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Welcome to The Unofficial Website of Toronto's Outdoor Skating Rinks

There's nothing like outdoor skating

A project of CELOS (*)

Wallace Emerson (Double Pad) Rink Profile

first opened in 1981, rebuilt in 2006
Compressors: 200 hp plus one 40 hp brine pump and one 10 hp slow duty pump
Current refrigeration system and floor installed 2006

Opening: Nov.24, 2018
Closing: T.B.A.

Note: this rink and the Wallace-Emerson C.R.C. are going to be torn down and rebuilt differently to the west of the property. The development plans are here (from Oct.30, 2018)

Rink change area: Snack bar, board games and storybooks for little kids, skate rentals.

Staff: They lend skates: suggested donation skates $2, sticks and gloves $1, helmets no charge. Some of the staff enforce rules of behaviour Phone: 416-392-0911

Maintenance: Zamboni, although the garage has n water and ice maintenance is complicated.


Comments about this rink: e-mail us at [email protected].


holiday crowds

skate loan line-up
 

Diary

2018 - 2019

Posted on several neighbourhood e-lists, by Michael Monastyrskyj, Nov.14, 2018:

the circular outpouching on the right: "leisure and shinny pad"

Last week I went to an open house about the new community centre the Reimagine Galleria developers want to build to replace the current one.

I was shocked to learn that the proposal doesn't include a full-sized hockey rink. A while back I sent an email to this list expressing a concern that the proposed changes to Wallace wouldn't include a double ice pad. I was assured by Ana Bailao's office that the developer would include an equivalent rink facility in any changes made to the park. The design I saw last week isn't an equivalent facility.

The proposal calls for a skating trail roughly the size of the one at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Etobicoke. This trail would be larger than the current leisure skating pad at Wallace. Attached to the trail would be an oval patch of ice half the size of the hockey rink that's there now. I was told they reduced the size of the hockey area to make the skating trail larger.

This oval patch, which could be used for hockey, skate lessons or other special activities would be surrounded on three sides by grass bunkers with an opening to the skating trail. The woman I spoke to said they were thinking about adding "dasher boards" around the oval with some sort of movable barrier to close off the area when it was used for hockey.

A small group of people, especially children, might be able to play on a half-size rink but the 15-20 men who show up every night for adult shinny can't. Neither could the youth who play earlier in the evening.

The woman I spoke to said they were thinking of Dufferin, Wallace and Campbell as a unit. She said the Wallace hockey players could always go to Dufferin. That's not practical because adult shinny at Dufferin routinely attracts 30 players. If all the Wallace players show up at Dufferin, you might have fifty or more adult players.

Someone else I spoke to said the players could go to Campbell rink because Campbell is in his words "dead.". I haven't been to Campbell in a while, but I've asked around. It may depend on the night, but people have told me hockey times at Campbell are busy.

As much as I personally like the idea of a large skating trail, I believe the proposed changes to Wallace rink is unfair to the people who play shinny there now. I wrote this email, because the turnout for the open house was small and I want as many as possible to know what is being proposed.



 

Posts from earlier years

2017 - 2018

April 17, 2018, from Councillor Bailao's newsletter:

Public Open House: Vision for the New Wallace Emerson Community Centre and Park Master Plan

As part of the Galleria Mall site redevelopment process, I have been working to expand the size of Wallace Emerson Park by more than 25% and double the size of the Wallace Emerson Community Centre, which will include a new child care facility for our community. The expanded park and new community centre will be an exciting project that will enhance our community for generations to come.

As the City begins the design process for the new community centre, childcare facility and Park Master Plan, we need your input! Please join me, City staff and the Reimagine Galleria project team for a Visioning Session and Open House on Thursday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Galleria Mall (1245 Dupont Street) so you can share your ideas and feedback. An optional walking tour of Wallace Emerson Park will be held starting promptly at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 26. The walking tour will start at the Reimagine Galleria storefront (between the Happy Bakery and LCBO at the Galleria Mall).

