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CELOS Estimate of Rink Operating Costs (2009)

posted January 07, 2009

We have gone to several disparate sources to arrive at an estimate of annual (seasonal) operating costs of Toronto's 49 outdoor rinks ("AIR's" - Artificial Ice Rinks).

Our best estimate of direct costs from these approaches is

  • maintenance staff $1.3M
  • rink guards $0.5M
  • energy $1.4M

Total direct cost estimate $3.2M (average about $65,000 per rink - 12 week season)

These estimates do not include

  • mechanical staff and external contracts
  • early and late openings
  • setup and shutdown costs
  • administrative costs
  • management costs
  • some rinkhouse costs
  • amortized capital costs
  • general departmental overhead

and do not take into account

  • revenue (from permit fees for example)

Note: In a report provided to us by the city, a table of cost samples (page 27 - breakdown page 25) provides cost estimates for AIR's ranging from $75,000 to $271,000 per year each, depending on cost classification. If the upper classification is correct, the inclusive annual cost of running outdoor rinks could be in the order of (conservatively, say $200,000 per year x 49 rinks) about $10M - $12M. In fact on page 8 the report says the cost for outdoor single-pad artificial ice rink is approx. $250,000. This would total to at least $12.25M for all 49 rinks. (Another issue: On page 8 the report indicates that there are 40 outdoor rinks. There are actually 49).


  1. We learned from job postings that PFR advertised for 59 lead hands, and 26 arena pool operators, level 2. See details (sources item 5).
  2. From a freedom of information request we were told that recreation staff costs for 2004 was about $0.5M. See details. We are not at all sure about this number (sources item 4).
  3. We obtained energy audit baselines, and estimated these conservatively at $500 per day for large rinks, and $288 per day for smaller rinks. See details (sources item 2).

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Content last modified on January 05, 2011, at 05:33 AM EST