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November 15, 2008

Two pieces of news:
1. Harbourfront had advertised that their rink would open today, Nov.15, but they changed their minds (although the web site info hasn't changed) and decided to open a week later instead. The rink staff told me "too warm." By way of comparison, Central Park opened their rink Oct.23. The staff there told me that they've lost 5 days since then, but that most days the ice has been great. (Note, by the way, that they offer a special outdoor ice rental rate of $1500 for making marriage proposals: marriage proposal set-up -- unique New York).

2. Yesterday, the Community Development and Recreation Committee of City Council considered a staff report on extending outdoor rink hours for 14 rinks into mid-March: Outdoor Artificial Ice Rink Season. The staff report says that two extra weeks for fourteen rinks will cost an extra $179,000. The report also says that at those locations that stayed open during last March "there were 25 to 40 skaters on each rink per day.....During most days in March, the sunlight and warmer temperatures deteriorated ice conditions at all locations." Their conclusion? Parks management recommends that the 14 rinks be kept open until mid-March every year from now on. No, really. (This year, March break comes later in the month, so despite the extended season, the outdoor rinks won't be open for the school break.)

To find the money to keep these 14 rinks open to mid-March, the order has already gone out to close all the neighbourhood outdoor rinks on Christmas Day (no, Janey, you can't try out your new skates) and to have shortened hours on all the other winter stat holidays including Family Day.

We found out about this item on very short notice and so couldn't rearrange anyone's schedule to attend the committee meeting at City Hall. When we hear what the councillors decided, we'll post it on the cityrinks website front page.

If you'd rather keep your neighbourhood rink open on Christmas Day, and have the normal skating times on stat holidays, one possibility is to speak to your Councillor about doing a trade. Schedule your local rink to close by March 1, when the sun gets too high, in return for staying open the maximum hours every day until then, including on winter holidays when the weather suits rinks and the ice is lovely. It's worth a try.

Jutta Mason

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Content last modified on January 30, 2009, at 02:12 PM EST