For better use and better management. The UNOFFICIAL Website of Toronto's Outdoor Skating Rinks
From the Dufferin Park June 2007 Newsletter:
From Deirdre Norman, co-ordinator of the annual Women of Winter Shinny Hockey Tournament:
“We want your Canadian Tire money!! Every cent of the money collected goes towards funding skating programmes at Dufferin and Wallace-Emerson Rinks. Last year The Women of Winter raised nearly $80.00 which was donated to the skate fund for Dufferin youth shinny. This year The Women of Winter will try to raise enough money to buy a zamboni tent shelter for Wallace Rink. Dufferin Grove Park staff hold a special box for donated Canadian Tire Money – bring it to them and they’ll get it to us.”
For more information: [email protected].
March Ice Rink Conditions.
During the extended outdoor rink season in March, ice conditions will be often be poor. Warm weather is not much of a problem, but any day when the sun is on the ice, even if the temperature is sub-zero, will have poor ice unless the rink is shaded (like City Hall). At Dufferin Rink the ice will be closed from noon to 5 for sure on any sunny day. For the policies of other rinks, please consult List of Rinks to get the direct phone numbers, and call the rink you want to go to for more information.
Current Ice Rink Conditions. Sunday March 18, 12.30 pm: sunny,
0 celsius. Ice is in fair condition (definitely skateable). posted March 18, 2007
Toronto East York District and Former City of Toronto
West and North Regions' Open Rinks
Dufferin, Hodgson, Ramsden and Harry Gairey are OPEN.
East and Central Regions' Open Rinks
City Hall, Kew Gardens, Withrow, Jimmie Simpson and Regent South are OPEN.
Former City Of Toronto Rinks
Rennie, High Park, and Giovanni Caboto rinks are CLOSED FOR THE SEASON.
North Toronto rink is CLOSED FOR THE SEASON.
posted January 24, 2007
A free organized drop in Shinny tournament at Campbell Outdoor Rink for youth of all skill levels between the ages of 10 and 15.
Campbell Rink (255 Campbell st., Off Dupont and West of Landsdowne).MAP
Sunday, February 25, 2007 from 11am to 5pm.
This is a free program. Get a team together, with a minimum of 6 players, and sign up with Dan Watson (recreation staff at Dufferin Park). If you can't find other players, sign up anyway and a team will be provided. For more information call 416-392-0913 or e-mail [email protected].
This will be an organized tournament complete with referees, score keeping , line changes and metals for all participants.
From the Dufferin Grove Park January 2007 Newsletter:
posted December 30, 2006
From women’s hockey organizer Deirdre Norman:
“Over forty-eight women shinny players of all ages and levels of play will celebrate Hockey Day in Canada by taking to the ice at Dufferin Grove Rink. This is Toronto's only outdoor, recreational shinny tournament for women. Organised by volunteers and supported by Parks, Forestry, and Recreation, The Women of Winter celebrates the thrill of playing the game we love in our own community. Last year’s tournament ended with an action packed overtime final – the puck bouncing both ways, spectators hollering, and snow falling. Don’t miss the excitement this year. New for 2007: a mom-daughter game and opportunities for players to sharpen their skills.”
To find out more, go to www.thewomenofwinter.com
Please note: there is no open shinny hockey on Friday or Saturday because of the tournament. Open shinny is available at three other nearby outdoor rinks: Campbell, Wallace, and Christie Rinks. See Our City Rinks section for details about these rinks.
posted December 30, 2006
The rink beside Wallace-Emerson Community Centre has been completely rebuilt, at a cost of over $1 million. The reason for rebuilding was to install a different kind of cooling system, which would use less ammonia (regarded as an explosion hazard). Since the rink was being rebuilt anyway, Councillor Adam Giambrone arranged for some improvements: a more interesting pleasure-skating rink (oval) and a less dingy change room. The shape of the new hockey rink is also easier for the zamboni to clean.
