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Rink Diary

2022 -2023

Feb.7, 2023

From H.M.: Sherbourne common is up and running- looked to have been zambonied at least 1 time yesterday.

Jan.13, 2023

The good news is that the rink appears to have ice, under the drifted snow, and the washrooms are open and a sheltered place of warmth and no wind. The bad news is that there are no skaters and the nice windowed room that could be a change room is still locked all the time, now for the 12th straight year. Why is this rink such an orphan?

Jan.13: ice a bit snowy but open

Jan.13: no changeroom, but an "office" that's locked
Jan.5, 2023:

This rink has been closed for "ice conditions" almost every day since the opening of the season.


Rink diaries from earlier years:

2021 - 2022

Nov.27, 2021

Opened for the season

Dec.9, 2022

Listed as closed because of "ice conditions."

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.


Opening day


2019 - 2020

No reports

2018 - 2019

Feb.23, 2019

The rink has been listed as closed ever since Feb.9. Today it was cement, water and a few ice islands. The signs are askew and the whole place has an orphaned look. Despite that, the washrooms were open. Clean, but a bit spooky, so far from people, and the outer door is not lockable for users like full-access washrooms are.

cement, water, and a few ice patches

rink closed sign, maybe not "temporarily"
Feb.9, 2019

The rink is listed as closed for an unspecified mechanical problem.

Dec.8, 2018

There were two skaters, and their two young kids were sitting on the ice playing a game. The skaters said they had come down from where they live, near Finch Ave. They just wanted to try out the rink, because it's not as crowded as Harbourfront. But they said they were surprised that the rink is empty. They had been there fore over two hours and during that time, only two other families had come, and left again.

two skaters plus two kids

everything has to be stored outside

2017 - 2018

March 12, 2018

Yesterday the rink was listed as open on the city's outdoor rinks website, but it had large puddles and was so soft that two adults there said they had tried skating on half of it and had stopped, so as not to damage their skates. Their kids were lighter but they played around the edges and didn't try to skate either.

Later today the rink was finally marked as "closed for the season."

March 11: listed as open but not skateable
March 10, 2018

Remarkably, the rink is once again listed as open. The rink crew must have worked hard to get Sherbourne Common back up and running.

March 6, 2018

The rink is now listed as closed for "mechanical issues." Certainly the mechanical plant for this rink is not strong. But trying to keep so many rinks open until the end of March break is unworkable.

March 5, 2018

Sherbourne Common is down to cement in about 40% of its area. On the city's web information page, the rink is listed as being closed for "ice quality."

Listed to stay open to March 18

not likely to be temporary
Feb.8, 2018, from Geri Dempsey

12.30. no skaters, just someone eating their lunch on the benches overlooking the rink. Indoor washrooms open. As I was leaving a truck arrived and began unloading the zamboni. The driver joked he needed volunteer zamboni drivers, the ice here is cleared twice a day, but rarely gets skaters in the day. He told me shinny isn't allowed (no signs posted though?), but said the rink was never staffed so there was nothing to stop a pick up game of shinny if someone wanted to.

Jan.19, 2018

For the last two days, this rink has been listed as closed -- "ice conditions." But at 6 pm the ice was fine. A solitary skater was lacing up. The washrooms were locked.

Dec.6, 2017

At 8 p.m. the zamboni had been brought over and two staff were chipping away at the ice. The ice was deeply pitted in places, mostly around where leaves had sunk in and then the sun must have melted the thin ice over them.

Despite the bad ice (and the rink being labelled as closed) there was a man getting a stopping-on-skates lesson from a skating teacher.

Dec.4, 2017

At 3 p.m. there's sun and cloud, 6 celsius, and there's a layer of water on part of the ice -- good underneath.

thin layer of water over the ice

washrooms open, main room windows covered, staff car parked outside

George Brown students lined up for bus, do any of them ever skate here?

2016 - 2017

Nov.26, 2016

This rink didn't open although it was on the list for today.

No other entries for that season.

2015 - 2016

March 11, 2016

This rink was scheduled to stay open until March 20, but closed for the season on March 11.

Dec.5 2015

new bench in the middle, maybe also to discourage shinny hockey

mats leading to the door -- is there hope for a changeroom?

construction carries on to the east
Dec.11 2015

A warm day, up to 15 celsius with a good deal of sun. The rink was covered in a thin layer of water, but the ice underneath was fine. When I tested to depth of the water with my foot, the door of the locked room opened and the rink staff warned me off, saying the ice was dangerous and I would fall. It turns out he is the zamboni driver but without a zamboni -- it's delivered to him by the flying squad once a shift and he resurfaces the ice while they go on their scheduled break.

