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< December 16 - 17 | 2008-2009 Diary Page List | December 11 - 12 >

Monday December 15, 2008

Christie Pits

Meeting notice for Friends of Christie Pits, from Monica Gupta, chair

Please come to our meeting tonight at 7pm at Alex Duff Pool. Everyone is welcome to come and join in the discussion. We will sit by the fire and discuss issues for the new year. This should be a short meeting about 1 hour.


1. Parks Update- Tennis Courts, Benches, Vandalism and Homelessness. (Monica)

2. Events Update- Family Skate Days, Winterlude?, New Volunteers (Dawn)

3. Community Garden- New Volunteers and Coordinator needed. (Neil Dallhoff and friends)

Hot Chocolate will be served!

E-mail from Jutta Mason (for to Monica Gupta, chair of the Friends of Christie Pits

Hi Monica -- in [tonight's Friends of Christie Pits meeting] agenda you may want to add the coming "fork in the road" for the rink -- the Dufferin rec staff have the capacity to address all the problems of Christie Rink (safety/usage/youth outreach/family enjoyment/programming/work standards/consistency), but they have been hobbled so much by Kim's final instructions that my hunch is: their interest and support will not survive long. The rink may have to revert to the direction it's been taking for the last few years -- sad but likely. And a regrettable waste of existing rec staff experience and resources....

Several large school visits for skating have been cancelled this morning. The poor drainage of Christie Rink left a lot of water from the early morning rain. A zamboni could easily take that water off but there is no reliable ice maintenance schedule and the zamboni has not appeared.

4.30 pm: Zamboni came but the staff decided not to clean the ice. Rink users and rec staff tried to push the water off with shovels.

7 pm: the zamboni came and cleaned the ice.



Weather: high 9 celsius in the morning, and raining, then it dropped down to -7 by evening.

The zamboni cleared off the water in the morning, then it rained again, then there was a long time before the next ice maintenance. The Italian card players had a peaceful time in the abnormally quiet rink house during the afternoon. But they complained that it was too cold. They tried to start a fire in the woodstove but there wasn't enough kindling. They were unenthusiastic about suggestions that they could bring kindling from home, to supply the rink woodstove beside which they play cards five days a week. Apparently most of the card players strongly believe that since they are retired, others should do such things for them.

Some school classes came in the afternoon, and by evening, the older shinny players had come. So there were lively games -- on both sides after 9.


Wallace Emerson

Monday December 15 2008, e-mails from Wallace Rink user John Ainslie to

I played on this rink last season all the time and loved it.

So far this year the ice has been terrible. I just have a question about if we'll be getting the zamboni back ever this season or will the zamboni clean the ice in the mornings ever?

In any case I love the rink, but I'm curious. Also, is there anyone at city hall I could complain to?

There were about 20 or 25 of us on the bad ice Saturday morning and people were falling in the grooves. Bad ice is not only not fun, but can be dangerous. Last year we had the zamboni at 9AM then again and 3 and after that at 7 which was great. Now we only get it at 3, so open shinny is always played on awful ice.

December 15 2008, response from to rink user John Ainslie:

Short answer of why the ice maintenance is so bad: new management, and maybe a general lack of a plan. I just sent the first "Zanetti report" downtown last Wednesday. The second will come out this Friday. Your complaint will be in it, along with others. If you have time to have a quick read through the first Zanetti report and the cover letter (attached here), you might find them pertinent.

The biggest, best thing you can do is send your feedback to the upper management. Send what you wrote below to: 1. Paul Ronan, Director of Park, in charge of all parks-related matters including outdoor rink maintenance) and 2. Brenda Patterson, General Manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation -- the main boss) 3. Councillor Adam Giambrone -- it's good to keep the councillor informed about problems like this

If you cc they might hit 'reply all' when they respond, or if not, please forward a copy of any answer you get. Even if they send you excuses (e.g. the zambonis are all broken down, or compressors are down, or the sky is falling), your complaint will tend to raise Wallace a little higher on the radar.

And if you can persuade even two other skaters to e-mail the same people when they are fed up with the bad ice, it will be considered a landslide of requests for better ice.

Ice maintenance: once only


Glen Long

E-mail exchange between rink user Steve and

Steve, Dec.11: r the still permits avalible at glen long or dufferin grove outdoor rinks?, Dec.11: Not at Dufferin but I bet there are some at Glen Long -- call Andrea Boylan at 416-395-6055.

Steve, Dec.11: is it possible to book it thro email cause im busy during the day and i tryed calling last year and noone is there at the time i was able to call and i left messages and i never got a call back, Dec.11: I will look into it, and e-mail you back.

It turned out that had listed the wrong number for permits for Glen Long. I called the right number: Titti at 416 395-6025, and there was no answer so I left a message. She called back soon after and said she could remember no messages to book permits for Glen Long, but that if Steve called her she'd be sure to call him back. So I called Steve and gave him the right number.

Steve, Dec.15: hey, umm i called that number u gave me on thurs or fri and left a message n i called back everyday since and i still havnt got a call back. so is there anyway i can just do it throw email, like can u or anyone else get me avalable times i can just do it throw here??, Dec.15: the permit staff don't work weekends so you only have a chance of getting them on weekdays. There's another problem too, which is that Glen Long is often locked when it should be accessible.

Do you have a big group you want to play an organized game with, or do you and your friends just want to play pickup shinny hockey? You should be able to do that for free -- let me know and maybe we can help you go that route, without the permit hassle.

Steve, Dec.15: ya i have a group of guys liek 10-20 that wanna play n that would b way to much to play regular shinny cuz with the normal like 20 guys that would b there it would b to packed n no fun, Dec.15: Okay I will try that number tomorrow and see what the problem is, and whether you can do any of this by e-mail.

Steve, Dec.15: alrite thnx alot, Dec.16: Titti Dunn at Permits said it's fine to e-mail her -- [email protected]



At 4:45pm there is a lively game of shinny at the rink. However, the dozen or so players can only use part of the ice, because at the west end the net had sunk into the soft ice leaving two deep horseshoe-shaped grooves. Staff have placed a pylon and a bucket near the groove to warn players to stay clear. Meanwhile at the east end a messy combination of water and slush covers a layer of still hard ice below. The Zamboni is at the rink, but doesn't go on the ice. The rink coordinator, Sarah, makes some calls. She is concerned because a permit group is expected to arrive at 7.

There's a lot of slush at the east end. A park worker wonders if there's a problem with the pipes underneath. However, one of the regular players says the east end always melts first. A little after six, another park worker arrives at the rink. By this time it is colder and the ice at the east end has frozen again. The Zamboni driver does a scrape and flood at 6:15.

The regulars who play shinny complain that it is taking too long. They are already unhappy because the permit group is coming and are frustrated that the scrape and flood are eating into the open shinny time still available. A few make catcalls. They say things like "Go a little slower" or "What's the matter? Are you just learning to drive?" By the time the Zamboni leaves, there's twenty minutes of open shinny left.

Members of the permit group start arriving at about quarter to 7. At 7, the rink staffer tells the shinny players they have to leave the ice. There is some grumbling and the players are slow to leave. However, they do go. One of the local boys complains that one of the permit players aimed a slapshot at him. However, the rink staffer didn't see what happened because he was busy getting players to leave.

At 9, the rink staffer tells the permit group that their time is up but they are free to continue playing so long as they understand it is now open shinny. However, at 9 none of the local players are at the rink. One of the players in the permit group can't find a pair of white shoes. He's not sure what happened to them. Another player complains that a pair of skate guards were stolen from his hockey bag.

Sunday December 14, 2008


Weather: high 5 celsius, low 5. Off and on rain showers or mist. Raw.

The annual craft fair set up in front of the rink house today and the vendors froze but got lots of buyers -- good crafts and not very pricey. On the rink, skaters came despite the wet, but not so many as yesterday.

Saturday December 13 2008

Christie Pits

E-mail forwarded to from Monica Gupta, chair, Friends of Christie Pits

[From the Recreation supervisor] Met with Lucky [recreation manager - ed.] today on the interim program scope for the Alex Duff snack bar that was discussed at our meeting this week. He and I are in agreement to proceed with following two programs for this season until we see how things fit with the new guidelines.