That’s the good news. The bad news is (1) the project went so slowly that the rink remained closed for most of the Christmas school holidays; (2) the designer forgot drainage holes and also made it more troublesome for the zamboni operators to fill their water tank; (3) there’s still no garage to house a zamboni (Wallace is the only double rink without its own); and (4) the stairs that were added last year to connect the rink with the rest of the park, and the parking lot, have gone missing.
It seems that the City’s project supervisor (who changed halfway through) was unavailable to collaborate with the City’s rink maintenance staff at all. Later in January, rink friends from this area will submit a City Outdoor Rinks Report to City Council’s Parks Committee, recommending some changes in how such projects get done in future.
But for now: it’s time to have an opening party. On Sunday January 14 there will be DJ music for skaters, a campfire with food, and a ribbon-cutting by Councillor Adam Giambrone. This is a collaboration between the three rink staffs. There’s plenty to admire, in the airy new rink change-room, and the pleasure-skating rink in the round, and the music will be fine. Come and have a skate at a rink that’s not crowded!
posted December 30, 2006
Campbell Rink is on Campbell Avenue just a block west of Lansdowne, two blocks south of Dupont. Many soccer parents know the park from the summer. This year, Dufferin Rink staff are working at Campbell Rink on Fridays, running a twice-monthly kids’ hockey program. On January 19 they’ll make a barrel fire too, and there will be free hot dogs and marshmallows and great skating music.
posted December 10, 2006
From women’s hockey organizer Deirdre Norman:
“Celebrate Hockey Day in Canada at The 2nd Annual The Women of Winter Outdoor Shinny Tournament. On January 12th and 13th, 2007 over forty-eight women shinny players of all ages and levels of play will celebrate Hockey Day in Canada by taking to the ice at Dufferin-Grove Rink. This is Toronto's only outdoor, recreational shinny tournament for women. Organised by volunteers and supported by Parks, Forestry, and Recreation, The Women of Winter celebrates the thrill of playing the game we love in our own community. Last year’s tournament ended with an action packed overtime final – the puck bouncing both ways, spectators hollering, and snow falling. Don’t miss the excitement this year. New for 2007 will be a mom-daughter game and opportunities for players to sharpen their skills.”
Email Deirdre Norman at [email protected] or go to the website: www.thewomenofwinter.com
posted December 10, 2006
The first outdoor rink to open in Toronto this year was Harbourfront Rink, on Nov.19. Then City Hall Rink opened on Nov.25, then Dufferin Rink on Dec.2. Most others were not scheduled to open until Dec.9.
During the warm spells at the end of November, City Hall had water on it, apparently because of an ice maintenance error. But Harbourfront held up just fine – on Friday Dec.1, that rink had over 100 people on it at 17 degrees, skating under the pink and blue floodlights there. New York City did even better: they opened Central Park Ice Rink on Oct.20 this year, and had no trouble with late November temperatures of 18 degrees. The sun is very weak in November – exactly the low sun these compressor-run outdoor rinks work best in. That’s the sun of early to mid-winter. The outdoor rinks begin to struggle when the sun gets higher and stronger toward the end of February. The City rinks web site will chronicle the weather and ice conditions every day this winter until March 18, when the last outdoor rinks (including Dufferin Rink) are scheduled to close. Then rink friends will make another pitch to City Council’s “Parks and the Environment” committee, to bring the rink season back to the excellent mid-November-to-end-of-February schedule that they were built for. One of these years, we may finally carry our point.
posted December 10, 2006
In 2002, the “Skating Harmonization Committee” advised the directors of Parks and Recreation to bring in a new mandatory helmet policy for indoor and outdoor arenas. The directors approved the policy, on the basis of general risk.
The policy has not caught on at all rinks. Many shinny hockey players insist that shinny is a unique sport with its own rules and customs. They say it’s a game not played with protective equipment, which is exactly why the players are not allowed to raise the puck or check each other. Many shinny players agree with Don Cherry’s assertion: more protective hockey armour results in more aggression and more injuries, and that’s why they love civilized game of shinny. Certainly the number of injuries during shinny games at Dufferin Rink, since it was rebuilt in 1993, has been very small. And most of those injuries resulted from players catching their skates on rough ice, especially along the sides and in the corners, and hurting a shoulder or a limb. That problem needs better ice maintenance rather than a helmet.