I asked him whether the mats to the door of the locked room mean that this year, finally, it will be used as a change room. He said, no, the mats are there to make it easier to roll his cleaning bucket into the room, which he needs to use as his office. Besides, he said, it has no mats or benches inside for skaters to change. And he needs the room for himself, as an office.

ice covered with a thin layer of water

the rink operator's car, beside his office

students waiting for the bus, beside the rink

George Brown College, right next to the rink

It appears that this rink operator is in that building five days a week for eight-hour shifts. Maybe that's why the washrooms are so clean. And that in turn is a good thing as long as people have to sit on the toilets if they want a warm place to change when the icy cold blows off the lake.

The lack of a change room may partly explain why this rinks gets so little use -- even though it's right next to George Brown College. At the bus stop there was a long lineup of students. Would they come and skate if there was a warm place to change, and skate loans, and hot chocolate? Nobody will know if it's never tried.....


2014 - 2015

Paul Quarrington Rink, Boxing Day
Dec.26, 2014 (Boxing Day)

A mild day, hardly any wind. At one pm, three families were changing into skates on benches by the rink building. The washrooms were open so that if it had been as cold as it often is by the lakefront, it would have been possible for skaters to change inside -- on the toilet! That's the only indoor place to sit, since the cafe building is still locked, now into its fifth season. But on this mild day it was not necessary to use the toilets as skate-changing perches.

The rink has the new sign on it: Paul Quarrington Rink.

skate changing benches outside

this little-used rink is by the lakefront
Nov.30 2014

This rink was closed by the afternoon, due to warm weather and thin ice.

Nov.28 2014

We just found this news story from last February, saying that Sherbourne Common Rink was to be renamed the Paul Quarrington Rink at an event on February 22. And in fact this happened. On the city's Sherbourne Common Rink information page, there's no mention of the new name, though.


2013 - 2014

Jan.5 2014, comment from rink user G.R.

We were just there this afternoon - snowy and wet, but would have been a nice skate. However, change area locked and all outdoor benches wet and unsuitable for changing and storing street boots. So, we left and went to Harbourfront where there are comfortable changing and boot storage areas.

Too bad, Commons could be a nice spot, but skimping on operating costs.

Dec 19, 2013, from a rink user

Why is the PUBLIC washroom locked @ noon on Wed Dec 18th 2013 @ the Sherbourne RINK? Five people including myself were at this rink from 12:00 - 1:10 pm on Dec 18th and the public washroom AND public change room was locked. Why? It was also locked on Fri Dec 13th 2013.

Why is there no one on site and no phone number posted on the door for assistance?

I use this rink at least twice a week since it opened a few years ago and there is never anyone on site with no contact information posted anywhere.

Saturday, Dec.7 2013

Cold day, good ice. At 9.45 there were three skaters. The washrooms were open and warm, which is good, because people could change into their skates there. The change-room/future snack bar/whatever continues to be locked and without any rubber mats -- making it unlikely that there is any intention of letting skaters change in there - after three years of non-use!

handful of skaters

a visit by the zamboni


Dec.6 2012: Release of a staff report on Sherbourne Common

Here is a report proposing a new approach to maintenance for Sherbourne Common: report.

Jan 1, 2013

We just found this critical assessment of the problems of Sherbourne Common on the information-packed Project for Public Spaces website. The place is underused in the summer and the rink is often empty in the winter. It's made worse by the absence of shelter -- or rather, by the disuse of a perfectly serviceable change room, the second year in a row. The bitter winds of this location near the lake, with no sheltering buildings nearby (actually the building design forms a wind tunnel), reduces usefulness even more.

At least there are washrooms -- meaning that if a person's fingers are too cold to untie their skate laces outside, they can sit on a warm toilet and untie them there.

The city's website said the rink is open every day, but it doesn't mention that there's no access to the change room, ever.

few skaters, a bitter wind off the lake

skaters have to change outside

warm change room has been locked for two years

zamboni hose is too narrow, takes a long time to fill

2011 - 2012

Saturday Dec.3 2011

snow-covered on opening day

11am: The rink is hard to spot amidst a pile of construction. The ice was covered in thick frosty snow, but the compressors were clearly on, and it looked like it could have been skateable if only it had ice maintenance.

