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wood stove at Dufferin


< January 16 - 20 | 2008-2009 Diary Page List | January 05 - 10 >

Thursday January 15 2009


E-mail from M.G. to rink supervisor Mark Hawkins

''I was just wondering if you would be able to tell me if the Women's Shinny timeslot (6pm-8pm) at Withrow Park will actually be happening today? I tried to call today but couldn't get a straight answer from anyone, I was given 4 different numbers/people to try, with no luck.''

I also tried 416-338-RINK but that was fruitless for information regarding current ice conditions.

I just don't want to show up & be disappointed or waste my time, like I have the last 2 Thursdays I have showed up to play. Any news would be greatly appreciated.

M.G. said that Mark Hawkins got back to her right away, and that the ice was excellent.



Weather: high -12, low -19. Market day - but not as many people came as usual. The woodstove inspector came -- a neat guy named Ron Wickett, whose company is called Summit Inspection. He was recommended to us by Marsh's Stoves, the people who sold us the rink woodstove 13 years ago. The news was better than we thought -- he said the main problem was that tjhe interior liner bricks had begun to disintegrate (indeed they had!) and that made the whole stove not work so well. He went and got new liners and installed them and the staff made a fire, and before long, people were sitting in front of the woodstove again, watching the flames. A good thing, too, because it was darn cold.

The zamboni driver had some trouble doing the ice because the augur froze up a few times, but eventually he got it going and put extra water on the thin spots. Ice maintenance: 9 am, 12.30, 7 pm, 9pm.

The pond hockey crew didn't show up (very unusual), but the Thursday night older men's shinny permit came out in large numbers. They were having a really fast and exciting game when, a few minutes after ten, the lights suddenly went off. The players skated around waiting for them to come back on, then most of them went inside, to warm up by the woodstove until the lights came back. But it was pretty obvious that the problem was bigger --the mall went off, and all the houses to the east of the park were dark, all the street lights were gone, and then the apartment building next the rink switched off too. Shades of 2003!

All the light remaining was from the rinkhouse emergency lights and the glow from the woodstove. So everybody changed, we brought out the cookies (the minus 15 rule, free cookies for skaters), and then they all went home.



Every Thursday there is a permit at 8pm. Most Thursdays the Zamboni floods and scrapes the ice shortly before the permit group arrives. Today the Zamboni didn't come at this time. Members of the permit group helped the B/A to clean the ice manually. The permit group was in good spirits despite the poor ice and weather conditions.

Christie Pits

At 10 pm, when the transformer sprinkler system malfunctioned at Dufferin and Bloor, and 250,000 people lost power in the area, Christie Rink was spared! In the middle of intense darkness in the surrounding neighbourhood (including a long patch of Bloor Street and the subway line underneath), the rink lights blazed on, evidently on a different circuit.

Ice maintenance: 10 am and 5 pm.


Wallace Emerson

Ice maintenance: before 10 a.m., again at 6. Still no floods, only 10-minute scrapes. Lots of complaints about deep ruts in the ice from lack of flooding.


Giovanni Caboto

E-mail from acting rinks manager Dave Chapman to I will look into this for you right away and get back to you as soon as can.

Wednesday January 14, 2009

Giovanni Caboto

The entryway to the rink

It's minus 15 at noon and there are not many people on the ice on this cold day. As usual, it's hard to get in, since the front stairs continue to be unshovelled and so a rink user must squeeze in between the street construction trailers and a portable toilet. Once in, I was impressed to see some guys playing shinny despite the cold. I took a picture, and then another one. One of the players skated over and shouted at me: "what are you doing? why are you taking a picture?" I explained that I wanted to put up a photo showing that Canadian shinny players are tough enough to play shinny in the extreme cold. But he cut me off, angrily pointing to the metal City Policy sign with all the rink rules -- "can't you read? You're not supposed to take pictures!"

Then I recognized him as a rink guard. "You work here? You're not supposed to be playing hockey on your shift!" He said he could play hockey if he wanted. I told him he was very rude. That was the end of it.

cold weather hockey

the cityrinks/ca poster is gone

He was probably not working at that moment anyway. I think that in the daytime, they just have the rink operator in his unlabelled office, not a second person. But I think the rink guard recognized me as the person who contacted the supervisor about the unshovelled steps. Not that it seems to have made any difference.

