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Rink Diary

2018 - 2019

Feb.9, 2019: official opening

Mark Grimes tent. Gates open for a big pleasure-skating surface

sound system tent
 

mascots

Mark Grimes table inside
 

Mark Grimes himself

Mark Grimes craft table
 

snack table run by rec staff (about 15 PFR staff onsite)

a game and blocks outside
 
Jan.29, 2019

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.

Jan.17, 2019

short skating trail with tight turns, good for a workout

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.


shinny gates can be opened for a longer skating trail

cars used to point their headlights onto the rink at night
 
Jan.12, 2018

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:

"I am pleased to announce that the Queensway Park Skating Trail at 8 Avon Park Drive, will be open for use as of Saturday January 12th. I know that the community has been waiting a long time for this project to be completed, but the time has come to take out the skates!

Stay tuned for information on an official grand opening event in the future!"

Nov.27,2018

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.


skating trail is continuous with hockey rink, an evergreen to skate around

hockey side is about the same shape as before
 

still lots to do

installing a railing for the skating trail
 
Nov.23, 2018

Earlier today this rink was listed as opening by Dec.15. By the afternoon that estimate was changed to January 2019.

Nov.21 2018

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.

June 5, 2018: construction moving along

digging a hole

fence posts up
 

refrigeration machinery still in its shipping frames

old rink house is gone, just a big pile of dirt now
 


 

Rink diaries from earlier years

2017 - 2018

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.

Nov.24, 2017

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.


it's barely begun


 

2016 - 2017

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.

Oct.25, 2016

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.


Queensway rink slab still set up for tennis, no construction

building mainly used for maintenance staff to eat lunch
 

2015 - 2016

Feb.3, 2016

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."

Jan.25, 2016

The rink was marked as open in the morning but closed again by afternoon.

Jan.23, 2016

nonsense

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.

Jan.20, 2016

big lumps of ice all over, poor staff technique

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.

Dec.10 2015

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.


rink compressor plant is not in good shape -- will only run as a natural ice rink, starting in January 2016

bringing propane? or removing it from the tanks?

fixing fence
 


2014 - 2015

Jan.1 2015

tractor with Champion ice resurfacer

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.


ragged scrap of rubber matting to washroom

new graffiti in women's washroom
 
Dec.26 2014 (Boxing Day)

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.


Boxing Day: fast game of shinny hockey

change room closed so kids change outdoors

$1.4 million building beginning to look tired already...

...but at least the washrooms were open
 
Dec.21, 2014

The rink opened for the season.

Dec.9 2014

sign on the front door of the rink, at last

Message from the councillor's office staff:

PER the Supervisor today. I just spoke with our technical services staff and offer the following information.

Refrigerant leaks on the pad have been repaired. Tests indicate all is in order.

Failed compressor motor is being rebuilt along with repairs to roof which leaked and caused the compressor motor failure in the first place.

All repairs are expected to be completed by the end of next week at which time the compressor's can be turned on. Once the pad cools down enough and depending on weather we can start flooding then. We're hoping to have skate able ice by December 22nd and sooner of course if we are able to.

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.

Dec.5 2014

Dec.5: still no ice at Queensway Rink -- why?

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.


no sign of explanation

marking for work planned for the future?
Nov.30, 2015

This rink did not open all weekend

Nov.24, 2014

This rink shows no sign of flooding and the compressors are off.


only cement

original rink building: compressor not turned on yet
 

2012-2013

December 5th, 2012

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.

 
January 4 2013

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.


wreath from the local business association

this $1.54 million building is mostly locked in winter

washrooms now mostly unlocked

change room, with only two benches but good rubber mats
 
January 9 2013

only one light during the dark season

skaters keep their bags in the washrooms

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.

 

2011 - 2012

Saturday Dec.3 2011

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.


looks like police tape

new building? No explanations
 

Saturday January 7 2012

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.


new building on left, old one on right

mats from outside bench to rink

sign on locked door

interior view through the window

south end of building has machinery room

designer building, locked
Tuesday January 10, 2012

E-mail to City Councillor Peter Milczyn, from cityrinks.ca:

Dear Councillor Milczyn, This week's newspapers praised you for you architectural knowledge, and the new Queensway Park building in your ward is certainly a very modern design. But what is the use of such a nice building if it stays locked all winter?

