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Rink Diaries 2004 - 2011

2010 - 2011

Thursday November 25 2010

There was a worker on the rink pad with a leaf rake. He seemed to be trying to rake leaves from under the ice with a simple rake. It looked completely futile, and he went off the ice to get an ice chipper. He said the rink should be open on Saturday or Sunday but that the weather was not good so 'who knows.' He said that they are having problems at Nathan Philips and suggested that it will mean problems for the rest of the rinks as well. I saw the rink pad was covered in leaves and he told me that they did the best they could, but it was impossible to keep the rink leafless because there were trees right beside it. I looked at the trees and they were completely bare and had been for a while (seen in the photos of my previous visits). The change room was still a mess and there were still plenty of leaves outside of the rink. O.S.

Friday November 26 2010

4 pm: There was nobody around and the rink was covered in ice, however it was full of white patches and leaves beneath and on the ice. Last season's signs were finally removed from the door of the change room but the room was still in an untouched state.

ice going in

lots of leaves under the ice
Saturday November 27 2010

The ice looks okay. In mid-afternoon -- one skater. No signage, either. Three kids inside, with a building attendant. The attendant said there might have been ten skaters there all day. One of the kids said that the zamboni guys told him they were going to "put it on the news" that Regent South is open. It emerged that the "news" may have been letting "311" know about it.

ice is skateable

the rink change room floor, freshly hosed down
Sunday Dec.5 2010

12 noon: the rink got a flood, first of the day. 3 skaters.

Saturday December 25, 2010

A mother skated with her son - who was fully dressed in a hockey uniform. The woman said that she took a chance and came out although she didn't know if the rink would be open. She was very glad it was.

1.Regent Park South

2.Regent Park South

3.Regent Park South
Friday Feb.18 2011, mid-afternoon. Sunny and 9 degrees.

4.25pm: Rink closed. There was a member of staff in the change room. He said he hoped the rink could open again at around 7pm or 8pm. The ice was wet all over and looked rough from where the zamboni must have driven over it to scrape. Twigs and leaves had blown onto the ice in places.



March 2 2011

sundown at Regent South Rink

At about 6pm there were 22 people in the change room (11 kids and 11 adults) the kids were getting ready for shinny, plus 4 kids skating. The ice was a bit rough, like it could do with a flood, but generally ok and hard except for the edges where the ice felt like it was cracking under foot.

Two rink guards in the change room said the ice had turned to mush the day before. They said they expected the Flying Squad to stop by to flood at around 6.30pm.


2009 - 2010

Nov.20 2009

Nov.20, lots of water and a little ice

who put blue paint down the storm sewer?

lumber inside the change room

Regent South Rink is one of the 14 rinks listed for opening tomorrow, but it's clear they won't be. The compressors are on and there's lots of water ion the rink, as well little islands of ice, but the cement is clearly visible. The rink guard supervisor is inside, trying to clean up -- the rink change area was repainted in blue and white, all the lockers are gone, and there are some new benches, as well as some lumber stacked in the middle of the room. Outside the front doors there are blue-paint footprints and a big semi-dry puddle of blue paint clearly leading into the storm sewer. There's no signage about when the rink will open.

Nov.22 2009

two signs

There's a paper sign on the door, saying "weather permitting" the rink will open on Wednesday Nov.25. But there's no sign of anyone trying to make ice -- there's less water and more islands of concrete than before.

I post a sign beside the other one, asking "what happened? Dufferin Rink is open, why not Regent?"

Tuesday Nov.24 2009

2.30 pm: No one on site. There is a sign up that says "rink will open Nov 25th". This seems unlikely. The compressors are on but no ice has formed as far as I can tell. There is a fair bit of water (and dirt and debris like leaves) on the pad. The gates are locked so I can't be sure that there is no ice under the water but I don't see any.

Nov.25 2009

Nov.25 -- no sign of any ice-making

Although it's dark on the rink, it's easy to see that no more work has been done on it. Meanwhile Dufferin Rink is full of skaters, whereas this rink is deserted.

Nov.28, 2008

There is never anyone working at this rink, it seems. The compressors are still on, and since there was some rain, a few patches have frozen. But there's nothing to bridge the patches together. The "Weather permitting, Nov.25" sign is still up, but the one I put up has been removed.


Dec.1 2009

There must have been some flooding right after the last entry -- because today the news came that Regent South is open.

Dec.8 2009

Good ice, at last

At 1 pm there are two skaters in the rink house, plus one rink building attendant. They say that the lunchtime skaters from Nelson Mandela School just left. The rink's puck collection is still in the net -- the building attendant says he keeps a collection of pucks for when the school comes or when people come with no puck. When told that Dufferin Rink sells skate laces as well as pucks and tape, they laugh. "If you break a skate lace, you just tie it back together. Or use duct tape."

The building attendant says that the big primary school next door has had a hockey team for some years, which uses this rink to practice. Kids also come over from there in their phys ed times, just to skate around. He's not sure if the school has a skate collection fro kids who don't have their own.

hockey pucks for whoever wants to play

He mentions that the NHL Players' Association donated some hockey sets to the nearby Wellesley Community Centre. These sets were given out to kids who couldn't afford their own equipment. But the days when the recreation staff ran a hockey program and set up tourneys are over.

The rink change areas has only benches,not even one table, no board games, no food, no lockers. The building attendant says that the rink is meant for sports, not for socializing -- hinting since the social activities that might happen there would not be good ones. He does say that families come out to the rinks on weekends, and that they might enjoy having some food at the rink.

But on weekdays, family use is not so much. As I leave, five more hockey players get onto the ice. They look like they might be people on lunch or on shift work.

Wednesday Dec.30 2009

holiday shinny hockey

Numbers at 2.45: 14 shinny hockey players, three pleasure-skaters, 8 inside. Staff: one building attendant.

This rink has the feel of a real neighbourhood rink. On the rink there were mostly younger kids and youth but also some older players who slowed down around the kids learning how to skate while holding on to the fence. Inside there were some young girls, several wearing hijabs, just taking off their skates.

The building attendant said that last winter there was a fun fair at the rink which attracted lots of kids.

Wednesday January 13, 2010

At 12.30 pm the rink is full of lunchtime hockey players from Nelson Mandala School. Their phys ed teacher, Shaka Abdul-Rashid, says they come over most lunchtimes for extra practice, and he's there with phys ed classes all day on Tuesdays. The school has a room for the skate collection, so that no kid needs to be without skates. And on Tuesdays, they get a lot of help from a woman named Laura Levtov, who runs a skating school called funskate. They said she even brings her instructors, without charge.

The Regent South rink attendant says they have more skates in a storage room at the rink, so that kids who have outgrown their skates can trade them in there. He said that somebody donated a skate sharpener but they've never used it -- there may be some parts missing. It would be good to get that going, with the volume of kids skating over there, through the school. They said also get skate sharpening and equipment through the Hockey Heroes program at Moss Park Arena. It all looks like pretty much fun.

January 19, 2010 Email from S.R. to CityRinks

I am writing in regards to the rink at Regent Park South and the shinny times. I have gone a few times in the afternoon when adult shinny was suppose be taking place and instead there were skating lessons taking place on the ice. Is there a new schedule out that I am not aware of or do the kids take precedence over adults? I can understand if the schedule has been changed, but if there are 20 of us out there and the shinny time is 1pm-3pm and kids show up at 1:30pm, who has the right to the ice? Just thought I would bring this problem to your attention.


2008 - 2009

Saturday December 6 2008

Regent South Rink was open with a building attendant and a rink guard. Good ice, four people playing shinny hockey. The sign was from last year's closing date. The rink house was light-filled and run-down and friendly as always.

good ice

the closing date sign, still up from last March

January 23 2009

At 5.40 there were eight skaters on the ice and another 5-6 kids inside the rink house. Regent South is always a fun place to start a conversation -- people (usually kids) are polite and they always have interesting things to tell. There was some difference of opinion about when the flying squad comes, but most kids felt it comes twice a day, either at 2 and 6 or at 12 and 4. The ice on Friday was good. The building attendant, whose little brother was also there, said they had a permit last year but this year "nobody wanted one." If the ice is bad, they don't use shovels, since their long green scrapers got broken. They were never fixed.

One of the kids was retaping his stick. They said they can buy hockey tape at the variety store across the street, the Daisy Mart, which stocks it along with groceries.

I asked the kids if they wanted a photo on the web site and at first they said they wanted an action shot, but then they changed their minds. They said I should write that the Regent kids are shy -- but talented.


2007 - 2008

Monday January 21, 2008

South Regent is like the favoured child compared to North Regent. South Regent has a truly wonderful building with windows so staff and users can see the action on the rink and lovely west facing windows so that the room warms after school when the kids come by. There are about 15 users and 2 staff skating. Almost no one has a helmet on. There are extra helmets available on top of the lockers. Staff explain that the helmets are not good quality and kids don't like wearing them "who knows where they have been", unless the kids are very little. But for shinny hockey the users are usually aged 12-18 and they refuse and staff respect their decision.

Staff have not been given the city of Toronto helmets although the posters are up saying that helmets are on offer. Staff feel that there is some sense that Regent should not get fancy new helmets.

The ice is good tonight although staff report that in the first month they did not get a scrape or flood more than once every other day. A permit is arriving tonight so everyone is happy that they will get ice maintenance.

The lockers need to be fixed and the women's washroom is locked, women must use the men's which is propped open.

Friday Jan 18

Google News Alert for: toronto outdoor rinks

Wharnsby: Time to honour Metropolit
Globe and Mail - Canada Recently moved into the Toronto neighbourhood known as Corktown and was pleased to discover that there is a good outdoor rink a few blocks away at Sumach ...

Monday Jan 7

A deserted rink

5:45pm Low 10, high 15 celsius. The rink is deserted. The changeroom door is locked but the gate in the boards is open allowing access to the ice. The rink surface is covered in water, but the ice underneath is solid.


2006 - 2007

Dec.18 2006, 3:30pm

We arrive in time for the after school rush. About 10 people are suiting up to play shinny. The ice is good although the boards were not repainted and the concrete was not thoroughly cleaned before the ice went in.

The schedule is not posted and copies are not available. The ice is maintained once or twice a day but there is no schedule for those resurfacing visits.

There are two staff there. The inside is very pleasant, large and open with nice natural light and good visual access. There are mats and benches inside arranged in a smart way.

They offer about 10 free helmets to be borrowed (no signing out) but no one has enough money to buy their own. The older teens on the rink are not wearing helmets but kids are made to wear helmets. There are recycling and garbage bins and the changeroom has been swept that day.

There is no food. The changeroom is really loud since a heater is broken and makes a loud noise. There are lockers. Like Dufferin inside, the floor is pure mats instead of carefully placed paths of mats.

There is a phone for staff but it breaks, the staff says. There are no green shovels on site.

Feb.22 2007, 3.30 pm

zamboni at Regent South, 3.30 pm

Heavy, wet snowfall in the morning closed the rink. Zamboni just finishing cleaning the ice at 3.30, ready to re-open. Very nice rink attendant (alone, no skaters) said the reason why there's a Regent North Rink so near is that there are older boundaries, no longer so much of a problem, but still in people's minds. It used to be that parents might not want their kids to go to the South Rink, that they would think it was dangerous. There used to be a sharper division between north and south. He said he tries to tell the kids, "don't go telling people you're from Regent Park, so they'll be afraid of how tough you are. If you don't try to be important like that, you'll stay out of trouble." He grinned, though, and said, "maybe they listen to me, maybe not."

5.30pm: four skaters playing hockey, with three more arriving.


2005 - 2006

January 28 2006

Sunny, 8 degrees celsius 4.05 Locked. Three drinkers around the corner. Ice looks fine except a wet spot at south end. No sign on the door.

5.30. Rink open now. A bit bumpy but fine for skating. Three kids skating, plus the drinkers, plus one rink staff, inside. The zamboni trailer pulled up just as I got there the on-site staff went out on the ice to get the skaters off, but then the zamboni trailer just pulled away again. The on-site staff gestured his puzzlement to them as they left, but they just waved through the truck window and kept going. The skaters and the staff were upset, saying, "those guys are just lazy, they do this a lot."

March 8 2006

cloudy, 3 degrees 2:15 p.m. poor ice quality but recently cleaned. Ice thickness roughly 3 - 5 inches. 3 hockey players. Heavy, wet snowfall in the morning closed the rink. Zamboni just finishing cleaning the ice at 3.30, ready to re-open. Very nice rink attendant (alone, no skaters) said the reason why there's a Regent North Rink so near is that there are older boundaries, no longer so much of a problem, but still in people's minds. It used to be that parents might not want their kids to go to the South Rink, that they would think it was dangerous. There used to be a sharper division between north and south. He said he tries to tell the kids, "don't go telling people you're from Regent Park, so they'll be afraid of how tough you are. If you don't try to be important like that, you'll stay out of trouble." He grinned, though, and said, "maybe they listen to me, maybe not."

5.30pm: four skaters playing hockey, with three more arriving.


2003 - 2004

Regent Park South Rink

Feb.28, 2004: unseasonably warm, sunny afternoon. Ice was amazingly good -- a few puddles but still firm overall. No one on ice but two staff in rink house, looking over the shoulders of three boys playing chess. very good-natured vibe. This rink house has a good possibility for installing a small community kitchen -- roomy and very bright with windows from both sides. Right at the edge of a bad-reputation housing development, but one of the best compressor plants and nicest rink houses in the city.

March 6, 2004: I went to see how Regent South rink had held up during the warm spell the day before. The foreman was there, talking on his cell, trying to find out why the rink staff hadn't come to open the changeroom (by 12.30 noon). I pointed at a window with a cracked pane, and he said that was done earlier in the week. "There was a sign on the door that said the rink would be open until March 21," he said. "Then when it got so warm they shut the rink down and took off the sign. The next morning, seven of those glass panes were cracked. I guess people were unhappy when the plans changed."

Regent Park South Rinkhouse

Regent Park South Changeroom

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Content last modified on January 21, 2018, at 02:38 PM EST