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wood stove at Dufferin


< January 11 - 15 | 2008-2009 Diary Page List | January 01 - 04 >

Saturday January 10, 2009


Weather: High - 6, low - 14. Snowflurries off and on in the afternoon, then snow starting around 8 and not stopping until after midnight.

The rink was so busy in the afternoon that people said they couldn't find anywhere to sit, in or out. There must be seating for a hundred, and even so, it wasn't enough. Toronto likes to skate in the winter, too bad that our attempt to "spread the wealth" to Christie didn't work.

Ice maintenance: 9 a.m., 1.30pm, 5.15pm. The rink had so many people on it that skaters asked rink staff to get an earlier scrape at 4pm (right after one of the snowflurries). The rink coordinator was unable to get this for the rink. So rink users together with rink staff scraped both sides manually.

Dufferin Rink is supposed to have the same amount of rink staff as Rennie Rink. But Rennie Rink is scraped hourly when it needs it, whereas it seems that a request to clear Dufferin Rink when it needs it, doesn't get results. Happily, City Councillor Adam Giambrone has now become aware of the problems and plans to meet with the Park management and fix them.


Wallace Emerson

From the Wallace rink co-ordinator:

Today we had a campfire on Saturday 1-3pm (we've cancelled the ones on Sunday) and it went really well with lots of people chatting around the fire. We are working on coordinating it with Tino, Joanne, and staff at the pool due to a smoky smell in the pool - we are making some adjustments week by week and it looks like we can make it work.

Ice maintenance 9 a.m., 7.30 pm



Clearing snow the old-fashioned way
Click to enlarge

The hockey players said the Zamboni cleaned the ice at about 8:30am. It was quiet in the morning and early afternoon. There were 6-10 players at a time on the ice. At 11:30am, 6 people came for pleasure-skating. As the day progressed, snow began to build up on the ice and hockey players started asking when the Zamboni would be coming. The building attendant, a City recreation employee, wasn't able to tell them because he didn't know.

Manual ice maintenance at 3 pm. At about 3, light snow began to fall. Some of the younger players asked if they could use the green shovels to clear the ice. The B/A reminded them that pleasure skating was going to start at 4 and asked if they still wanted the shovels. They did. As the young boys pushed snow to the gate, the B/A shovelled it to the side. Some of the older players seeing the younger ones shovel snow, took over. When the B/A saw this, he told them pleasure skating was going to begin soon. The older hockey players weren't happy to learn they were clearing snow for less than half an hour of shinny time. While the players were shovelling, one man offered to bring his plough on the ice. He said a B/A who used to work at Campbell had let him do that. When the players had finished, the man said he could have done the same work a lot quicker. He said he ploughs for a living. The B/A said he appreciated the offer but could not let the man take the plough on the ice.

Marina's doughnuts were a big hit
Click to enlarge

As the players and the B/A shovelled snow, another recreation employee, Marina, set up the cooking fire and began making doughnuts and hot chocolate. Two sets of parents with young children arrived for pleasure-skating. When 4 o'clock rolled around, the parents were still standing by the fire, while about 25 men and boys played hockey. The parents said they didn't want to ask the players to leave the ice. On a normal Saturday, the B/A would have asked the players to clear the ice regardless, but since they had worked so hard in clearing the ice, he let them stay after making sure no one wanted to pleasure skate.

For a while, it looked like there would be no pleasure skaters at all, although people, including hockey players, stopped by the fire for hot chocolate and doughnuts. However, at 4:30, a few more parents and children arrived for skating. By this time, there were only two hockey players left on the ice. The parents said they only needed half the ice and said it was OK for the two players to stay. However, more hockey players came on the ice. The B/A decided it would be a good idea to stand on the red line to make sure the hockey players stayed on their side of the rink. They did. Even so, it was a mistake to let the two players stay. because that sent the message that it was OK to play hockey during pleasure time. Things worked out this Saturday. The pleasure skaters told the B/A they enjoyed themselves. Still, with so many hockey players on the ice, it could have gone wrong.