 

Feb.25, 2018

This rink is one of the few marked open (sunny all day, temp +8). At 5 pm the rink attendant said it's not really skateable but there are 5 people trying (both sides)

Feb.1, 2018

Sounds like staff are being assigned to do a Caribbean-themed Family Day event at all three Ward 18 rinks (Dufferin, Wallace, Campbell) -- no posters yet.

Dec.2, 2017

stairway from parking lot blocked

At 12.30 the rink has few skaters. There are three staff assigned for most of the day, one of whom is a youth worker, who makes cookies and rents skates if there are no troublesome youth needing his attention.

The stairs that were added in 2006, to give a more direct access to the rink from the parking lot, have been barricaded (with locks) for the winter. The sign says "no winter maintenance." Indeed, the staff often missed shovelling the steps after a snowfall. The zamboni fills and drains directly from the compressor room right by the walkway. So people can slip and fall on the ice left there by the frozen water. After all these years, a water line was never added to the zamboni garage that's located at the other side of the rink. It's easier to make people walk the long way around or slide down the steep berm to get into the rink, than to fix the problem of a missing water line.

The incentive to take care of making the rink work better is very slight since the proposed development plans for the Galleria Mall and the park call for the Community Centre and rink to be demolished and relocated at the west side of the property.


Saturday noon: not many skaters yet

big MLSE sign for painting change room

new second-hand stove has an oven that works

loaner skates
 

2016 - 2017

March 23, 2017

Galleria development, single pad rink at the back?

Maybe it doesn't much matter if Wallace Rink is malfunctioning. The whole community centre and the rink are planned to be torn down and replaced by the developer who is building a high-rise settlement at the site of the Galleria Mall.

Comment from blogger: They are shoving the community centre to the back of the property. What guarantee do we have that it will be as good as or better than what exists now? And what about all the money the City just spent to renovate the existing Centre? Is the developer is in charge of the design or the City?


 
March 15, 2017: Response from Jutta (CELOS) to Parks manager Peter White

Thanks Peter.

The information that you repeat in this email is not quite accurate, as you will see in my earlier e-mail to the councillor. I have re-posted the excerpt at the bottom of this email. I understand that you may not have had a chance to read the original since as citywide manager you are very busy with many other tasks.

I therefore have to persist in my desire to see the log books for both rinks (Dufferin as a standard of comparison). The most time-saving way to do this would be to assign a technical staff person to go through the two books with me -- a task of perhaps an hour per rink, if the books are well-kept.

Your email does not address this request, also contained in my email to the councillor. My repeated attempts to find out -- as a longtime outdoor rink activist and a taxpayer -- what is the case at Wallace have been unsuccessful over several weeks. So I submitted a freedom of information request yesterday. I imagine that having your staff comply with this FOI request, or searching around to find reasons not to fulfil it -- will take longer than 2 hours and involve more people, therefore costing the city more money.

I am prepared to offer two hours of my unpaid time to reading through the log books. Do you agree that it would be a shortcut?

Jutta

Excerpt from my email to the councillor last week:

Your source tells you that the trouble showed up on Feb.18, but that's not the case.

On February 14, Wallace looked like this:


​At the same time, other parts of the rink were down to cement. Something was clearly very wrong. The high that day was 4 and the low was minus 7. All 48 city outdoor rinks were marked as open.

That warning event was not mentioned in your email. Also, the information your forwarded says the leisure pad was open all of Family Day weekend, but it was not. At 1 p.m.on Family Day Feb.20 there was a sign on the Wallace Rink house door saying it was closed. The compressors did not seems to be running, and the ice was clearly melting. You can see the photo on the cityrinks.ca website, and also at the bottom of this email. Both Campbell Rink and Dufferin Rink were open and filled with skaters at exactly the same time (Campbell had a successful event, lots of skaters).

And yet Wallace Rink has significantly greater compressor power than either of those rinks (200 Hp compared to 150 Hp at Dufferin and 100 Hp at Campbell). Also their cooling equipment is newer than either of them. It's important to find out why the compressors failed BEFORE the watermain problem, and warm temperatures are not a sufficient reason.