Here is our cityrinks.ca web page on Queensway Rink: We have also featured the building as a sad case on the cityrinks.ca home page.

If a recreation staff could be stationed there even for part of the day or on the weekend (as in other parts of the city), the doors could be unlocked and the neighbourhood could get the benefit of their taxes. Part-time rec staff wages start at $10.25 -- this would not break the bank. Or perhaps there would be a willing donor for that amount in the neighbourhood?

Comments?

Tuesday January 17 2012

Response from Susan O'Connor, Executive Assistant to Ward 5 Councillor Peter Milczyn:

For background, the capital improvement plan for this rink is being done in phases. The phase one that was completed does include two new washroom facilities. There is also a community room, which Councillor Milczyn has advised that it is intended to be closed/locked unless has actually been permitted out to the community. I am getting additional information on the permitting process for this room for you and can get back to you on this. The pictures that you are showing on your website are of this room which is a room that can be used by permit.

The next phase is in the capital plan and is currently planned to be completed in 2015-2010. The timing of this will depend on a number of factors but the Councillor is working with Staff to ensure this is not delayed. He is monitoring it within future capital budgets.

As you may know, the rink at Queensway park is historically an unsupervised rink. It is advertised as such and at this point I would assume that most residents in the area are fully aware of this.

Regarding the washroom: The washrooms at this park building were opened again this year for the winter rink season as scheduled and the washrooms were left UNLOCKED. Unfortunately, on January 4th the Mens washroom was Vandalized but did remain open while repairs were scheduled. On January 5th the Vandals again went into the Mens washroom and further destroyed all of the lighting in the Men's & Women's washroom as well. At the same time they damaged to the washroom stalls in the Women's room.

For this reason Parks Staff were forced to close and lock both washrooms until they can again be fixed and re opened. We are sorry for the inconvenience and wish that vandals didn't do this to our public property, and wish that these washrooms could remain open but with this occurring, is necessary to close and lock them. I hope that this explains to you and those reading your website why regrettably the washrooms are locked at the present time. This is an extremely upsetting situation and Councillor Milczyn wishes that this type of destruction did not occur to our public spaces.

response from Jutta Mason, cityrinks:

It's a heartbreaker, isn't it, when somebody damages public facilities, apparently just for fun?

Hopefully the replacement light fixtures will be made harder to break. I'm guessing that there must be lots of unstaffed public washrooms in Etobicoke parks, shopping centres, etc., so that tougher light fixtures etc are available.

I'm aware that Etobicoke runs 8 neighbourhood compressor-cooled skating rinks that at some point (2001?) became unsupervised, presumably in order to save money. There are no unsupervised rinks elsewhere in the city. Not having an indoor space for warming up or changing, and no access to public washrooms, means that rink use tends to be very local. That has its strengths and weaknesses -- local is nice for the people in the nearby houses, but the energy costs for compressor-cooled rinks make very restricted usage harder to justify, fiscally.

Re your invitation to meet with the councillor to discuss Ward 5 outdoor rinks or the Bubble -- we'd like that. Our project is "making maximum use of what we have." That means having a $300,000 (? my guess) building open for a lot more year-round community use than may be the case at Queensway Park. We've been experimenting in west Toronto, and we're getting the costs down -- want to suggest a time for a couple of us to come by and talk about this? We can do it during the lockout time, if you like, since time is short now.

Jan.27 2012, response from the Queeensway Residents' Association

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.

January 30, 2012: meeting with Ward 5 councillor Peter Milczyn, capital projects coordinator Doug Giles and recreation supervisor Dave Hains:

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.

Feb.5 2012

E-mail to Ward 5 councillor Peter Milczyn, capital projects coordinator Doug Giles and recreation supervisor Dave Hains:

I've been writing a bi-monthly series about a number of parks and rinks. Here is what I wrote about Queensway Rink (and comparing it to Campbell Rink): //publiccommons.ca/documents/record/1003

Please let me know if I got any of the details wrong.

If you ever wish to move in the direction of public programming for this publicly-funded resource, we'd be happy to join the conversation. Also, the part-time rec staff that work their magic in Ward 18 are very resourceful in helping other programs.

Thanks for taking the time to meet.

 

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