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Rink Diary

2021 -2022

Nov.27, 2021

Nov.27, 2022: ice too thin, Photo: Charles Fogden

Listed as open for the season, but it's just a well there's no one skating. When the summer paint lines can be seen so clearly it means the ice is very thin -- didn't get enough floods. Hopefully today's rain will add some divine intervention :).

Nov.27, 2022: detail

Diaries from earlier years

2020 - 2021

COVID-RELATED RESTRICTIONS: To find out how to book a skating time, go to the city's outdoor rinks web page.
All shinny hockey has been removed except for Greenwood (and only children and youth are allowed there). The city's opening rules are described here and our rinks blog is here.

Nov.28, 2020

The rink opened for the season. The city's covid-related rules are here. The outdoor rinks blog is here.

Riverdale Rink, Dec.3, 11.30 a.m. -- no skaters, two people looking


2019 - 2020

Dec.4, 2019

A class was just leaving the rink. The building attendant said they're students from Mountview private school across the street, and they make a lot of use of the rink especially at lunchtime and breaks.

skating trail empty, hockey side with four players

holiday season bulletin board going up, pre-tinselled

The building attendant sits at a desk behind the change room. He was enthusiastic about the rink and obviously took pains to have everything neat and tidy -- including a first-aid kit prominently displayed, tissues for runny noses, and paper towel for wiping skate blades.

change-room is tidy and well-equipped, but small

space for larger groups, but no windows


Diaries from earlier years

2018 - 2019

Jan.29, 2019

The rink has been marked as open until yesterday and then it was listed as "snow removal in progress" (with over 25 cm of snow). At 4 p.m. it was again listed as open.

Dec.8, 2018

A sunny day, 6 kids and 1 parent on the shinny side, more on the skating trail.


2017 - 2018

Jan.1, 2018

The temperature was minus 10, still too cold to attract many skaters. But the ones who were there, mostly on the skate path, looked happy. There were four staff sitting in the new change room, and about 15 people on both rinks. In behind the new change room, there is an older section that is also available for the overflow, but it's very dark.

There's a sink with a tap in the new change room, but when asked if that would allow hot chocolate to be made, the rink guards said that the rink was not set up for anything like that. They said: "there's not even an office." They seemed to feel uncomfortable sitting just right out in the open. And no wonder -- if rink staff are now just supposed to be security guards, they should have their own enclosed space, away from the skaters. Separation is a psychological necessity.

a small number of parkingspaces

the new changeroom entrance

the change room redone with big windows

the coat-hook part of the change room

the skating trail

the hockey pad
Dec.30, 2017, report from Dale Howey

connection to the hockey pad

coffee across the street afterwards

lots of pylons set out

The pleasure-skating rink is small but is perfect for younger kids and will be nice when the trees are unwrapped and grow a bit. There were a half dozen families there. I was there around 11am, just in time for a few loops before the Zamboni cleaned the ice. Lots of nooks and crannies for it to navigate. The regular rink was occupied by some shinny players.

I would recommend the cappuccino and date squares at the Coffeehouse across from the park!

Dec.14, 2017

The councillor sent out a notice saying that the official re-opening ceremony of Riverdale Rink is Saturday Dec.16, between 11 a.m. and noon, with free hot chocolate.

Dec.11, 2017

The website still says the rink will open in January, but the compressors are on, good ice is in, and the councillor's office says the rink is opening on Dec.16 and there will be an opening celebration between 11 a.m and 12.

December 11, 11.30 a.m.: ice looks good
Nov.27, 2017

The rinks website says this rink will open January 2018, but the schedule on the same site begins on Dec.11 -- a mystery.

3.15 p.m. and nary a worker

Oct.30, 2017

The park website has the following announcement:

Due to the unforeseen wet weather in spring and summer 2017, the project has currently an anticipated completion of Spring 2018.

That's surprising, since a mid-October visit seemed to show many of the elements almost done and the finishing landscaping going in. Another example of the civic culture of excuses?

from the east side

from the northeast stairway


2016 - 2017

October 2016

The city's outdoor rinks page lists this rink as closed for the whole 2016/2017 season. Construction on the park has begun. The city has posted the plan here. It shows an ice pad in approximately the same location, along with a skating trail and a section of the current swimming pool change building marked as "winter lounge."

On the city's website, explaining why Riverdale Rink won't be opening this season at all:

This significant project includes a new skating rink and ice trail, winter lounge, Zamboni station, new playground, new barrier-free accessible ramp, access pathways, and site furniture and lighting improvements.

Check back to this webpage periodically for construction progress and updates.

From Parks (April 2016):

"currently under renovation, scheduled to open next year"

Oct.25, 2016

big area under construction

concrete is gone, piles remain

Rink diaries from earlier years

2015 - 2016

January 30, 2016

flooding stopped because of the weather

City staff have obviously stopped flooding, although the rink web page gives no alert for it. Presumably the way to make natural ice is to flood as often as possible until there are a good three inches. So it's the exact opposite of compressor-cooled ice, which is best when it's thin enough not to insulate the ice surface from the embedded cooling pipes.