Friday January 9, 2009


January 9 2009, e-mail from M.G. to

"I went to Withrow Park last night in hopes that there would be enough bodies for spirited game of shinny as when I initially drove by there were no skaters on the rink, much to my surprise there were about 10 skaters waiting in the rink house. They weren't allowed to on the ice to skate as there was a couple inches of snow (pond like conditions) and in dire need of a hard scrape/flood. I noticed the frost build-up along the boards is getting bad and could pose a serious problem later in the season if this cold snap continues.

The rink attendants said they dispatched the flying squad at 3pm to service the rink, as of my arrival shortly after 6pm, there was still no call back from city dispatch. This same discussion was being had with the rink staff/patrons as more and more ladies showed up to skate only to be disappointed.

I left the rink at 6:45 after waiting around in vain in hopes of the flying squad making a timely arrival, and there were still MORE women showing up to play, I would say there was at least 20 women turned away. Why are there 2 rink attendants on site getting paid to sit around on the tax payer's dime when the rink apparently hadn't been safe enough to use for AT least 2 days?! Talk about a ridiculous waste of money!

Women only have 2 hours per week allotted for shinny at this rink and apparently this is NOT the first time this season that the rink has fallen into complete disrepair and had to sit idle due to lack of maintenance.

Is there any way we can get the ice to be safe and useable for the rest of this very short outdoor season? Who is the maintenance supervisor?


Sir Adam Beck

ice waiting for people

At 4 pm the ice was empty but it bore the marks of skaters, and the kids were just getting out of school next door. Some kids were asking the rink operator through the fence -- "is there shinny for kids now?" He looked it up in the schedule for them, and sure enough, it was their shinny time. They hurried away, presumably to dump their school books at home and grab their skates.

The rink operator showed me the equipment -- there was a tractor with a plow attachment, which he said hasn't worked for some months, and a Champion ice resurfacer on another tractor. They also have a smaller unit that can be used to blow snow off paths.

He said that if it snows, they usually bring a plow over and have it cleared fairly fast.


Prince Of Wales

shinny with a view

At 1.30 pm there were some guys playing shinny on ice that was a bit skated up but not bad. The change room was open but there was no sign of any staff. Outside the front door there's a sign about hours but the sign may not be right, since there's no mention of permits or a program schedule. There's also a garage, for the ice resurfacer, and another tractor parked outside, with a snow blower attachment.

each "major" rink has its own tractor for snow removal

confusing sign?

Wallace Emerson

Ice maintenance: 3 pm and 7.15 pm. The ice was pretty snowy by 9 pm. After closing time (9 pm) shinny players are allowed on the "pond" side, and most of them chose that side tonight because it was less snowy than the hockey pad.

The sign with the original rink rules is still up. It was printed up when the change room was still sometimes a scene from the wild west, and if you read the rules (click on the sign to enlarge it), it shows. The idea that there could someday be skate rental and snacks and kids playing checkers, and parents (any that even wanted to come) reading storybooks to their kids between skating times -- it would have seemed utterly unlikely. And yet here it is, in a rink house that has windows now, and civilized behavior, and so many really spunky kids. The same kind of kids as before, only in a much better setting -- and so everyone acts better, too.

not too dark to play shinny hockey

Click on image to enlarge it.

the original rink rules

Christie Pits

Ice maintenance: 10.30 am, 4 pm.

Meeting between CELOS and rink staff, to evaluate CELOS involvement with skate rental at Christie Rink.

CELOS: Some kitchen equipment and loaner skates were supplied to Christie Rink, and we paid for a face cord of wood. But there's very little sign of either skate rental or snack bar. What's happening with that?

Staff: The Recreation supervisor is concerned about staff handling money and has directed that skate rental and the snack bar continue to operate only 2 hours a week.

CELOS: Does that mean the skates are mostly locked away?

Rink staff: Yes.

CELOS: What about the wood stove? Is it being used?

Staff: The original order, not to use the wood stove, was removed, and then it got quite a bit of use, but the face cord of wood that CELOS bought is finished now. We've asked the supervisor if she will pay for another face cord to be ordered.

