitting on the cold ground in front of the locked change room door. There is one skater on the ice with a hockey stick, one woman just leaving, and the family are leaving too. A sign on the door says the rink is closed on Boxing Day.