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Rink Diary 2012-2013

Pearen Park Rink

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Pearen Park Community Rink – The Joy of Skating! (December 2013) Once again this winter local residents and MDCA members, with support from the City of Toronto, will be building an outdoor ice rink in Pearen Park. The Rink, located 1 block west of Weston Road, north of Eglinton, is open for all to use during daylight hours. Our program hours are from 4-6 pm weekdays and 11am-3pm weekends and holidays. That’s when we have skates available to borrow for those who need them ($1 donation requested to cover sharpening & maintenance costs) and free learn-to-skate lessons for local kids and other residents.


Ice building started Dec 28th 2012 (25 floods) Ice building re-started on Jan 20th 2013


Sunday Januay 6th, 2013

We arrived to find one established natural ice rink at Pearen Park, and another (smaller) cleared area which could be the beginning of a second rink.

Friday December 28th, 2013 From Mount Dennis Community Association

Skating in Pearen Park - Let it Snow!

Once again this winter local residents with support from MDCA and the City of Toronto will be building an outdoor ice rink in Pearen Park. The Rink, located 1 block west of Weston road, north of Eglinton is open for all to use during daylight hours.

There are skates available to borrow for those that need them and free beginner skating lessons will also be provided (check the park for schedules).

Volunteers to help flood the rink (7pm - midnight), tie up skates (3:30 - 5pm on weekdays, Sat, Sun 10 - 4pm) or give skating lessons would be much appreciated. Call 416 254 0108 (Barbara Stone) or reply to this e-mail if you can help.

Also we are still in need of men's skates - sizes 7 and up. If you have any available please give us a call as well.

Let's hope for some nice cold nights and some bright sunny days as we start 2013!

PS - we are starting tonight to build the rink - so if all goes well you can join us for a skate on New Year's Day!

Mount Dennis Community Association c/o 55 Sunnybrae Cres, Toronto M6N 4N4


Do you have any skates that could be donated or loaned to help a new Canadian learn to skate?

Mount Dennis, in Toronto near Weston and Eglinton, is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Ontario and is home to many new immigrant families. This winter, for the first time in decades, it will have a community-run natural ice-rink in Pearen Park. We have volunteers ready to teach local kids (and others) the joys of skating, which can give them a whole new appreciation for winter in Ontario. But we need skates for them to learn on!

If you have skates in good condition that could be donated or loaned for this purpose, please contact us ASAP.

Email: [email protected] or Phone: 416-614-3371 (ask for Simon) Thank you!

January 16 2013

From the Pearen Park ice makers:

"Lots of people enjoyed using the Pearen Park Community Ice Rink during the first week of January, but then it melted.

Based on current forecasts, we expect to have ideal ice-making weather on Saturday night and Sunday (Jan 19 and 20). We plan to create a usable rink by late Monday for sure (and perhaps even some time Sunday late afternoon / early evening). We then expect good ice for the next seven days or longer.

So we are looking for LOTS of people prepared to sign up for water-the-rink shifts starting Saturday evening and continuing throughout most of Sunday.

Watering the rink is manageable as a one-person task, but is definitely easier if there is a second person around to help manoevre the hoses when changing position (they get pretty heavy and awkward). My plan is that when someone signs for a one-hour shift, they will spend the first half-hour watering and the second as a hose-moving back-up.

Detailed times will be worked out later when we have more reliable forecasts, but what we urgently need to start with is a “show of hands”. If you can manage one or several one-hour shifts on Saturday evening or any time Sunday, please let us know WHEN you will be available.

Would you like to commit to helping with this community effort, and if so when can you do it? Please let us know ASAP, so we can develop a schedule.

Even if you can't take part yourself, you may know someone else who might like to be part of this. Please encourage them to email [email protected] or phone 416-614-3371. Many hands will lighten everyone's load!"

January 18 2013

From Simon Chamberlain: About rink-making: Let me start by saying I have made numerous backyard rinks using a regular garden hose. I found they were best when made using numerous very thin layers of ice rather then one thick one. The key to success with that is to keep the hose warm! (At my current home I was able to route it through the hole where the clothes dryer vents and pull it back in after each flooding).

For something as big as a community rink a much larger hose is needed. Typically in this type of situation there is no way to keep the hose warm, but we have found that by leaving it open just a trickle between floodings (leaving it directed onto an area of grass several feet away from the rink), it continues to work fine.

Again, the multiple floodings approach works best, unless it is VERY cold and you have a basin-like site where there is no run off.

See the following exchange of emails between one of our community members (SD), me (SC) and our chief ice-maker (GR):

SD: a friend in Roncesvalles told me they run an outdoor rink each year and they simply asked the local fire station to come by and flood an area of parkland for them and they do. Not a problem apparently, they love to help out and it takes no time for them to spray the water.

SC: Interesting idea. My own experience (both in doing my home rink and more recently with this one) is that the key to good ice is putting on lots of very thin layers and making sure it freezes well in between. Difficult to achieve unless your firefighters are very patient and making multiple visits! I'll pass your email on to GR (the Rink Guy)! See what he says.

SD: My friend also mentioned the thickness of ice achieved by fire fighters pouring water and allowing it to freeze overnight is a few inches thick and lasts really well even in warmer weather.

