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This rink is new and the days are short with very week sun -- but it's often been closed. A mystery -- at this time of year the ice should be fine. What's the problem? The rink is only two years old -- is there a problem with the ice-making plant?
Rink diaries from earlier years
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.
Opened for the season
The rink has been marked as open since Jan.12 and then it was listed as "snow removal in progress" (with over 25 cm of snow). At noon today it was again listed as open.
From D.Howey: The new ice trail is quite short, probably less than half the length of Colonol Sam Smith but they've built it so that you could extend your skate by going through two sets of gates onto the shinny rink surface though the gates were locked. The curves are quite tight so it was actually a good workout. They have installed new LED lights around the rink so it is probably well lit in the evening. They are also still finishing up a few details on the change rooms but they are bright and airy. The rink house was open and there were two workers relaying the rubber mats. Lots of parking and a new condo going up soon between the lot and the Queensway. The shinny rink was open and a guy came while I was there to practice shooting on the one net. There was also one pint sized skater who came while I was there.
At 9 a.m. the city's rinks web page mystifyingly reports this rink as already open -- from Dec.1, 2018 to Feb.24, 2019, but then as being still "under construction." Meanwhile, the councillor's newsletter says the trail opens today. No word about the hockey pad.
By noon the city's web page was changed to "open," although it still claimed the rink season as having started on Dec.1.
From Councillor Grimes' newsletter:
It looks like there may still be lots to do, hard to tell and no signs to explain. The bad news is that the city's website says the opening has been postponed until January 2019. The good news is that there are actually workers doing things, not like at some of the other "delayed opening" rinks which seem to have no one.
Earlier today this rink was listed as opening by Dec.15. By the afternoon that estimate was changed to January 2019.
Until a few days ago, this rink was still listed as "closed for the season." But now it's listed as "delayed opening," no date given. The schedule has been showing a Dec.1 2018 opening all along.
Here is the March 2017 link for work description for bidders who want the contract to rebuild Queensway Rink. Includes destruction of older rink building and rink pad, replacing with rink pad and skating trail plus parking lot and tennis courts -- all for $1.5 million.
Thedre's some machinery but no workers. Maybe a couple of guys looking at blueprints, but then they disappear inside the rink building. The former rink buildings has been demolished, but otherwise there's not much sign of work in progress.
This rink is listed as closed for the entire 2016/2017 skating season. A city capital projects list said this rink would be under construction, but the city website simply lists it as closed for the whole upcoming rink season.
There's no sign of construction, nor any sign on the fence or the building saying the rink will not open this year. The only sign of life is park staff vehicles parked outside, for them to have their lunch break inside the locked building.
The rink has no ice, just concrete. Obviously the staff never tried again to make ice. Even so, there are "ice dangerous" signs on the fence. No explanation about the compressors being broken, when they will be replaced, etc. The city website says every day that Queensway Rink is closed because of "ice conditions."
The rink was marked as open in the morning but closed again by afternoon.
This rink began to be listed as open yesterday and this morning, but by 2.30 pm it was closed again. The ice had skate marks on it and had obviously been used. It looked like it could have continued to be used. Instead, danger signs (one from High Park's Grenadier Pond) were stuck on the fence and the gate was locked.
It's hard to avoid the conclusion that even though the city's outdoor rink website claims the broken-down rinks will be run as natural ice rinks when weather allows, the staff just don't feel like making the effort. So at the same time as Grenadier Pond has thick ice, same at Toronto Island, same in numerous neighbour-run natural ice rinks across the city, Riverdale Rink and Queensway continue to be closed to skaters. Yet they've got wide-gauge hoses and plentiful water, well-paid staff, and zambonis.
For several days, the city's outdoor rink website has listed Queensway as closed due to "ice conditions." Since it never opened at all this season, that was a clue that the city was starting to flood it as a natural ice rink. And indeed it had ice on it, but very rough ice -- not skateable, just as the website says. Too bad it's taking so long -- four other natural ice rinks on grass that we saw today were already up and running (i.e. without the benefit of a concrete pad and city staff for flooding). However, it looks like Queensway will probably be ready to open by the weekend. Also it sounds as though they will finally be getting their new equipment, later this year, in time for next rink season.
This rink is odd, since the new rink/park clubhouse was finished in 2010, but the new compressors never came. The old ones are freon and had trouble last year. This year they didn't start up at all.
The city's website had the rink listed as open before the season began, but now the website says the rink will run as a natural ice rink only.
There is no sign up anywhere at the rink telling about what's wrong, what the plans are, etc. There's just a sleek modern building, all locked up, with some graffiti on the bathroom doors.
