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< December 20 - 21 | 2008-2009 Diary Page List | December 16 - 17 >

Friday December 19, 2008

Christie Pits

Big snowstorm -- all the rinks are closed.

Recreation manager Lucky Boothe said that there is no citywide "gag order" to remove posters, and that he will talk to recreation supervisor Kim Brown on Monday to find out why she gave that order at Christie and Trinity rinks.

Monica Gupta (chair) sent out a news update to the Friends of Christie Pits

Family Skate Days

Every Sunday is Family Skate Day from 1-3pm. This Sunday there may be a surprise Skate with Santa...we just need to find a santa suit. If you have one please let me know a.s.a.p. As always there will be hot chocolate, donuts, cookies and hot dogs. Come in and keep warm by the wood stove and make snowflakes for the windows. We should have a fire pit going on outside the rink too!

With this great winter storm come out with your toboggans, skis and skates. The park is a Winter Wonderland and looks magical.

Snack Bar

There is a snack bar inside Alex Duff which was leased privately for the past five years. This year the Recreation Staff would like to take over the use of the space and offer a full time snack bar full of healthy snacks including fruit, sandwiches and juices during the skating season. However, the city is planning on inviting non-profits and community agencies to apply to use the space for programming and will have a Request For Proposal (RFP) in the spring of 2009.

This means no one will have access to the Snack Bar over this winter. Friends of Christie Pits Park supports the idea of having the space available to Recreation Staff over the 2008-2009 winter season and have made our position known to the Recreation Supervisor and to Councillor Joe Pantalone.

rink full of snow left over from Friday

Please email [email protected] and [email protected] and let them know "You want a full time snack bar over the winter season at Alex Duff run by Recreation Staff. Friends of Christie Pits Park (FCPP) represents 195 members who use the rink and park all year round and would benefit from having a healthy snack bar during the winter season." (feel free to cut and paste)



Weather: High -12 celsius and low -18, about 20 cm of snow, lots of wind blowing the snow around too.

Snow storm all day -- no skating. The ice maintenance crew went away mid-morning but the rec staff shovelled out all the paths, to be ready for tomorrow. The snow stopped during the evening.


Harry Gairey/Alexandra/Scadding

Big snow storm, rink closed.

Wallace Emerson

All rinks are closed due to a big snowstorm. Recreation rink program staff got a head start by shoveling out the access paths for tomorrow, in two shifts, day and evening. Ice maintenance staff seem to have discontinued work in the morning (on full pay for the day).



Big storm, rink closed.


Thursday December 18 2008

Christie Pits posters were ordered removed from the rink house.

Ice maintenance: 11 a.m and 5 p.m.

4.25 pm: 12 shinny players, none with helmets at this moment.

e-mail sent to Recreation Director Malcolm Bromley, cc to Recreation manager Lucky Boothe

I have heard a rumour that the website posters are to be pulled from rinks -- can't get hold of Lucky to confirm -- please note that if there is any wrong information on any rink page, I will correct it as soon as I am told ([email protected]) -- but if it's a gag order not to talk about what's wrong, that seems unworthy of the City.

Would it make more sense to let your supervisors know how they can contact, to correct wrong information?



There's no bulletin board anywhere near the rink. There's an information counter, but it's a private venture and won't take a poster. Nor do they give out the city's own rink schedules for other rinks in the city. Inside city hall there's no bulletin board either.

The city hall staff don't answer the phone to let people know how the ice is. However, the rink rental place (new owner, nice guy) answers their phone and they say if the rink is open or not.


Weather: high -3 celsius, low -8. Market day, and crowded. A few of last year's troublemakers have been cruising the market at the end, still wearing their skates, maybe looking for unattended cash boxes. The rink staff are keeping a close eye on them, and soon they'll get caught at something and be out for the season. A few of them will maybe get in deeper trouble -- not much sense there, and maybe no anchor at home either. It's hard to watch the descent, maybe harder to live it. Or

All this happens in a setting of so much friendly sociability, little kids practising their skating, jokes told at the market tables. Layers of reality.

The permit group -- the local old-timers -- said the ice was really fine again, and the forecasted storm didn't start until after the rink closed.


Harry Gairey/Alexandra/Scadding

At 9 pm a permit was just finishing and the zamboni was preparing to do ice resurfacing. The ice looked good. The rec program staff person said the rink had been back in operation around 3.30 that day (there had been 2-3 inches of snow overnight from Wednesday).

This rink has its own afternoon/evening zamboni driver, who apparently cleans the ice "whenever it needs it," sometimes four times a shift. The rest of the time he sits in a back office away from the rink, and the two program staff sit in the changeroom by a desk in the corner or, in the case of the rink guard, go out and skate around a bit and then come back in.

The staff said they require all permit shinny players to wear helmets because the permit office said it was mandatory. However, for drop-in shinny hockey the staff don't insist, because most of the players wouldn't wear a helmet. The staff also say that other than three permits and weekend lessons at the rink, they don't really bother trying to enforce age levels for shinny -- they try to just let everyone play.


Trinity posters announcing the website (put up mid-week) were gone off the two bulletin boards. The Rink program staff person said that so far Trinity has been getting only once a day maintenance.

From General Manager Brenda Patterson (responding to questions about ice maintenance)

We are constantly reviewing and revising our protocols and procedures to ensure the continuous improvement of operations and service to all residents. The start-up this season has gone very well, with only a few minor disruptions.....Staff is pleased with the availability and assignment of equipment and believes it is more than sufficient to support the needs program across the city.