There was one recreation staff at the rink, sitting in a glassed-in area that looks like it could be a snack bar. He said the rink was closed because there was no maintenance and didn't expect it any time soon. I asked if he had a phone number so I could check back later and he said he had no phone at all, but that his supervisor was bringing one later in the day. A father and daughter came by to check it out, but left soon after. 311 confirmed that the rink was closed, and had no estimate on when it might open. The only benches around were the concrete ones built into the rink design, though there were a couple of picnic table stacked nearby.

Sunday Dec.4 2011

6:25 pm: It's raining, the ice has lots of footprints & bumpy, doesn't look ready for skating yet. There is a little glass windowed area that currently has 5 parks dept. garbage bins and a table with a first aid kit on it.

rink with city skyline

the office -- supposed to be a cafe?
Wednesday Dec.7 2011

rink has potential

From rink user Geoff Vona: The ice is solid but a bit bumpy – looks like ice that’s not getting properly maintained. Skateable, but covered in a thin layer of crusty snow. That was between 12:30 and 1:30 today (Wednesday December 7th). No attendant, but the sign says there is no attendant between 11am and 3pm.

For the life of me I can’t figure out how an ice cleaner of any weight gets on and off this ice surface. There must be a portable ramp somewhere…

December 11 2011

great view, two people

On a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon, the rink had only two skaters. The ice was in good shape. There was a rink attendant in the office, but there were no benches to change there and no mats to protect skates if anyone wanted to come inside. However, outside the rink there are vast expanses of mats, as many mats as at the main civic rinks. This staff office appears to be set up as a cafe (lots of electrical outlets, a little service window, maybe sink connections). But right now it's a storage space for extra trash cans and a shelter for staff. If skaters come and want to change, they go into the washrooms and sit on the toilets.

There is no parking nearby, and the bus comes every 45 minutes (there is no handy bus stop, it's a distance). All these factors explain why the rink had a maximum of five skaters while we were visiting. Down the road at Harbourfront's Natrel Rink, there were hundreds of skaters at exactly the same time. Same lakefront, different approach.

January 22 2012

This time I was pleasantly surprised to find cars parked at the roadside where the rink starts. They were just parked up on the grass, and the rink attendant said he wasn't sure if the parking was "official," but he thought he might have noticed some yellow lines painted onto the frozen grass, presumably by the city.

The rink had more people on it than I'd seen before (8), but the rink attendant was still sitting indoors in solitary splendour while the skaters had to change outside in the cold wind. It would take about half an hour to drag the excellent new rubber mats in and slide some of the room's green wooden storage boxes over so people would have a spot to sit. How hard would it be to bring a dozen plastic chairs from John Innis community centre?

The only warm place to sit inside and change is the toilet. Instead of evidence of welcome for skaters, there is a sign in the window, forbidding hockey. Might as well put up another sign: "The City of Toronto doesn't mind your discomfort." Painful to see such a waste of a picturesque new rink.

new: some parking allowed now

two skaters, four more changing

two outside benches for changing

change room -- for staff to sit, but not for skaters

sign in change room window

mats are all outside, not in change room

door to get inside, out of the cold

inside it's warm at last

only place to sit for skate changing


January 26 2011

The Toronto Sun wrote about the imminent opening of the rink.

January 31 2011

Christopher Hume in the Toronto Star on opening day at the rink.

The city's document of key facts does not mention compressors or ice-making equipment.

February 3 2010

At 8 pm there were five skaters, with one rink guard sitting inside the unfinished cafe area. There was a bitter wind blowing. One woman was changing out of her skates by balancing on one foot in the little entryway to the washrooms. She said that the benches outside are made of cement and are partially snow-covered but also too cold.

The rink guard said that the most skaters he'd had at one time were eight, earlier in the day. The zamboni had come by only once, at 11 a.m., but with so few skaters, the ice was fine at 8 pm.

There is no parking on the street (Queen's Quay), even though it's wide and has little traffic.

The washrooms are very handsome, and the rink guard was evidently proud of the building, unfinished though it was. At this point the toilets are the warmest place to sit down, and with the lid down they should do fine as a skate-changing seat.

Friday Feb.18 2011, mid-afternoon, sunny and 9 celsius.

4.50pm: There were no skaters on the ice. The ice was wet all over and soft and slushy. There was a pile of snow on one corner of it.





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Content last modified on February 07, 2023, at 01:36 PM EST