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wood stove at Dufferin


Rink Diary

2021 - 2022

Nov.27, 2021

Opened for the season

Rink diaries from earlier years:

2020 - 2021

Nov.28, 2020

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.

2019 - 2020

2018 - 2019

Jan.29, 2019

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.

Nov.30, 2018

This rink opened on Nov.28, 2018.

Letter about the rink parking:
The parking as "west of the rink" is in fact a private TDSB parking lot and is not available to the public during work hours. There is in fact already an issue with space just for our staff. Listing the Lawrence Park high school parking lot to the east of the rink would be much better, they have lots of space and there is enough room for all of their staff during the day.

If you have the contact information for the facilities manager or who I could contact to get this number that would be appreciated. I called 311 and they apparently don't have it. There is a massive issue with hockey pucks flying over the fences of the rink and causing massive damage to cars in the parking lot to the west of the rink.

2017 - 2018

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 pairs of 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 (actually -- ignored).


2016 - 2017

Dec.19, 2016

The rink was listed as closed due to mechanical issues today.

2015 - 2016

Jan.4 2016, email from J.A to City of Toronto recreation staff Matt Hilts

Hi Matt,

I was at Otter Creek yesterday and became a little frustrated, your team provide your contact information for me to share my thoughts. I've lived in this community for my whole life, grew up skating and playing shinny at Otter Creek. Now I am raising my kids in the community and teaching them to skate and play shinny at Otter Creek. A couple of changes this year have been surprising and frustrating and I was hoping for some consideration from the City of Toronto.

1. Child and caregiver shinny - there used to be 2 Saturday options for me to take my 7 & 5 year old, and soon my 3 year old, out to teach them some things and have some family fun time. These were the only times I, as a working and tax-paying member of the community, am able to do this for a couple of months a year. A real Canadian experience. However, I showed up a couple weeks ago for the afternoon session that was posted on the board - I had been there on a Wednesday night and confirmed that it was still the schedule, but apparently it was changed in those few days and reduced to one morning session. Those of us who have to run around taking kids to various activities on the weekend need a little more flexibility than one single morning session as it has always been in my 35+ years of using Otter Creek.

2. Sunday free skate - a community tradition in my view. A time when the whole ice is opened up and dozens of families can spread out on the big ice surface. I have been taking my kids there every Sunday for the last few years since they've been learning to skate. Yesterday I showed up with my kids and my parents to enjoy the large ice, my parents were on skates for the first time in ages and not very stable. However, the gates were closed and there were 6 hockey players out on the hockey side and probably 100 free-skaters. The pleasure skate side was jammed, and I'd have to say somewhat of a safety hazard. Then there was only 1 hockey player for 15 minutes and still the pleasure side was jammed. I spoke with the team in the office and that's when they provided your contact. I couldn't believe that common sense wasn't being applied - unsafe skating for dozens of people and an almost empty hockey side. Finally, the one hockey player left, so I went over with my kids to the empty hockey side to free skate and others followed, so it was apparent that many others were thinking the same as me, looking for more room as they were used to with their families on Sunday.

Here's my thoughts. I know from when I was younger that I always wanted to be out playing shinny, so there's likely some input being provided about having more shinny time, perhaps this is the reason for the change. However, the people you are not hearing from (yet) are those that actually make use of and enjoy the free-skate Sunday time. My take would be that those that want to play more shinny are the kids who probably are on the ice playing hockey a few times a week already. However, those of us who pay our taxes to keep the rink running only have limited time with our families.

I can make the effort to get signatures from the community - I'm sure I'll have hundreds of local residents agree - to revert to Sunday free-skate. However, I don't think that's necessary. Yesterday's situation with the safety concerns and the community building of free skate on Sundays should take precedence.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to your feedback.

Dec.27, 2015

Listed as closed, Dec.24 to Dec.27

Nov.28, 2015, e-mail from skater, cc'd to Councillor Carmichael-Greb

Iím really grateful to skate now however I have safety concerns about skating at Otter Creek skating rink.

I need to know if the following is allowed so Iíll plan to skate only when youngsters/adolescents are in school.

The following happened on the pleasure half side of the skating rink. Iím just home now from skating and there were 2 and then 3 adolescent boys with sticks and pucks sort of playing around maybe it is called shinny (even throwing some metal skating aids about a bit around 9pm). The guys working there were clearly allowing the sticks and pucks, I donít think they noticed when the metal stuff got thrown, since the staff were not outside to witness that at the time.