I went by the front foyer, but the door was closed as always, no one in sight. The sign that I had put up on the bulletin board last time was gone, though.

The feeling one can get at that rink a lot of the time is of a boys' clubhouse, it might as well have a "private, keep out" sign scrawled on it. But it's not private, it's a public rink, and the question is -- does anyone in the administration care?

E-mail from to City Councillor Cesar Palacio, Jan.14 2009

This is a photo, taken today, of the entrance to Giovanni Caboto Rink, the outdoor compressor-cooled skating rink in your ward. Giovanni Caboto is a great rink, and there's a much nicer main entrance, but that entrance is kept locked. The rink staff feel that they don't want to shovel the snow off the steps to the front doors. So people have to squeeze in between the construction trailer and the portable toilet, walk over the snow, and go in the side gate.

I have let Parks management know about this problem but it hasn't changed in a month -- perhaps they might attend to a request from your office? I've cc'd them on this e-mail, as you see. If the front door is re-opened and there is a warm welcome to new rink users, perhaps Giovanni Caboto will start having more skaters again. It used to be very popular.



Weather: in the morning it was -21, and only a few skaters came. But it went up to -13 in the afternoon. The zamboni driver gave an extra flood to the thin patches, and said that if they're still there tomorrow, he'll put snow on them and thicken them up like that. There was a good crowd out for the women's hockey permit, smaller for the pond hockey on the other side. Of course everybody got free cookies, since by later evening it was -15, and that's the cut-off when cookies might be needed to give skaters the extra energy to thaw out.

Three of the staff got half a lesson in how to use the new skate sharpening machine. It couldn't be a full lesson because the sharpening diamond is chipped and Dan Watson has to e-mail the company for two new ones. Sharpening diamonds cost about $20 each and they get sent by Purolater, not by armed guards like jewellery diamonds.

The wood stove is making the rink house smell a bit smoky -- odd. So a special inspector is going to check it out for us, before anybody makes any more fires in the stove.

Ice maintenance: 9.30 a.m., 1.30 pm, 3.15 pm, 7 pm, 9 pm.


Christie Pits

Ice maintenance: 1 pm and 7 pm -- only scrapes, because the flying squad says the ice is too cold to flood. The wood delivery arrived at Christie, with CELOS paying for now.

Monday January 12, 2009


E-mail from R.Y. to Recreation manager Lucky Boothe and I have not heard any late night hockey in the last few early evenings. I will keep you posted and I want to say Thank You for all your help in this matter, I really do appreciate it and also for the quick reponse that I received.

Well you're pretty nice to call it a quick response if you've been talking to rec staff since last year and this is your first winter-season week off the midnight hockey. But it's wonderful to hear that it's quiet now. Your idea of locks was a good one, and maybe one of the staff knew the players and shooed them away. Or maybe Lucky got the night-time Corporate Security staff to come around.

January 12 2009, e-mail from to R.Y., cc Recreation manager Lucky Boothe

A couple of e-mails back you wrote that you were looking older than your years from so many interrupted sleeps. I hope your youth is back now! Your e-mails reminded me that warning shinny players about late-night noise is always good -- I put this bit into the Dufferin Rink January newsletter item:

(:letter:) People usually write in about problems, but not always – sometimes they just want to share their pleasure at the existence of the rinks. The problems that hears about are most often related to ice maintenance (see page 6). There are also some glitches with scheduling, and – for a few unfortunate people – there’s late-night noise. Shinny hockey players, if you want to play midnight hockey, don’t do it at a neighbourhood rink! is putting together a list of rinks that are far away from houses, soon to be posted on the home page.


Christie Pits

Ice maintenance: 10am, 4.40pm. At 8.45 rink users scraped the rink manually with the green rink scrapers.

The Christie staff have said they will cover the cost of ordering wood, so for now it seems that the woodstove will be used.



At 9.00 pm there was a very fast women's shinny game -- there were only nine players, though, and it looked like they might run out of wind playing at that pace, with no subs.

