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posted October 14, 2005

Bad news: rinks open late again

Almost every year since amalgamation (1998), rink users have had to stop the City from delaying the rink opening. Last year was an exception, but this year itís starting again. We thought we could persuade the City to return to opening two rinks in each region just after the middle of November (18th), how it used to be, but now weíve been told that two rinks (city-wide) will open on December 3, and the rest not until December 10.

A bit of history: Toronto is rich in outdoor artificial ice rinks Ė we have 51, spread throughout our neighbourhoods. During the 1980ís, when there were a lot of experienced rink operating staff in the city, these outdoor rinks usually opened shortly after the middle of November and closed on the last weekend in February. Those dates work the best because the big enemy of an outdoor rink is not mild temperatures but the angle of the sun. The sun is weakest from November to February. By March, even if itís below zero, a sunny day will turn a rink to mush.

Beginning at the end of the 1980s, there were so many reorganizations of city staff that there were new people in charge of rinks every few years. Many were unfamiliar with running rinks, and they had to learn from scratch, again and again. For the few experienced rink staff remaining, and rink users with a memory, this has been utterly frustrating. And here we go again Ė- new management, another learning curve, another rink user campaign needed to remind city staff about the best ways to run the rinks. (How long, Lord?)

If you want to urge the City to open the rinks earlier, call the new Parks & Rec general managerís office (Brenda Librecz at 416 392-8207, e-mail [email protected]) or the mayorís office (416 397-2489, e-mail [email protected]). Ask them to open two rinks in each region from November 18, so people can skate and play shinny hockey for the whole season.


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