Quite a number of people were on the other side of the skating rink playing hockey/shinny and of course that is what that half of the rink is for.

This took place Saturday night November 28, 2015, around 8pm to 9:15pm (except for the time when the zamboni came on) when I left.

Nov.29 2015, follow-up email from skater

Your attention to my concerns emailed yesterday Saturday Nov. 28, 2015, are appreciated.

Today at the ice rink in the change room I overheard staff nicely telling skating patrons with sticks of the ice-skating schedule rules etc. (due to complaints). There was mutual respect and attention.

Dec.4, 2015, email response from cityrinks

I'm glad this situation (of sticks on the pleasure-skating side) didn't repeat. It's possible that the councillor responded to your email that quickly, but it's also likely that the staff on Sunday were following their training, whereas the Saturday staff were not. If you have a repeat of such an experience, you can also remind the staff that they need to remove the skaters with sticks. They training is very strict on that rule and they will most likely fix the problem immediately. is not a municipal website, we're outdoor rinks enthusiasts who want the rinks to be as good as they can be. It helps us if skaters send us word of what's working and what isn't -- we post it anonymously.


Rink Diary 2011 - 2012

Saturday Dec.3 2011

The rink was open and there were 17 skaters on the two sides. Very good ice. There were many many signs especially inside the change room, almost all of them some form of "thou shalt not..." -- but no signs telling the opening date.

good game, few helmets

an ugly entryway for a much-loved rink

I asked an older shinny hockey player how he found out that it's opening day at the rink. He said he found it on the internet.

Saturday January 7, 2012

crumbling path, crooked front gate

pleasure-skaters on a sunny day

shinny hockey

Rafael Lewis, rink correspondent, at 1 pm: The weather was a balmy 6 degrees and there quite a few skaters on both the pleasure skating rink as well as the shinny rink. I noted one rink guard but he was invisible most of the time. The main gate to enter the arena looked like it had seen better days. The change room had bags and shoes littered all over the place and there were 2 lost and found boxes in one corner of the room with a lot of hats and mitts inside.


Rink Diary 2009 - 2010

Friday Dec. 4, 2009

Email from rink user D.M.:

Yesterday I biked over to check out Otter around 2:00 pm. To my dismay there was only concrete on the two rinks. ( it was supposed to open for skating on the following day, this Saturday, Dec 5). Everything was locked up as usual. I then talked to three city workers who seemed to be working on the amonia tank system inside the plant.

They said it was leaking and needed to be fixed and needed parts.

I asked them if there was a problem at the end of the skating season last Feb./ March.

They said no.

So, rinks need to prepare earlier than they do now, to open the rinks. Equipment should be checked much earlier and ice needs to be prepared better ( at Otter at least).

Dec. 12, 2009

From D.M. to Andy Korepeski, Director of Parks, cc cityrinks:

Otter Creek skating was supposed to start on Sat. Dec. 5/09. On Frid. Oct. 4, I biked over to see how the ice making was coming along. To my great dismay all I saw was concrete on the two pads. Apparently, the reason for this was the compressor equipment, etc needed to be fixed. I thought, the system should have been checked for problems much earlier so the ice would be ready to open on time ( Sat. Dec. 5). (It eventually opened on Tues. Dec. 8/09). The amount of money the city has, to run the skating rinks should be able to buy enough maintenance to open the rinks on time.

The skating season is so short as it is. The weekend of Dec. 5th and 6th. was ideal for skating. What a shame that there was no ice available at Otter Creek for the young kids and their families and for all the hockey players.

I believe North Toronto also did not open on time ( Dec. 5) due to thin ice. Again by preparing more ahead of time this could be avoided. Due to the low angle of the sun in November, it is I think, most possible to have ice even with warmer temperatures. Warm weather, and thin ice are no excuse for not having skating or not opening any of the rinks on their designated date. With the proper will and organization skatable ice is possible by Nov. 21. if not earlier.

So, again, it is a shame and I think uncalled for that quite a few ice rinks were not ready by the much later date of Dec. 5. These rinks are a treasure for the Toronto citizens. The long and short term benefits for the community are wonderful and numerous.

To be more positive, the maintenance people at the Hodson rink are to be commended for the quality of ice they had in November.