Some of the Dufferin Rink friends have asked the City to revisit the shinny hockey policy. They want the City to adopt some clear principles for their risk-based policies:
These are good guidelines for all risk-based policy making, not often observed – here’s a good place to begin.
So far, supporting documentation is not available from the skating committee. There was no public consultation with shinny players about altering the game, and there is no analysis of shinny injuries that would allow comparison. A freedom of information request turned up only two outdoor ice rink injury claims across the whole city since amalgamation (9 years), but no details on these injuries were provided. And for comparison, although soccer is by far the highest-injury (commonly-played) sport, there was no evidence that soccer risk had resulted in any helmets-for-soccer discussion.
In other words, the case for compulsory shinny hockey helmets has not been made. Back to the drawing board. On Dec.5, CELOS, our local research group hosted a meeting with rink staff and two City supervisors, to get started on this issue. This winter, CELOS researchers will collaborate with rink staff and City supervisors to actually look at the existing data, keep a better record, and consult with shinny players. To help with this task: contact [email protected].
posted December 10, 2006
…Well, booklet launch: celebrating the publication of the Outdoor Ice Rink Handbook, with contributions by eight Dufferin Rink staff. Published by CELOS with the help of park cookie money. For anyone (rink staff and rink users) who wants their neighborhood rink to run well, this has everything you need to know. Buy one as a Christmas present for each staff person at your local rink (other than Dufferin Rink). They’re $2 each, 48 pages long, with Jane LowBeer’s cheerful illustrations – just the right size for a pocket. Buy one for each of your shinny-playing or pleasure-skating friends, too, so they can find out how their neighbourhood rink can be improved.
The booklet is available now at Dufferin Rink, or download the pdf and have a look!
December 15th, 2006
If you're between the ages of 10 and 15 and you want to play some organized shinny during this rink season, then read on...
What: Drop-in shinny league at Campbell Outdoor Rink for youth between the ages of 10 and 15.
Where: Campbell Rink (255 Campbell st., off Dupont and West of Landsdowne).
When: 9-11pm on the last two Fridays of every month starting December 29th until the end of the rink season.
How: This is a free program. Just show up at Campbell rink starting at 9pm on December 29th. For more information talk to Dan Watson (Dufferin Grove Park Staff) or call 416-392-0913.
What else: These will be organized games of shinny complete with referees, score keeping and line changes. This league will lead up to a tournament in 2007.
posted Dec.10 2006
Each individual rink has a "rink diary" for each year. Here's a sample entry from Dufferin Rink:
High minus 9 celsius, low minus 21. At 8 a.m. the temperature was minus 20 celsius. People may be getting used to it. There were skaters and shinny players even in the morning, when it was so cold. By the afternoon, tobogganers had appeared in the park. A family visiting from England came and rented skates after tobogganing, and stayed for a long time. They wanted the whole winter experience, maybe. The market was on, so there were no benches in the rink house. The only spots left for changing skates were in the washrooms, which are big enough and have some places to sit. This family and their Canadian friends cheerfully changed their skates in there.
posted December 13 2006
The rinks seem to have been unusually dirty this year, our rink and others as well, before any ice went in. Here are two photos of the melted spots at Campbell and Christie yesterday:
Trinity Rink seems to have had some extra trouble -- yesterday the sides were not too mushy but the centre was down to cement in a number of places -- and at Ramsden they could only use half the hockey rink. Is that because each of them only had two days (or nights) of flooding before opening day? I know the crews used to do four.
Are you being short-changed on your staffing budget to prepare the rinks properly? I'm particularly concerned about the many dirt patches -- they certainly absorb the sunlight, and that will give trouble all along, maybe.