Monday night women's shinny

so fast, and no subs -- how long can they last?

The building attendant said that there's a women's instructional shinny class before that game, which today had six people.

The poster that had been tacked to the bulletin board inside the rink change area has been replaced by a city outdoor skating schedule. The supervisor for this rink is quite certain that the cityrinks poster is unauthorized, and that only authorized notices must be put up on city property, i.e. bulletin boards at public rinks.



At 3pm the ice looked like it might have been flooded recently. There were two hockey players on the ice. They hadn't seen the Zamboni. At about 4, the regular group of shinny players started arriving at the rink. By 5:15, there were fifteen players of all ages on the ice.

At 6, there was a collision on the ice and a player was hurt. The player lost three teeth, but was able to go home on his own.

Shortly after 6 a city worker came to the rink with an edger to smooth out the bumps in the ice along the boards. At 6:15 the Zamboni arrrived. After the ice had been edged, the Zamboni first did a scrape followed by a scrape and flood.

At 7pm, twenty-five men and boys were playing shinny. There were so many players that they took shifts, with some sitting on the bench while others played. The number of players gradually became smaller. At 9, there were ten or so on the ice.


Harry Gairey

view of the rink from Bathurst Street

At 9.30 there were two pleasure skaters, with two more getting their skates on, and sixteen shinny hockey players in a game, plus nine more waiting against the boards. The zamboni driver reminisced about his days working on natural ice rinks in Scarborough, ploughing and then hosing at 3 in the morning. Scarborough has only indoor arenas, with the single exception of the outdoor civic rink at the Scarborough Town Centre. The driver said they kept on making the outdoor natural ice rinks until a few years after amalgamation, and then it ended.

He said he used to play hockey, but now his knees are bad, but he knows guys who still play twice a week, who are older than 70.

Sunday January 11, 2009


Weather: -12 in the morning but then it went to -7. Cloudy with a few sunny times, then snow starting in the evening. A few youth stayed and played hockey in the snow with an orange ball. Other youth stayed inside until they were finally forced to go because the staff wanted to get home. When they finally go out in the snow, they tumble around, getting snow all over themselves -- as though it was styrofoam, as though it wouldn't sink in and make them cold after. Many of them don't really even wear winter clothes -- no gloves, no hat. I'm guessing that some of the kids who hang around the rink house without skating aren't the kind who shovel snow either, so they may not have taken the step that would allow them to be competent in winter weather. They seem to just endure it.

Ice maintenance: zamboni before 9, opening at 9:45, 2pm, 5, 8pm



At 10am the rink was covered with snow. Some of the snow was piled against the boards. The piles against the boards must have been made last night because they were covered with a layer of fresh snow. A man and a woman arrived with a young boy who was wearing full hockey equipment. The man had a large shovel which he used to pile more snow against the boards. The building attendant told the man that if he wanted to clear the ice he would have to shovel it to the Zamboni gates.

The man said it would be OK to put the snow against the boards, because he would be bringing his own snowblower to clear it. The building attendant told him he would not be allowed to use the snowblower. The man had trouble understanding why this would be a problem. The building attendant told him the City had safety rules.

The man said he was a hockey coach and that he had invited his team to Campbell for a practice. The team was based in North York and the coach had come to Campbell because it was the only open shinny time he could find this Sunday. Another man arrived with his wife. The building attendant brought out the green shovels for the two men to use.

At about 10:45, a plough arrived to clear the snow. At 11, the plough left. Shortly after it came back, another crew arrived with a Zamboni. The plough and the Zamboni worked on the ice until about 12:15. The Zamboni scraped the ice but didn't do a flood.

Later on in the day a man who comes to Campbell regularly with his son started talking to the hockey coach. The first man said he hadn't planned to come to Campbell today because on other days after it had snowed the rink had been unusable. He said he decided to come today because he had been driving by and noticed people playing.

In the afternoon a couple came with their two young children to rent skates for pleasure-skating. This was during the shared use time on the schedule. They were able to skate comfortably because there were only a few hockey players on the ice. Later two women came to the rink to ask about pleasure skating.

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< January 16 - 20 | 2008-2009 Diary Page List | January 05 - 10 >

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