March 15, 2017, response from Parks manager Peter White

The rink log book indicates that Cimco checked the plant at 8:00am on Saturday February 18, 2016. The high temperature for that day was 14 degrees Celsius. On the afternoon of Sunday February 19, with a high temperature of 13 degrees Celsius, the On Call Supervisor was notified that the rink was melting. Cimco arrived on site between 2 and 4 pm and found that the compressors had tripped off due to a mechanical failure. At this point the compressors were restarted but not before the loss of a considerable amount of ice. While we do not know when the compressors failed, it is believed to have been on Saturday. The rink did reopen on February 20.

On February 22 there was a water main break on Dufferin St. Water service was shut off to the compressor room. Without a constant supply of water, the compressors cannot operate and they tripped off. With a temperature of 7 degrees Celsius, more ice was lost. On February 23, we were notified that the water main had been repaired. The high temperature for the day was 19 degrees Celsius and there was no longer any ice remaining on the pad as per the attached photo taken that day. The decision was made not to restart the rink.

The sign that you provided a photo of does not accurately identify the reason for the closure of the rink and probably should have indicated that there were mechanical issues. We have been working on providing more up to date and accurate information to the public through our website and on-site signage, and are committed to continually improving where we have fallen short.

It is our goal to maintain a consistent standard at all of our rinks. The events at Wallace Emerson should in no way be seen as relegation to "second class rink" status.

March 10, 2017

Telephone call with Councillor Bailao. She said they would get back to the rink management and see if they can let me see the maintenance log books, also inquire about the discrepancy between their explanations and our account. Said they would get back to me on Monday.

March 8, 2017, email forwarded from Councillor Bailao's office (originating from unidentified city staff)

On Saturday, Feb 18th on site staff advised that ice at Wallace Emerson AIR was melting and the compressors were not running - the outside temperature was 15 degrees.

This was immediately reported to CIMCO, our contract provider that services our equipment.

CIMCO attended the site and reported the compressors "had tripped off", due to an overload on the system. The compressors were restarted but the ice had significantly melted due to the intensity of the sun and high temperature. This resulted in temporary closure of Wallace Emerson AIR at 4:00 pm on February 18th.

Staff were able to reopen the rink for 9 am on February 19th. Due to the continued warm temperatures on this day (13 degrees), staff had a service alert issued for this location indicating the leisure pad was open, but the hockey side closed. This status continued throughout the weekend and up until February 22nd.

It is important to note, the warm temperatures on this weekend posed challenges at all of our rinks city wide resulting in various temporary closures and/or service alerts.

On Wednesday, February 22nd, there was a water main issue on Dufferin Street which resulted in the rink being closed on February 22nd and 23rd.

The plant cannot operate without water for two reasons:

1. The condenser outside uses water to cool the ammonia as part of the refrigeration process. Without it the compressors will "trip off" on high head pressure. This is evidenced by steam running off the tower when the equipment is operating. This is water evaporating and it constantly needs to be replenished.

2. Water is also used to control the cooling jackets in the compressors to keep the head temperatures stable. Again without water we "trip off" on high head pressure.

The combination of the warm temperatures and the mechanical issues caused the bond to break (ice separated from the pad and resulted in loss of ice at this location.

At this point, in order to re-open the rink, we would need to start from scratch, remove the remaining ice, and start all over attempting to make ice at night and maintain during the day in not ideal temperatures. This would take several days with optimal conditions.

Based on all the factors above, the rink was closed for the season on February 24th.

I appreciate the information regarding the signage information. I agree, it is not the correct information, as the issue involved several factors, not just weather related issues. I will speak with on-site staff regarding improving the signage and communication.

Staff made every effort to maintain the ice at this location, but the combined effects of the unseasonal high temperatures and water main issue at the time resulted in the loss of the bond. It is unfortunate this location had to close 3 weeks prior to planned, but we hope residents and users will continue to skate at nearby locations that are still operational.

Response from Jutta, March 8, 2017

Thank you for forwarding the staff's clarifications. It was interesting to read the course of events after the watermain problem on Feb.22. However, there are some errors in the timing before then.....