Thanks for your attention to this matter.

Tuesday December 22, 2009

At 12.30, there are two rinks guards on the pleasure-skating side but no other skaters there. On the shinny hockey side there are 9 kids and one adult. The kids are wearing helmets but the dad is not. he tells me that he was told he has to wear a helmet but he forgot his at home. However he's still skating with the kids.

I ask the rink guards for a schedule and they say there are none left. So I take a photo of the schedule on the wall, but this makes the rink guard very anxious. "Nobody is allowed to take pictures under any circumstances" he says.

Friday January 1, 2010

At 1 pm, the rink has the gates between the two rinks open, so it's pleasure-skating only. There are 18 pleasure-skaters on the ice. The rink house is open and there are 15 people inside changing into or outn of skates, No sign of any staff.


Rink Diary 2008 - 2009

Friday December 12 2008

At 2.30 pm Otter Creek Rink had 21 enthusiastic shinny hockey players on the hockey side and another 17 on the pleasure-skating side, with many more in the players' boxes. They said it's exam time (the rink is right by Lawrence Park Collegiate) and a lot of the kids had the afternoon off. What better thing to do than play hockey?

A mother who was there with two young children said that normally the rink is pretty quiet on weekday afternoons. She didn't mind that on this day both rink pads were full of shinny players -- they were letting her little boy play along with them and the mom said -- this is one of the best days of his life!

Lawrence Park exam time

little NHL hopeful -- the perfect day at the rink


Rink Diary 2007 - 2008

Wednesday Jan 9

7:40pm A CELOS researcher is told over the phone that the rink is open.

Sunday December 9

11am Otter Creek is a two pad rink. Both sides are open for pleasure skating today. Ten people are on the ice. Some are parents with children. There is an elderly couple without skates watching the skaters. The hockey boards look well-worn. The rink looks old and somewhat neglected. Some people in the changeroom are eating snacks from a vending machine, but one of the machines isn't working. There are rubber mats on the changeroom floor that go into the washroom. The rink attendant is friendly and has schedules to give out He says the rink is usually busier. He says it's jammed during the holidays.


Rink Diary 2006 - 2007


Heavy, wet snowfall in the morning closed all city rinks. Otter Creek reopened at 1.30 pm.

Feb.21, 4 pm

Hockey side closed because the sun had made the ice mushy. Pleasure side open.

Dec.19 2006, 1:30pm

There was a game of shinny going with a dozen players. Sadly, they had no nets (only pylons)! A shinny player said that they weren't allowed to use the nets because the temperature was too high. (3 celsius -- ?!?) The BA confirmed that rink supervisor Brian Green had ordered them taken out. However, the ice seemed plenty hard, a little chewed up perhaps, but no water - maybe because it was pretty thin.

The BA said that ice maintenance happens three times a day.

There were schedules printed up, though they were only in the office (which has no windows) - not even one posted in the change room. Age groups are not strictly enforced.

The change room is large with three vending machines, one working and the other two out of order. There's a leaky faucet in the men's washroom, and an old pay phone. There's a window looking onto the rink, with a large spidery crack where something hit it from the inside. There's no complete path to the rink with mats, and no benches outside, so the skaters should be prepared for lots of blade sharpening over the season.

They have shovels on site.

Brian had been by the day before to confirm that the helmet policy should be enforced, and one staff member had written a reminder note that was taped to the desk in the office. However, the shinny players were not wearing helmets.


Rink Diary 2004 - 2005

Toronto by the blade

by Dave Bidini, The Toronto Star

Feb. 20, 2005

9 a.m., Otter Creek Rink: The morning is clean and cold, cast in gold winter light: fine skating weather. The dual ice pads at Otter Creek ó a name that sounds pulled from a Robert Kroetsch novel ó sit at the end of a cul de sac, surrounded by a high school and a valley. As I peel myself from the warmth of my car, a kid who looks about 10 years old opens the rear door of the red brick building and announces: "Rink's open!" The dressing room is empty except for a coffee and Pepsi machine, a garbage can and a pay phone. I pull on my skates and take that short wobbly walk over the rippled rubber past the kids' pad to the lip of the hockey rink. The boards are a checkered mosaic of puck marks.

Skaterless, the rink feels big, the space irresistably free. Behind me, a few players file into the dressing room. I clack my stick on the ice and step out. Today, I am first.


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