Wallace Emerson

E-mail from to general manager Brenda Patterson: Apparently Wallace Rink is considered a "minor" rink and it was not cleared for skating until 7.30 pm. last night.

Wallace Rink is a double pad rink that was rebuilt two years ago at a cost of $1.1 million. It has a skate-lending service, extensive daytime school visits, and weekly family programs, as well as being a very intensively-used youth shimmy hockey destination. It is not "minor." 48 schoolchildren tried to push the snow off the rinks at 1 pm, but this didn't fix the lack of maintenance.

Etobicoke-district rinks only a short distance away opened between 10.30a.m. and 1 pm. after the snow.

Remarkable excerpt from General Manager Brenda Patterson's response (same day):

We are constantly reviewing and revising our protocols and procedures to ensure the continuous improvement of operations and service to all residents. The start-up this season has gone very well, with only a few minor disruptions.....Staff is pleased with the availability and assignment of equipment and believes it is more than sufficient to support the needs program across the city.

Ice maintenance: 2 pm and 6 pm.


Giovanni Caboto

E-mail from to Mike Hindle, rink supervisor: (:letter:) I was at JJP (Giovanni Caboto, Earlscourt) Rink last night and now I have two questions:

1. I asked the zamboni operator whether there's a public bulletin board at the rink and he said no, so I asked him if I could put my poster on the bulletin board that's there (which I guess is not counted as public, but it's mostly empty). The zamboni operator said that you are the rinks supervisor and I have to ask you for permission. Here is the poster: cityrinks poster

May I put it up at JJP?

2. The street doors to the rink are kept locked. The zamboni operator says that's because it's not part of his job to clear snow off the stairs nor the ramp leading down to the rink. He says it's Parks' responsibility. For now, I had to squeeze in between two roadwork trailers parked on the park property since two years ago, and then walk along a "cowpath" to the side gate of the rink. Or I could take a long detour west along the sidewalk, then up an icy roadway, through the parking lot, to come in the back door of the rink building.

I've noticed that the front entry to West Mall Rink, leading from the bus stop, is also kept locked. Is this an Etobicoke policy? Can you explain?


Irving Chapley

E-mail from City outdoor rinks manager Kevin Bowser, to I spoke to the Supervisor regarding this email. The staff you spoke to was filling in for one shift. Staff have be trained on the protocol that are at the facility on a regular basis.


Glen Long

Reply from Wendy Jang, North York recreation supervisor, to

I am one of the supervisors in North York District working with the outdoor ice rink leisure skate staff. I am responding to your note to Kim Hussey regarding the lack of signage at Glen Long AIR (and at all the rest of our outdoor rinks as well)

We are in the process of having some permanent signs made that will be installed on the fencing at each of the rinks (except for Mel Lastman square, which doesn't have fencing). The signs will feature a) a program schedule for both supervised and unsupervised activities b) a note about the priority use of the rink c) contact numbers for program information or for emergency repairs, etc.

If the sign shop is able to make these signs a priority, they will be created and installed before the end of this year.

These signs will not "advertise" the existence of the open access to the rink however, which is what your note also suggests. I would agree that this is a critical missing piece to our service, as North York residents are not accustomed to unsupervised skating opportunities, and would not be expecting to have this service. I will check into the cost to have some all-weather banners made. Due to the year end closures of our 2008 cost centres, I may not be able to have them made until 2009, but the initiatives can been started now. Thank you for noting the lack of signage and for suggesting the promotional signage as well.

If you have any other questions or suggestions about outdoor rinks, please feel free to contact me by telephone as I recognize the wealth of experience you bring as both a community animator and user of our services. I welcome any ideas that will make our services more relevant to the residents.

December 18 2008, e-mail response from to North York Recreation supervisor Wendy Jang

Thanks for writing back. That's great that you're having signs made. The immediate concern is letting people know the skating possibilities during the holidays. Did you see the e-mail reply I sent Kim Hussey re holiday posters? I noted yesterday that you already have paper posters up in the window of the Glen Long Rink office, so maybe your staff could put up a few friendly posters about free unsupervised skating, that can bring a nice holiday surprise to people in the neighbourhood of Glen Long.

If your cost centres are so full up that they can't cover paper posters in time for the holidays, we'd be glad to print any colour pdf you e-mailed us, free. Or if you sent the text, we could get a nice photo of the rink and get our design person to put it together as you want. You could even have "did you know" as the start, like in the poster.

And thanks for your friendly invitation to have a chat -- that would be a very good thing, since outdoor rinks are one of the few outdoor social gathering places during the dark, cold winter. Toronto has an incredible treasure with all these rinks -- it's too sad if they're not well used.

Let me know about the poster. It's good to remember what long-time Parks and Rec Director Mario Zanetti used to say all the time: "let's make it work!"



At 1 pm there were five hockey players and five pleasure skaters sharing the pleasure-skating ice. It soon became apparent why -- the hockey rink had a sign and a strong smell of fresh paint. Inside the rink change house, about a dozen young men and women in Toronto Maple Leafs t-shirts (and paint spatters) were having lunch, in the company of a City staff person from the Parks and Recreation Partnership office. They said they were giving back to the community by painting the hockey boards. Since the City carpenters hadn't done it as they did in other rinks, corporate volunteers took on the job. The boards certainly looked better than on the rink's opening day.

However the fence rolls and old kickboard lumber were still by the rink change room entrance.

Ice was good, though.

combined skating on the pleasure-skating side

"wet paint"

two of the corporate painters and the City's Partnership staff

the game goes on

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< December 20 - 21 | 2008-2009 Diary Page List | December 16 - 17 >

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