January 23, 2016

The rink has a very rough flood on it, it doesn't look like any effort has been put into it. And no signage anywhere, about what the plan is. Amazingly poor rink management.

rough, unmaintained ice, locked up

no signage about what's happening
Dec.18 2015, email from a rink user:

I was born and raised on the Danforth and remember learning to skate at Riverdale when I was 8 – my dad bought me my first pair of skates (used !) Then I taught my friends to skate too. Still play shinny hockey 40 yrs later, usually at Greenwood, but also at Riverdale (when it’s actually operating… IS it operating this year?).

Dec.7 2015

The city's website now says that Riverdale Rink will only operate as a natural ice rink this season, since the whole park is awaiting re-construction. That means it will likely open in mid-to-late January.

Nov.1, 2015

Nov.1 2015: no change at all since last year

Last year in early January the rink developed an ammonia leak, which was not fixed because there was a plan to rebuild that end of the park from scratch before the beginning of the next rink season. Now the rink is due to open in a month, but no work has been done. Maybe they changed their minds?



Jan.21, 2015

zamboni doing ice maintenance despite the plant closing

The rink looks good, since the cold weather has continued. Two flying squad zambonis arrived at the same time (8.30 pm) -- they must have got their wires crossed. But it gave the four staff a chance to have a chat and a good laugh. There were six shinny hockey players, four waiting to go on the ice and two taking off their skates to leave.

Jan.5 2015

The rink developed an ammonia leak, fire trucks etc. It was decided to shut down the refrigeration plant because the repair would be costly and the rink is going to be rebuilt from scratch next year anyway. Since the weather is cold, it was also decided to keep the rink open as long as the ice holds, with zamboni visits and normal building access.

Dec.26, 2014

The rink pad was open even if the building was closed. But at 12.30 there were very few skaters -- a dad and his little son one the far end and the nets turned side to side for a few teenage shinny players on the near end.

Along the road at the top of the hill, there was a sign that must have been there from the summer. It announced construction, to be finished mid-November. But it wasn't finished -- why are such deadlines never met?

Boxing Day: scant attendance

sign about electrical work

A problem with the HOLIDAY HOURS: it appears on the city's rink information website/311 that almost all of the city's rinks will have their changerooms/washrooms locked on the three main holidays: Christmas Day, Boxing Day (yes!), and New Year's Day. You can skate on most of the rinks but you can't get your kids out of the cold to change their skates and you can't take them to the washroom. This is true for Riverdale Rink.

What's the message here -- "you should be drinking, not skating" -- ?

Dec.15 2014

The ice is ready and the rink is open.

Nov.15: view from the hill with the ice in

a well-used hockey net at Riverdale Rink, ready for service
Dec.13 2014

ice-making has begun

the ice already has a line put down

The compressors are on, there is some ice on the pad, and a new sign has been put up: opening Dec.15. More realistic.

Dec.12 2014

Despite yesterday's large snowfall -- which would have disrupted ice-making, badly -- the rink is listed as "open" on the city's website. That's one day before schedule -- is that really true?

Dec.9 2014, e-mail response from CityRinks:

Dec.9: city sign giving possible opening date

So in other words, the "December 13" date that's been up for a while on the city's individual Riverdale schedule means that Dec.13 was a late opening date that seems to have been anticipated.

Too bad that the work couldn't have been done earlier in the fall, but at a minimum it would be good if someone had put a sign on the rink door....Clear information is just good service, so skaters don't have to be mystified. The city's 311/website rink info does say the rink is closed, but that doesn't tell you much. Closed until tomorrow? Closed until January 4, like Regent South? More detail is helpful.

Note: Our visit to Riverdale rink today showed City staff have put up a sign -- good!

Dec.8 2014, e-mail from Park general supervisor Peter White, re the delay in opening this rink:

"Construction on the building at Riverdale Park resulted in an interruption of hydro to the refrigeration plant. With that construction being completed, the plant will be started and we should be able to begin flooding the pad by the middle of this week. We will then be able to open the rink this Saturday."

Dec.5 2014

Dec.5: only cement, no ice on the rink

This rink has no ice. 311 has no information about when it might open. The city's individual rink schedule gives skating hours from Dec.13 on. We've called Councillor Fletcher's office to find out what they know about the reason for the delay -- they passed the query on to the recreation supervisor and are waiting for an answer. A neighbour said he had heard that the rink's condenser might be broken.

The rink/tennis court/swimming pool/playground complex are set to be rebuilt (we don't know when). There is a rumour that the hockey pad will be removed and replaced by a skating trail. We're told that the architects hired for the design are DTAH.

Note from Councillor Fletcher's office: There are plans in place to upgrade the rink at Riverdale Park, and public consultations will soon be underway about the project. One option that is under discussion is to add a skating trail to the park, which would allow for pleasure skating at the same time as shinny hockey is being played. There are no plans to replace the hockey rink with a skating trail.

Nov.30 2014

This rink has not yet opened for the season.