A note about this message to Brian. While the dirt and leaves on the concrete will absorb more sunlight (and heat up, melt ice) while the ice is still relatively clear, the issue with dirt and leaves is a concern over the entire rink season. From Michael Doucette, lead engineer at The United Illuminating Company - "Water impurities can adversely affect ice quality because they result in a higher conductance levels." This is a similar phenomenon to why salt helps melt ice.
posted Nov.25 2006
City Hall Rink opened on time even though it was sunny and 8 degrees. The ice was fine.
That means two outdoor rinks are now open: City Hall and Harbourfront. The next batch are due to open on Dec.2 (see individual rinks to find out which ones).
City Hall Rink has no direct phone information line, but the (privately run) skate rental company answers their phone, and they will say how the ice is: 416 368-8802. This year, the company has new red skates for rent -- very handsome.
posted November 11, 2006
That's when the compressor-run outdoor rinks used to open when they were first built (in the seventies and early eighties). And they closed on the first Sunday in March. Their operation was matched to the angle of the sun -- and those are the weeks when the sun is weakest.
This year we'll chart the weather every day during that 14-week period, to see how it would work. But we have to start 4 days before, to include the start-up days when the ice is laid down.
High: 7 celsius, low 0 celsius, light rain most of the day. Great day to start ice-making.
posted September 1, 2006
This year most of the 51 compressor-powered outdoor ice rinks in Toronto will not open until December 9. (A few will open on December 2 -- see the list of individual rinks.) In the 1980s, rink season was standard: November 15 to the first Sunday in March, usually about 14 weeks. Those are the winter weeks with the weakest sunlight, so they work best for outdoor rinks that are artificially cooled. But in the late 1990s the rink season began to lose a few days every year. Then in 2001, City Council voted to save money by cutting all the rinks down to 10 weeks a year. (The money they saved from rinks went for more parking ticket officers.)
Since winter in Toronto is quite a bit longer than ten weeks, the decision not to open the rinks until Dec.22 that year caused an outcry from skaters, and three weeks were put back in by Parks management.
The Harbourfront Rink web site said they would open on Saturday Nov.18, but they were one day late. They started flooding on Tuesday Nov.14, but on Thursday Nov.16 there was a big rain, so they lost some of their ice. On Friday Nov.17 the ice was still pretty thin, but solid.
The view from the rink, out to the lake, with all that open sky to the southwest, the sailboat moored in the background, and the business skyline to the north, is riveting.
At midnight on Saturday Nov.18, a rink operator answered the phone, saying that they weren't sure yet if they'd be able to open on Sunday but they were planning to put down floods all night.
At ten a.m. on Sunday Nov.19 there was a proud message on the Harbourfront phone line: "We are open."
A bright sunny day with 7 degrees at 3 p.m., but Harbourfront Rink was in fairly good condition, with no ice sections off limits, but a few puddles. The rink guard, named Nancy, said their ice is now at 1 1/2 inches, and they are not having to flood at night.
High 16, cloudy, low 13. Harbourfront ice holding -- no puddles, more than 100 skaters on in the evening. Olympia operator says he doesn't flood or scrape in this weather.
'' High 7 celsius, sunny. Low 1. At 2.30 p.m. the rink was packed with skaters, no bad patches on the rink at all. Zamboni scraping but not flooding.
Ice was was very good, shiny, a little bit of dirt around the edges. There's a posted schedule which seems to be followed. Ice is scraped/flooded 4 times a day, five on weekends. They had two staff on: one rental, one rink guard. Pretty skate friendly with lots of mats, good music with no commercials playing. Lots of places to sit with a nice view. There was food available in Harbourfront Centre café, above the rink.
The change room is a little dingy with vending machines and video games. Bathrooms had no paper towels. Lockers $1; rentals $7. There's an obvious and large conduct sign.
The ice was in good condition despite sun and warm weather. The rink was full and people looked to be having a good time. Two huge sailboats moored nearby, blue water, beautiful views in every direction.