So here are two requests:

1. Could you ask your source to set up a time in the next week when I could study the rink maintenance logs (daily log books kept in all rink compressor rooms) for all three Ward 18 rinks? If your source would like to explain certain entries to me directly, that would be helpful, but if not, I can read them on my own. Please ask this question before the end of this week because, if the staff feel unsure about letting me see the log books less formally, I would like to request them through Freedom of Information on Monday, to get the 28-day FOI process started.

2. Could you ask Ana if we can have a 15-minute phone appointment to talk about Wallace Rink? That rink has been neglected far too often over the years and it's important not to let it happen again.

Feb.28, 2017

We called the councillor's office and also sent an email, to let them know that the explanation they got doesn't match with the dates. We also asked why staff posted a notice that's wrong. The councillor's office has sent out another inquiry to management.

Feb.27, e-mail response from City Councillor Ana Bailao's office:

The park supervisor provided the following information: “Wallace Emerson rink will be closed due to the water main break on Dufferin St on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. The Wallace Emerson Rec Centre, pool and rink was closed on those two days as well, The loss of water to the rink power plant has led to failure of the compressors which led to the loss of the ice on both rinks, with only a few weeks before shutting down for the season and the mild weather we are experiencing it will not be feasible to get the system up and running to make ice before the projected March 19 closing”

Feb.26, 2017

ice all gone before time

misleading information

There is a poster on the door of the rink, saying that the rink had to close for the season because of the warm weather. But that's nonsense -- something is wrong with the machinery. Staff say the rink has been having trouble above freezing for a while already. We've sent the councillor a letter asking what exactly is wrong.

Feb.24, 2017

This rink is now listed as "closed for the season," more than 3 weeks before the time scheduled.

Feb.22, 2017

According to the rec supervisor, on Saturday Feb.19, one of the rink's compressors tripped and was no longer running. The rink has since then been listed as "open on the pleasure-skating side, closed on the hockey side." But it wasn't functioning on either side. A pity -- this rink was completely rebuilt in 2006, at considerable cost -- too early for it to falter.

Then today one of the staff was cleaning the stove and noticed the water pressure was low. The custodian came and said they were closing the community centre including the pool because there were no showers and washrooms, on account of a water main break on Dufferin Street. There was soft and bumpy ice in the morning, but skateable. Then around 1 there was a lot of water on the ice, and after that the ice melted quite fast. In the afternoon two staff came to inspect the compressors, and said that "the water main break today caused the compressor to stop working." Shortly after, the rink was listed as closed due to mechanical issues.

But the rink has been working poorly for more than a week already.

Feb.20, 2017

Wallace Rink is unskateable today. It's warm and sunny, but both other Ward 18 rinks -- with equipment considerably older than that at Wallace -- are full of skaters.


February 20th -- compressors not working
 
Feb.14, 2017

One part of the ice is completely mushy and elsewhere the ice is so thin that you can see the cement. How can both problems co-exist? Maybe the compressors switched off. There is little communication among city staff, so maybe the tech services people just didn't tell the program staff.


Rink at 4 p.m. Feb.14, 2017 -- ice is a thick mush

another part of the rink at 4 p.m. - ice is too thin
 
Nov.22, 2016

rink is ready to go

The rink looks clean, the compressors are on, and the leftover rain water on the rinks is freezing at the edges.

 

2015 - 2016

March 10, 2016

This rink was scheduled to stay open until March 20, but it was closed for the season on March 10.

Feb.24, 2016

Two of the new 20 pairs of MLSE skates have disappeared, without any record of them even being lent out.

Feb.7 2016

new skates from an NHL PA donation

Feb.7: helmet box unlocked as before

A month after cityrinks sounded the alarm bell about the sorry state of the rental skates, the supervisor has brought in twenty new pairs of skates. He says they're a gift from the NHL Players' Association. On Feb.3 they were spray-painted, and soon they will be sharpened, although how they will be stored is not clear yet.

The odd helmet collection now has a lock on the box, and a sign saying to sign out helmets with staff. However, few staff have been informed of the new locked-box idea, and so it stays unlocked.

 
January 31, 2016

At 3 pm it looks like it will rain soon, and there are fewer people at the rink than on a sunny Sunday. It interesting to see that the skate aids seem to have an organizing function on the ice -- people meet and chat over and around them.


little areas of sociability form around skate-aids

back entrance to the rink -- nobody's responsibility

The back stairway is muddy and full of trash again. An orphan. Too bad -- it's still much used even when the cement stairs are open, because the back stairs are closer to the parking lot. People must be just used to it, wandering through trash into city facilities. It's not that staff try to keep things clean where they are -- it's just that their turf is strictly delimited (indoors, or just outside the door, but not along the path where people arrive), and there's no overall concept.

January 29, 2016

mid-day tangle in the skate room

1 p.m. The skate room/kitchen are in a tangle. It looks like days of postponed cleaning up. The skate shelves are not in good order, and every bit of counter space in the kitchen area seems to have precariously balanced stuff on it, stacked bowls or papers or extra skates etc.

8.45 p.m. The earlier mess inside the kitchen area has been all cleaned up, the skates are standing straight on the skate shelves. Two staff and some friends are laying out tarot cards at the cafe serving counter, and inside the skate room another staff is lying face down on a change room bench that's been moved inside, with several friends sitting nearby. I ask if there's been an injury but am told, the staff is just "on break." Staff say that the police have been coming by ever since a woman came to the rink a few days back and threatened someone with a hatchet. Now that police are patrolling, say the staff, families are returning to the rink.

The scene looks mellow and sociable -- the problem is, the social group is small, consisting of staff and their friends. The sociability is halfway there -- now it needs to shift its focus to rink users who are not necessarily the staff's friends, and not necessarily youth. Even so, the mood is rather sweet.

January 27, 2016

damaged skate is the last size 7

New helmets have appeared in the helmet bin. Before there were none, now there are nine, five CSA helmets (but one of them without straps) and four non-CSA helmets. Despite the fact that the last bunch all disappeared, these new helmets are still out in the change room with no lock on the box. The staff is sharpening a size seven figure skate that has a crack right across the ankle, but he says he doesn't want to throw it out because that's the last size seven skate. Some new skates are rumoured to be on the way.


new helmets have appeared

skate bin still unlocked
 
January 26, 2016

Now that the gate has finally been unlocked, roof work has started at the very corner that was supposed to be a risk. It's going to last a few days, but no problem. That suggests the gate barred the stairs for no reason, all these weeks.


cherry picker for working on the roof corner

so many skate aids
 
January 22, 2016

Jan.22, 2016: stairway no longer blocked off

Sometime in the past four days, the cement rink stairs were finally reopened. Excellent. Now let's see if the path to the wooden stairs can be cleaned up and staff can be assigned to clear it when it snows. And the long-overdue of addition of water-heaters to the zamboni garage would solve the problem of people falling on the zamboni leakage where the drivers have to fill up, right beside the rink.

Interestingly, this rink has 21 skate aids (compare: city hall has four). The rink could be an interesting lending depot for rinks that have events and have no skate aids.

 
January 16, 2016

six weeks after the season started, access to the rink stairs is still locked

so skaters come in by this cow path

the path is either icy or muddy or both, depending on the temperature....

a u-turn at the end of the fence leads to an uncleared step-down

sign: "no winter maintenance of walkway and stairs"

no maintenance indeed, garbage stays where it is

and at the bottom of the stairs there's ice from the zamboni

so skaters come down the steep hill instead

small wonder the rink is often short of skaters
 
January 3,2016

10.15 pm Dec.23: ice is fine, but officially closed

It's time to take a look at the Wallace skate lending program.

Dec.23 2015

The city has closed all rinks because of warm weather, but some can't be closed because they have no fence around them, e.g. the pond-shaped pleasure-skating pad at Wallace Rink. At 10.15 pm, three kids are playing shinny hockey on the ice. The ice is solid and smooth.

 
Dec.13 2015

December 13, 3.30 p.m., boys hanging out at the side as usual

main rink stairs are still out of commission

access still barred from the top

to get there, a muddy path and an illegal step-down...

...to some rather nice wooden steps built by city carpenters

but that's where the zamboni has to fill with water...