1. Sundays from 1-3 pm during the family skate program

2. One off special events that you will confirm with both Monica and the skating staff

Please work with the Friends volunteer group to coordinate these two pieces and work with their volunteers.

Right now we cannot support the expanded use of the kitchen for the other four days a week from 4-7 pm as there are many concerns with this; serving snacks and taking money is not part of BA's job description, Alex Duff is a satellite facility and does not have all the supports in place for staff taking money & to follow our procedures for cash control, do not have the new security system in place yet, we have existing security issues and do not want to put staff at risk. Also we cannot be expanding the use of the kitchen until we know it is in lines with the new guidelines.

Ice maintenance: 4.30 pm only.



Weather: High plus 2, low minus 12. Mostly cloudy with here and there a little sun. Light snowflurries beginning about 8 pm.

future NHL players?

Saturday is a day of lots of little-kids' shinny hockey. Today it was packed. First it was 12 and under from 12 to 1.30, then it was 9 and under from 1.30 to 3 (both with parent or - in a pinch -- a cousin). With so many little skaters, surely Dufferin Rink will send someone to the NHL some day.

In the afternoon there were too many people, everything was crowded. This is the result of rental skates, in part -- so many new people come and rent the $2 skates, including lots of youth, and then they have to be stopped from racing around the ice and bumping into people.

learning to skate

One very nice thing: new park friends from R.V.Burgess Park in the Thorncliffe Park area came to the rink to check it out for the Thorncliffe Park Women's Committee. They had a look at everything in the park, and the three kids who had come with the group, got some loaner skates and practised skating. There was time for some good Zamboni cafe food and conversation. One of the women came from Kabul in Afghanistan, and she described an overn they used to bake in while she was at university, working at a summer job. She was very enthusiastic about cooking over fire, and making tea, and the possibility of picnics where food could be prepared in such an oven. Perhaps the Dufferin Rec staff will help them put together a winter campfire at R.V.Burgess Park.

At closing time a young man and woman came to return their rental skates. They said they are German, and are here doing graduate work in philosophy at the University of Toronto. The rink staff person taking the skates was curious, and the young man explained a bit about his study of Aristotle. The rink staff said she actually preferred Heidegger, and gave her reasons.

Will these German students go back to Germany saying that in Canada, skate lending is usually combined with philosophy?



E-mail from rink user Gordon Smith: "I find the staff there, very pleasant and helpful."


Glen Long

E-mail to Kevin Bowser, manager of City Outdoor Rinks, from

Some of the youth who like to play pick-up shinny hockey at Dufferin Rink told us that they want to play closer to home, at Glen Long Rink, but that rink is often locked. A visit last Friday afternoon confirmed that.

Were you aware of this situation?

North York did not do well on public access last year, and we'll be visiting all those rinks from time to time this year to monitor progress. The two exceptions that we know of in North York are Ledbury, because it has no fence, and Otter Creek, because it was part of the former City of Toronto and therefore has retained more of a culture of public access. Here's what was happening at those rinks at the same time as Glen Long was empty: Otter Creek Ledbury

I'm hoping that you will monitor this situation, since the considerable cost of staffing and cooling a locked rink does not really make sense. Assuming that there is some local history to this, I am sending the report to Councillor Moscoe's office as well.

December 13 2008, to City Councillor Howard Moscoe from

Here is a copy of an e-mail sent by the outdoor rink monitor [in the case of this rink, me] to the City's Outdoor Rink manager, Kevin Bowser. The rink is in your ward, I think, and it has a problem that needs to be addressed (described in the link to the Glen Long rink diary).


Sir Adam Beck

E-mail from to

Kevin Bowser, manager of City Outdoor Rinks

The exact time of my visit to Sir Adam Beck Rink on Dec.7 is in the cityrinks blog here. Your supervisor will have been told about the time by the rink maintenance staff, if he asked. My question as I asked it in my e-mail did not relate to one specific time but to a policy, so I will repeat it here: are there rinks in the city which are kept locked for certain hours of the day, in case someone might later on purchase a permit for that time slot?

I would much appreciate finding out the answer. (:/letter:)

[no answer came]


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< December 16 - 17 | 2008-2009 Diary Page List | December 11 - 12 >

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