CELOS: The skates were collected and bought by CELOS in order for them to get maximum usage, same with cooking pots on loan etc. We would like the skates to be in use. Other rinks will use them, same with the cooking utensils. So we need to withdraw them from Christie Rink for now.

The woodstove also needs to be in use. Otherwise it should be transferred to another rink where it will be used. In 1997, then-Councillor-now Member of Parliament Mario Silva and Councillor Joe Pantalone passed along a donation from the Film industry to the Friends of Dufferin Grove Park. Our group used the funds to buy a woodstove for Christie Rink, and the city paid for the installation. CELOS will see this week whether the city supplies wood for the woodstove. If not, we'll ask the city to move the stove to Campbell Rink. One of the long-time permit groups at Campbell Rink said they'd like to have a woodstove there. We'll ask them if they'd be prepared to pay for the installation, and keep wood coming. Some of them are journalists, maybe they can put the word out.



skate rentals make it easier to skate with friends

Weather: high -5, low -7. A beautiful day, sun and cloud, lots of people at the rink in the afternoon and evening. Friday night continues to be the night for the young teens to socialize, to see and be seen at the rink.

Ice maintenance: 9am 12 noon 3.30 pm 7 pm and 9 pm.



The ice was in good shape at 10am. It looked like it might have been cleaned recently. Then in the evening the Zamboni scraped and flooded the ice from 8-8:25pm. The shinny players were upset about having to end their game early so the ice could be in better condition for the permit group that was coming at 9.

Thursday January 8, 2009


E-mail from R.Y. to recreation manager Lucky Boothe, cc Thanks for responding so quickly but it is 2:30 AM and I just called the police again. this is ridiculas. There are trespassing signs posted, maybe they should be enforced! I am not calling anyone at home to go to the rink, just go to Ramsden rink anytime after 12 Midnight, there is always a game going on!!!. And I am tired of calling the Police (they have better things to do)

Who is putting the locks on the gates?? I think when the lights are turned off no one takes responsibility and It's Not My Job!!!



The zamboni came often today to try and shave the ice smooth again -- the combination of snow and rain yesterday bonded onto the ice and made the surface very uneven. The zamboni had trouble too -- at one point it sprayed all the snow outward, that the augur took up. But then the zamboni driver was able to fix it and it ran again.

The rec staff spent several hours, off an on, chipping away deep ice that was blocking the gates from closing. One of the staff said his arms felt like spaghetti afterwards. And then he stil had to cart things around, because the farmers' market was back and the rink house was full of hubbub.

A new skater there said -- oh, it's a bake sale! Some bake sale -- mountains of celeriac, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, cabbages, rutabagas, celery, apples, perogies, cabbage rolls, fresh and dried mushrooms, sprouts, honey, chicken, lamb sausages -- and then also lots of imported food. The guys in skates are wonderfully tolerant, and the newcomers to the rink sort of blink their eyes....



Despite the rain and snow yesterday, Queensway Rink was in good shape today and the guys playing shinny there said the ice was fine.

Wednesday January 7 2009


Weather: High 1, low -2. heavy, wet snow alternating with ice pellets and a bit of rain.

The zamboni worked for hours, from 9 a.m., taking off three inches of heavy snow, no plow. Eventually the plow came, but only stayed for an hour and a half. The zamboni ran low on fuel and had to leave the ice. It came back for a half hour in the early evening and did the hockey side again, but didn't do the pleasure side because the driver was worried he'd run out of fuel before he got to the garage. The pleasure rink had a lot of snow on it and there were arguments between the hockey players and the pleasure skaters, about splitting the hockey side ice.


Christie Pits

Lots of snow, ice pellets, a bit of rain. Zamboni/plow came at ___. In the late afternoon, skaters did manual scrapes twice, and were able to keep playing shinny.



At 7.45 pm the rink is open but very rough. There are hockey players on the ice even though it's pleasure-skating time.