The rink was open, the washrooms were open, the change room was -- as always -- locked. Maybe if the change room was ever open, there would be less problem with graffiti in the washrooms! When a rink looks like an orphan, it gets treated worse by rink users. And yet this rink is very popular with local youth -- worth putting some effort into it.
At 10.40 there were seven shinny hockey players. A tractor with a Champion ice resurfacer on the back was just pulling up to fill with water.
Both of the rink washrooms were open, although the change room was not. There was a fast game of shinny hockey on the rink, with six players. The ice looked a bit stripey (mild weather as well). The kids said it was good, though. Just as we were leaving, a father with two small children set them up with skate aids in one corner. The game gave them a bit of space, but went on anyway.
The rink opened for the season.
Message from the councillor's office staff:
One wonders: when did the staff check the rink to see if everything was okay in there? Perhaps not until the week before it was due to open? These things would be nice to know.
One piece of good news: we asked Councillor Di Giano's assistant to request signage for the rink, explaining the problem, giving an approximate time of rink opening, and listing some nearby rinks for skaters. The next day the sign was up.
The city's website gives a skating schedule for Queensway Rink for this week. But no one can skate -- there is no ice. At the time of our visit, there were no signs of explanation posted on the building. But just then a city truck pulled up. The staff said that the compressor is from 1967 and it needs some parts to repair it, but they can't locate those parts.
This rink actually has two rink buildings almost side by side. One was built in 2011, for $1.54 million. It's got potential, but it's mainly locked, and perhaps the compressor has not been installed yet.
In the afternoon, CityRinks called Councillor Di Giano's office to find out when the rink will open and what has caused the delay. Awaiting an answer.
This rink did not open all weekend
This rink shows no sign of flooding and the compressors are off.
noon The rink was closed when we went by. This tennis court rink can be completely locked up. The staff in the building said that the flying crew were on their way over and that the rink needed only another 2 floods. The ice looked pretty good, at least an inch thick in the middle. There was alot of debris, however, frozen in the ice, and the edges did look thin. You could see bumps along the compressor pipe line all across the rink. The rink building was closed but the staff looking after it allowed us to step inside for a minute. The staff said the building couldn't be open to the public because of vandalism concerns, even while he was scheduled to be there. We didn't to check to see if the washrooms were at least open.
A staff person has been assigned to this building to keep the change rooms open and look after the washrooms between 7 am and 3 pm -- in other words, during those hours when the rink gets the least use. The staff person sits in a windowless staff room without a sign on it. The rest of the time the change room is locked, but the washrooms -- finally this year -- are unlocked until 9 pm.
At 8.30 pm the rink had 18 skaters, plus 7 more people on the sidelines. The washroom had quite a few bags in it, since the change room is locked and skaters don't want to keep their back packs outside in the snowbanks. There seemed to be two shinny games going on, as well as a bit of pleasure-skating around the edges -- in the dark! There is only one small street light beside this rink, even though in much of the rink season it's starts getting dark in late afternoon.
When asked about playing shinny in the dark, some young skaters looked puzzled -- they thought that's how all the rinks are run.
No opening signage, but the schedule is up which is weird because the rink looks like a crime scene! The lower fences are missing most of the way round and there's yellow 'CAUTION' tape up. There's no ice, just concrete and puddles. The fancy new-looking change room building is locked up and there were no staff on site.
The city's website has a note that the rink building is closed. On a sunny Saturday morning at the end of the Christmas holidays, the ice is very scuffed up and snowy (not from precipitation). The signs are there, that this rink is well-used, at least in the later hours of the day. There is only one small bench for sitting and changing skates. The brand new designer building is locked with a sign saying that the locked doors are because of vandalism. Its real cause is poor city stewardship -- expensive rink plant, expensive building, and no programs. A pity.
E-mail to City Councillor Peter Milczyn, from cityrinks.ca:
Response from Susan O'Connor, Executive Assistant to Ward 5 Councillor Peter Milczyn:
response from Jutta Mason, cityrinks:
The community building located in the Queensway Park was build by one of the condo developers at the request of the City.
It hasn't been furnished but, far as we understand, can be used for community events.
We have used it last winter for one of our events.
The cost of the field house, we were told, was $1.54 million. We learned from project coordinator Doug Giles that the building was completed in the fall of 2010. The councillor told us that up to this day, no use has been made of it. There was no money left over for furniture, for one thing, so the “skate changing/meeting room” area is mostly empty, with only two wall-mounted benches. Perhaps because there are so few benches, the field house was never entered into the permit system. After more than a year of locked doors, skaters have no access to change their skates, and it’s not possible to get a permit either.
E-mail to Ward 5 councillor Peter Milczyn, capital projects coordinator Doug Giles and recreation supervisor Dave Hains: