See also Site Map
Opened for the season
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 until yesterday and then it was listed as "snow removal in progress" (with over 25 cm of snow). At 1 p.m. it was again listed as open.
This rink is one of two in the city listed as "snow covered, ongoing snow maintenance." The snow was two days ago, on Saturday.
The rink has got a beautiful ice surface. On Sundays they open up the hockey rink for pleasure skating as they do on many other rinks.
For the past two years, this rink has kept the skating trail un-iced for the first 1 -2 weeks of the skating season. This year it's been iced -- better!
Inside the huge observation gallery, a woman is going through boxes of new hockey jerseys. She says the gilrs' hockey program will begin tomorrow, and this it includes 600 girls.
The parking lot was full even though the rink was fairly empty. Some kids' hockey had just ended and a learn-to-skate lesson had taken over on the hockey pad.
At 11.15, there was a thin layer of ice on both rinks, and a CIMCO truck parked outside. Maybe this year they won't wait almost two weeks to open the pleasure-skating side. That would be progress.
The rink is closed for the season, although it was scheduled to stay open until March 20.
This rink is listed as having bad ice on its pleasure-skating side, but open on the hockey side.
At noon, the rink was officially open but there were no skaters. Apparently there are nine inches of ice on this rink, so there was no sign of thin spots. But why go skating when spring seems to be here, with 10 celsius and a rink full of water?
This rink had its boards replaced with aluminum boards, with great fanfare, through a "partnership agreement" with Home Depot and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment in 2005; also got a scoreboard and a sound system. A Parks equipment document seems to say the boards are scheduled to be replaced again this year.
At 8 p.m., after a day when the temperature went up to 15 celsius and there was intermittent sun, the ice had firmed up completely and the rink guard said it was the best it had been all season. There was a fast hockey game with referees on the hockey pad, and lots of pleasure-skaters on the trail.
The city's website showed a blank for New Year's Day, which would normally mean everything was closed, but actually everything was open and there were three staff -- two rink guards and a zamboni driver.The staff said there had been the usual New Year's Eve skating party last night (New Year's Eve) and therefore the rink was open until 10. That didn't appear on the city's web schedule either. The staff said there was a big crowd.
All the city's outdoor rinks were closed today until later afternoon, because of the heavy, extremely wet snow. Rennie was in the first group of three to re-open, at 3 pm.
All of the rinks were closed over Christmas even though the ice was mostly fine, this one too. It reopened on Boxing Day.
As of this morning, the city's outdoor rinks website no longer says that the pleasure-skating side is closed.
A warm day, already 11 celsius. The hockey side is fine, the pleasure-skating ice is non-existent -- turned off. I ask the zamboni driver if he knows that Rennie was listed as closed all weekend. He says, how should he know, he doesn't work on weekends. I say, don't your colleagues talk to you? He grins, shakes his head. I ask, do you know when you'll start making ice on the pleasure-skating pad? He grins again, turns and goes inside. Not giving any information seems to cause him considerable enjoyment.
While I watch the skaters on the hockey pad, the city's outdoor rink website continues to list Rennie as closed. All day. But if you're web-savvy, you click on the name, and it reveals that only the pleasure-skating side is closed.
The city's website has listed this rink as closed, for two days now, but only the pleasure-skating side is closed. So much wrong information.
At 10 a.m. the rink was closed. As in the previous 3 years (but never before) the pleasure-skating side had been turned off and the compressor power had been redirected to the hockey pad. There were some zamboni tire tracks on the hockey side.
Strange that Rennie Rink can't open on time, since it has higher compressor power than almost all other city rinks (200 hp) -- as much as Harbourfront's Natrel Rink, which is open and full of skaters. Other nearby rinks, with less power, are open too....?
The zamboni driver said that he had to close the hockey side and had been putting down as many floods as he could.
At noon, a group of kids from the school were trying the ice in their shoes, delighted to see that there was lots of ice already. On our visit the day before, four staff were chatting at the top of the stairs. They said they had begun flooding on Tuesday the 23rd, in the evenings from 6 pm to 2 am. The staff said they couldn't do more because there simply were not enough staff.
Rink diaries from earlier years:
At 2 pm the rink looked pretty good on both sides, except along the hockey boars and the edges of the skating trail. 13 kids playing shinny. The zamboni driver said that during March although they sometimes had to close in the afternoon, they always opened again in the evening. Hmm.
Rink marked "closed" for today, by 3 pm.
The rink was open, the building was open, the ice looked excellent. At 10.15 a.m. there were only three pleasure-skaters on the ice. Early, yet.
At 2.15 pm there were skaters, rink guards, and a zamboni operator. The building was open -- front doors and back. On the city's website, however, the rink had been listed as "unsupervised" for all three statutory holidays: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year's Day. This usually means there is no change room or washroom access either. The staff said they had long known that the rink would be open on Boxing Day, and that the web site was wrong.
The city's website lists Rennie Rink as closing at 4 pm on New Year's Eve, but that must be wrong too. For years now, this rink has had a neighborhood skating party on New Year's Eve. We saw no sign up at the rink, but a couple of blocks away at the streetcorner by the public school, there was a big sign on the fence: campfire and skating party at Rennie Rink 6.30 to 9.30.
The rink is listed as reopened but with "thin ice."
At 11 a.m. the city's rink information website says "closed (soft ice)." Not very informative! The temperature is 1 celsius. Hopefully what's really happening is that the ice is being rebuilt.
At 11.30 a.m. the rink looks awful. The hockey side has concrete patches. The pleasure-skating side has thick enough ice but it's got thousands of willow leaves embedded in it. One kid is shooting a puck around in shoes -- no danger of slipping, the ice is crusty, no sign of ice maintenance here. The rink house is locked and no staff are in sight although there is a staff car parked outside. The front doors are heavily screened -- someone has put up a "rink temporarily closed" poster on the inside of the glass but it's almost impossible to read because of the screen in front.
At the same time, Ramsden Rink, Dufferin Rink, Cedarvale, and Greenwood (including the outdoor skate path) are in good shape with lots of skaters. The main difference among all these rinks is that Rennie has more compressor power.
The rink looks good. At 10 p.m. two zamboni staff are just getting ready to do another flood. They tell me that the Rennie compressors were also started up early, but the staff turned them off when they knew that snow was coming. Even so, one of the zamboni driver tells me, they had to do a lot of cleanup, and they only started getting the ice in two days ago. They still haven't put the mats down because there is ice and snow where the mats will be, and putting them on top will be dangerous. So they have to wait until the thaw.
The compressors are not on at this rink. and that means that the nasty combination of snow and rain that came down a few days ago is not stuck to the slab as it is at some other rinks. The hockey-side slab is almost bare and the skating trail has thin snow on it, being ploughed off (at 10 a.m.) by a little bobcat.
Here's an interesting question -- are the compressors turned off because the west district rink management is smarter and more flexible about weather, or is Rennie Rink not ready to open? There is a pile of pipes stacked beside the skating trail -- are there going to be repairs?
The city's web schedule for Rennie makes it seem like the rink has nothing going on at New Year's Day, but in fact the downstairs doors are open for change room and washroom access. A good susprise!
It's obvious that there is a zamboni operator on site (two cars and a city truck in front of the office -- maybe there's more than one city staff). But there is no staff person on the ice. About half the handful of people skating on the hockey side are pleasure-skaters. There are quite a few more pleasure-skaters on the skating trail as well.
The upstairs door to the clubhouse is actually the front door, coming off the parking lot. It's locked and it lacks any sign for open/closed times. One has the impression that the rink is meant for people who know to go around the back, not for people coming for the first time.
Holidays: on the city's outdoor rinks web page, this rink had only empty space on the city's schedule for Dec.25, 26 and Jan.1, suggesting it would be closed. But according to the schedule posted at the rink itself, this rink was to be CLOSED on Christmas Day, but open for "unsupervised skating" 10 to 6 on Boxing Day and New Year's Day. Since there was a zamboni driver on-site, Etobicoke-style, that meant the change room and washrooms were unlocked, although only from the back way. There were no staff to patrol the rink or help skaters, though, since the zamboni drivers mostly stay in their upstairs room with the blinds closed when they're not doing their ice maintenance work.
2 pm: The rink was open and there were six happy shinny players on the hockey side. One was wearing a helmet, the others were following the code of non-contact shinny hockey -- no helmets. There were no pleasure skaters but by the markings on the ice it looked as though there had been plenty of skaters earlier.
The new zamboni operator was chipping off some nasty ice on the cement stairway going down to the rink from the parking lot. I asked if I should go through the inside of the change room and come down the indoor stairs, but he said it's locked. He prefers to keep the change room locked except when there are programs, he said, because otherwise the kids can roam around in there. If anybody wants to use the washrooms, they can come find him and he'll let them in.
Locked change rooms during rink hours is common in Etobicoke. Also, locked front doors. People in the know can go by the back way.
The closed status for the hockey side was still on the city's website at noon. We went over to find folks skating and a good game of shinny starting. One youth was just telling anyone that would listen about how happy he was that the rink is finally open. He showed us the two new sticks he bought; so that when one broke, he could just keep on playing with the spare. Excited much :)
Today the City's status page said that the rink closed its hockey side due to a technical problem. Late Monday night the ice seemed to be fine and skatable.
10:30 am - from a distance it was clear that Rennie wasn't as 'operational' as the city's site said it was. A few people skating around, the building open with one building attendant. The hockey league was cancelled this morning because the staff said it wasn't in good shape. "too think for hockey, but ok for figure skating". A handful of people were skating around between the two pads. Tomorrow will also be leisure skating on both sides, so anyone wanting to play shinny, will have to wait till Monday. The morning snow is still thick on the ice. Staff say that they Zamboni blade is damaged. They hope it will be fixed by tonight.
3.30 pm: Rennie Rink has more compressor power than any of the other neighbourhood rinks in Toronto -- 200 horsepower. But it sure doesn't look like it today. Other rinks are frozen and ready to go. Rennie is a big puddle. No wonder, since they hadn't even started flooding by Wednesday at this time. Who would imagine that you can get a rink started in only three days, even in ideal ice-making weather like this year?
2.30pm:Although the compressors are running (and were already running on Tuesday), there is no ice at all -- just bare cement. Three days before the scheduled rink opening and no flooding! Just a few frozen puddles from the last rain.
8.30 pm:There were two ice maintenance staff upstairs in the office. The rinks had a lot of water on them -- some of it frozen and some a lake. It looked like too much water had been put on all at once. The staff said they had put on over a thousand gallons of water. Maybe they didn't hear in their training that at the beginning the ice is supposed to be laminated in thin layers, always just enough water to freeze onto the previous layer within a few minutes.
The staff said there would be no night shift, only their evening shift (3 to 11). So that means there would have been time for maybe one more flood before ice making was over for the day. The staff said they couldn't have started the day before because the sun was too warm. (!)
The corporate culture is: lots of excuses.
From rink user MK: "FYI, rennie was trashed over the weekend and have now stopped offering open adult skates from 10pm-midnight. Major bummer considering its one of the best pickup games in the city..."
Rain day, ends around 2pm. We went by Rennie tonight - surprised at the city listing it as closed. At 6pm, we found it open, skaters on the pleasure side and a hockey game going for little ones, on the other. The pleasure pad looked dry because the water simply flows of the path's sides. The hockey side was a little wet still. There were three rink guards, and maybe two maintenance staff. The zamboni hadn't been on at all.
Rennie Opens both the hockey side and pleasure side on time!