December 5, 2013: FB post from rink user Michael Kavluk

Skated at Riverdale Thursday afternoon 3:30-4:30. The ice was thin and wet in strips. Quite soft at the boards.



See also: Editor's and Rink Users' blog

Thursday Nov 29, 2012

Rink user says he saw ice on Riverdale


2011 - 2012

Saturday Dec.3 2011

2:20pm: There were 3 people playing shinny, 1 staff person, and 4 people inside changing. The schedules were outdated, though again the staff offered me a brochure for the south district when I asked. The ice was thick enough, but covered in a thick layer of frost/snow - looked like it hadn't been done at all today. There was no answer when I tried the local phone line.


2010 - 2011

Saturday December 4, 2010

Weather: high minus 1, low minus 6 , cloudy

At 2 pm this rink is empty. The building attendant says that's because it's unskateable (even though the city's website lists it as open). The ice in the middle is so thin it's hardly there at all. The B.A. says she has no idea why; they just told here to come.





2009 - 2010

Wednesday Dec 23 2009

1.30pm: 3 skaters on the ice no helmets. 2 are pleasure skating (child and adult) and one child is practicing with a puck and stick in the corner.

Wednesday Dec.30 2009

not many pleasure-skaters on this holiday

Numbers at 4.30 pm: 6 pleasure-skaters, plus 8 inside, some leaving, some lacing up.

The building attendant said he's surprised that the building is scheduled to be closed on New Year's Day.

He also said that during the holidays many of the east end rinks have long stretches of pleasure-skating time and so the people who want to play shinny hockey often find that there's no nearby rink that lets them play. He wished that there could be more coordination between different rinks so that during Riverdale pleasure-skating times, he could direct shinny players to a nearby rink that was available for playing.

Tuesday Jan.5, 2010

6.15pm - ice is skateable but has some snow on it, 2 child shinny players, no helmets are wacking the puck against the boards and zipping around.


2008 - 2009

Monday Dec.22 2008

15 shinny players, all but one without helmets. The building attendant says he has 2 donated helmets to lend out, but that people stole the official city ones because they were Nike brand. He hasn't got any new ones. The changeroom has been updated in partnership with Home Depot and the Maple Leafs Players Association. Unfortunately the beautiful blue paint was not reapplied enough to cover the white or yellow underneath and it looks sloppy. But there are new benches and it looks better overall. Moreover the window has been replaced in the staff room so that the staff can look out. The previous window was always covered in posters and was hard to see out of because of the embedded wire and kind of glass. Now only the schedule and the helmet poster stop staff from looking out.

However the staff person is friendly and seems competent. Schedules are available on site for anyone to pick up, and are posted.

not many pleasure-skaters on this holiday

Archives photo of Riverdale rinks 1934: thanks to Chris Short


2007 - 2008

Thursday 30 January

Inside there are 6 people and there are 3 people pleasure skating, no shinny skaters. Every pleasure skater is wearing a helmet. The ice looks pretty good but it was last done early in the morning and it won't be done again until 6pm. The ice is usually done very early in the morning and again around 4 or 6pm. There is a copy of the schedule posted and they have a schedule to take home. Outside there is a lot of ice that needs chipping.

Monday January 21

There is a permit on the ice with 14 kids in full hockey gear playing. Riverdale is one of the most well permitted rinks in the city. Deep down in Riverdale park it should be possible to play all night without disturbing neighbours.

Staff explain that this rink is quite pleasant and safe to work at. But they find it hard to enforce the helmet policy with adults, especially when the image on the poster is of a child and she doesn't have a facemask or neck guard. Getting children in this neighborhood to wear helmets is easy, the rink staff say, but adults are impossible.

January 14, 2008

Rink open but unmaintained. No skaters.


2006 - 2007

Dec.18 2006, 11.30am and 2.30 pm

11.30 am: The ice had not been cleaned/scraped that morning, it looked alright though. There was garbage and recycling outside in a messy way. There were no skaters and the rink was all locked up. The schedule was posted, but only the holiday version (up to 31 December). It was posted inside a window, not too easy to see.

There were no staff. Nets were new. The area is nice, near the Broadview streetcar and Broadview and Danforth for the subway. There are also bike rings and a playground adjacent. There are two vending machines for food. One machine is broken and the other is empty. There is no public phone.

At 2.30pm one pleasure skater present. There were no copies of the schedule available, the staff person said he only had the one copy up until December 31. He reported that the ice was maintained, that is flooded or scraped once a day, but they never know when.

photo caption

There was one rink guard, one BA, both friendly. There were mats outside but no benches and it was still messy by the garbages. The change room was clean, well lit and had the code of conduct up as well as mats and lockers.

The staff have a phone in their office. The staff reported that they have helmets for themselves and that they enforce the helmet rule always with 6 and under but prefer not to risk getting into a fight over the helmets with the older skaters.

There are no green shovels, so when it snows they close. Shinny scene is good, 18 and over is the best in the evenings.


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Content last modified on November 27, 2022, at 12:50 PM EST