GR: Simon, you are correct. The reason is that the nature of our park is prone to runoff. We have no way of retaining the water like we could if we had a natural concave depression to keep the water in place. Great suggestion but could not be adapted to our rink. Last rink was made up of 25 layers. This took approx. 3 days of flooding due to the warmer weather. This forecast I expect the same results with 2 days and nights of flooding with the expected temperatures.

GR hates to start the flooding unless the temperature is at or close to -7 C Once it get to about -10 or -12 C you can work continuously, putting on very thin layers working from one side of the rink to the other - or switching from one pad to the other if you have two ice-pads, which we try to do (though we didn't have enough snow-clearing volunteers last time, so could do only the main rink). At that temperature each layer will quickly freeze very solidly.

You also need some sort of ice scraper (the City has provided us with a big heavy-duty one, which works far better than a snow shovel) which you need to use if any bumps develop, and later on after the rink has been used before you re-coat it.

It's a lot of very cold work, but the results can be truly rewarding when kids and others are out there enjoying it!

January 20, 2013

There is a very nice concrete-block shed at this park, with tidy shelves of numbered skates, and places for snow shovels and hoses, and a space heater. Efforts to get a rink ready by Monday may not work out, though -- the temperature only went down to minus 5 and the sun came out, so the water the rink supporters put down didn't freeze well. However, the hoses are big, the water pressure is strong, the temperatures continue to go down, and no doubt there will be good ice by midweek.

January 23, 2013

nice location, inviting approach

big rink in baseball diamond

ice is thick, smooth, and skateable

second rink partly snow-covered

hose marks and skate marks -- both good signs!
Open letter at Pearen Park, January 24, 2013

Great Ice at the Rink – and some great Opportunities to Volunteer!

Cold weather makes great ice, and the Mount Dennis Community Rink is now at its best (thanks Guy, and everyone else who helped out!). Latest forecasts say it will stay solid through end-of-day Monday. We’ll almost certainly have to close down Tuesday – Thursday next week, but hope to be back skating by 4 p.m. Friday (Feb.1).

So take advantage of these next few days to come out and enjoy a skate with family, friends or neighbours.

Since our skatable days are so few, we try to have the skate hut open and learn-to-skate lessons available every day.

Right now we need a skate teacher for the 4 – 6 p.m. slots on Friday and Monday, as well as for Sunday 10-12 and 12-2 (we don’t ask people to commit to more than 2 hours at a stretch).

We also need a second person in the skate hut 4-6 on Thursday, and need several skate hut volunteers on Saturday and Sunday (for either the 10-12 or 12-2 slot each day). We are guessing the weekend will be busy, so want to see at least two people in the hut throughout these times. Skate hut duties include helping people find the right size skates (and helmets if they want them), and getting them properly tied good and tight. Also lending them socks or gloves if they need them. And – of course – making sure it all comes back!

If you can help, or know someone else who might like to, please let me know ASAP.

Thank you


March 2, 2013, from Simon Chamberlain

Hi everyone:

After careful consideration and review of people's other commitments this weekend, Guy and I decided NOT to try and get the rink going again. It was pretty clear that the best we could do would be to have it ready for use on Monday, with continued skating on Tuesday and perhaps Wednesday. But those are school days (and the Parks Department has asked us not to encourage after-dark use of the rink), so the actual useful skating time available would be in the range of 5 - 8 hours total. It would take many more hours than that to get the rink built up, and with the vagaries of March weather we could well end up with poor quality ice. So .... no more local skating this winter.

On behalf of the MDCA and the whole community, I'd like to thank all of you for volunteering your time and energy to help make the rink a success. Together we made a real difference - working together to strengthen Mount Dennis!

This winter we had 29 days of rink operation during which hundreds of people enjoyed skating in Pearen Park. We did nearly 400 skate-loans, many of them to people with little or no skating experience. We also loaned out gloves, helmets, socks, and occasionally our hockey sticks and net. The volunteers who came out to help teach or assist in the skate hut all felt a real sense that they were making a difference. The individuals with whom our on-ice volunteers shared their skating skills were mainly school kids, but also some adults new to Canada who wanted to experience the joy of skating for themselves. We were able to provide almost everyone who showed up with good quality skates, sharp and well maintained as well as properly tied and fitted. We were able to give them the guidance they needed, and put them on an ice surface that was the best we could possibly achieve on a natural outdoor ice rink in Toronto,

Special thanks to those who did the often-unseen work of clearing snow from the rink, setting up the hoses and building the ice surfaces. We literally could not have done it without you. And particular thanks to Guy (the Iceman) Ruggieri, who did more than anyone else to make the rink a reality.

If you are like me, you found our community rink an enriching and rewarding experience, as well as one that helped connect you to the larger community.

All the best for this coming spring, summer and fall. You can look forward to an update in the December / January period next winter, when we will again be anxious to find volunteers, and you can once again be part of the Mount Dennis Community Rink experience!

Please pass this on to anyone who has helped out at the rink but is not on my email list.

I have prepared a more comprehensive "Thank You" to everyone who contributed to the rink this winter (attached). We will be posting this at the rink and on our web site. Please let me know if I have missed anyone.

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Content last modified on December 08, 2013, at 02:13 PM EST