At 10:30am, the Zamboni was sitting on its trailer on Campbell Avenue in front of the rink. The lights on the truck were flashing and the driver wasn't in sight. A city plough was driving south on Campbell towards Wallace, but it was impossible to tell if it was coming from the rink or not. It may have been, however, because it looked as if a plough had started to clear the rink and then stopped. One row of snow had been pushed into a pile. Sometime between 10:30am and 4:30pm, the rink was ploughed. At 4:30, there was one hockey player. He said the ice was pretty rough but good enough to skate on. He said he was there to "get twenty minutes of cardio."


Wallace Emerson

At 11am both rink pads were covered in snow. City workers were shovelling snow off the cobblestone path that leads from the park to the community centre.

The whole day, Wallace Rink got no ice maintenance at all.



E-mail from Recreation manager Lucky Boothe to R.Y., cc

"Thanks for raising your concern of after hour access and usage of the rink that creates issue of noise. Immediately, we will be placing a lock on the rink gates at closure.

Historically, the locks at this location are often vandalized and after hours access becomes a problem. To this end, we would like to monitor the impact of locking the gate and the vandalism that occurs. Should the vandalism persist and the issue of noise continues, we would like to engage in a conversation that provides alternative strategies to dealing with the after hours usage."

January 7 2009k, e-mail from to R.Y. cc Lucky Boothe

Great, Lucky responded. and took the first step.

But if the midnight hockey crew climb over the fence, or find a way to get a key, my offer stands. (We could also tell them about a few rinks that are left open and NOT near houses. Exercise is good, even at 3 a.m., but not at the cost of people's sleep.)

The rec staff at the rinks around here are pretty adventuresome and they were bothered when I told them your "sleepless at____" story. They were ready to come along (on their own time) and negotiate in the middle of the night, if needs be. We all love rink rats -- only we want them to behave well.

Tuesday January 6, 2009


E-mail from R.Y. to cc Recreation manager Lucky Boothe "Re Update - the staff returned my call yesterday saying locks were ordered? There must be locks and chains somewhere where they do not have to wait for them to arrive. (I did not ask how long it would take) My mistake! I have not heard any more. Last night Monday January 5th 2009 slamming the puck against the boards until 3AM! I am looking older than my actual age."


Wallace Emerson

There were lots of people on this rink in late afternoon-evening. Wallace Community Centre has a large and lively after-school program, and they come to skate and play shinny hockey more often now that such good skate rentals are available. Then families, and many shinny-playing youth, later.

A couple of trouble-maker youth have been banned from the rink, and one tried to return tonight. These kids are used to the opportunities that come from inconsistency, and they are taken aback when they find out that "banned" really means they can't come to skate unless they have an interview with the supervisor. To get back in, they have to agree to a schedule of community hours where do some actual work, alongside the staff, and show their willingness to stop making trouble.

Some do it, and act better when they have the freedom of the rinks again. Some have to sit out a year until they get more mature -- and they return a year later saying "I'm better now, Miss" -- and they are.

Some just keep getting into worse trouble elsewhere. But not so many.

Ice maintenance: morning before 10 a.m., and 6.40 pm.

Monday January 5, 2009


The Zamboni did a scrape and flood at 2:45pm. At 3:30, there were enough players on the ice for a game. A steady stream of players followed. By 5 o'clock, there were twenty players on the ice. In other words, it was a typical evening. The Zamboni came back at 6:20 to do another scrape and flood. The flood took a little longer because the Zamboni ran out of water before the ice was finished. The driver had to put more water in before he could continue. Afterwards some of the regulars played more shinny.



Weather: a perfectly beautiful winter day, sunny all day, high - 1C, low -9. At night the sky was clear and there was a half-moon above the rink. The rink moved at a much more pleasant pace, now that the holidays are over. At 10 pm the Dufferin Groove permit was on the hockey side, and there was a very fast game on the "pond" side as well.

Ice maintenance: 8.45 am, 1.30 pm, 7 pm, 8.50 pm.


Wallace Emerson

Ice maintenance: 10 am and 5.45 pm. A slower pace this afternoon, now that the holidays are over, and in the evening there was a permit.


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< January 11 - 15 | 2008-2009 Diary Page List | January 01 - 04 >

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