...new garage in 2010, but it got no water nor gas

So skaters have to pick their way around the zamboni, which spills water as it's filled, and the water freezes on top of the walkway, and people fall. Last year the wooden stairway was blocked to prevent people from falling on that icy patch, but this year, with no access to the main stairs, that would mean no access from the parking lot without going all the way around the rink.

BUT: for skaters who make it to the rink, there is some good food, selling cheap, and loaner skates as well:


apples, squash soup and samosas

loaner skates for $2
 
Dec.11, 2015

warm spell puts water on top of ice

warning sign, but the other stairway is blocked off
 
Nov.29 2015

rink guards (retro-reflective) companionably chatting

On this second day of the season, the rink looks considerably better -- good thing, since their compressors have lots of power and all they needed was more water. At 5 pm the lights are not on, although it's getting dark. None of the staff have the key to change the lights-timers, but eventually someone will come along, no doubt.

 
Nov.28, 2015

first skaters -- maybe six

ice is rough

main stairs to rink blocked off because...

...the roof is being redone

old solar panels being replaced with a normal roof

Last year the wooden stairs were blocked off for being dangerous. This year the wooden stairs are the only way to get to the rink from the parking lot, because the concrete stairs are blocked off. The roof is being replaced above the swimming pool -- yet another attempt to get the pool to function right. That's the third all-season pool closure in the last few years. This building was designed as a very forward-thinking structure in 1983, but nothing has worked out as was hoped.

 

Views of the rink

This Rink has two skating pads. Typically one side is used for pleasure skating (during hours when rink is staffed), and the other for shinny.

From The City of Toronto Website 2014-15

For the skating schedule, go to Wallace, then click on Drop-in thenSkating.

Local Info

Email : [email protected]

Click here to see a pdf of the 2013 - 2014 posted 'paper' schedule

Skate Lending Info

Archived Schedules

Diary 2014-2015

2018 - 2019

Posted on several neighbourhood e-lists, by Michael Monastyrskyj, Nov.14, 2018:

the circular outpouching on the right: "leisure and shinny pad"

Last week I went to an open house about the new community centre the Reimagine Galleria developers want to build to replace the current one.

I was shocked to learn that the proposal doesn't include a full-sized hockey rink. A while back I sent an email to this list expressing a concern that the proposed changes to Wallace wouldn't include a double ice pad. I was assured by Ana Bailao's office that the developer would include an equivalent rink facility in any changes made to the park. The design I saw last week isn't an equivalent facility.

The proposal calls for a skating trail roughly the size of the one at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Etobicoke. This trail would be larger than the current leisure skating pad at Wallace. Attached to the trail would be an oval patch of ice half the size of the hockey rink that's there now. I was told they reduced the size of the hockey area to make the skating trail larger.

This oval patch, which could be used for hockey, skate lessons or other special activities would be surrounded on three sides by grass bunkers with an opening to the skating trail. The woman I spoke to said they were thinking about adding "dasher boards" around the oval with some sort of movable barrier to close off the area when it was used for hockey.

A small group of people, especially children, might be able to play on a half-size rink but the 15-20 men who show up every night for adult shinny can't. Neither could the youth who play earlier in the evening.

The woman I spoke to said they were thinking of Dufferin, Wallace and Campbell as a unit. She said the Wallace hockey players could always go to Dufferin. That's not practical because adult shinny at Dufferin routinely attracts 30 players. If all the Wallace players show up at Dufferin, you might have fifty or more adult players.

Someone else I spoke to said the players could go to Campbell rink because Campbell is in his words "dead.". I haven't been to Campbell in a while, but I've asked around. It may depend on the night, but people have told me hockey times at Campbell are busy.

As much as I personally like the idea of a large skating trail, I believe the proposed changes to Wallace rink is unfair to the people who play shinny there now. I wrote this email, because the turnout for the open house was small and I want as many as possible to know what is being proposed.



 

Posts from earlier years

2017 - 2018

April 17, 2018, from Councillor Bailao's newsletter:

Public Open House: Vision for the New Wallace Emerson Community Centre and Park Master Plan

As part of the Galleria Mall site redevelopment process, I have been working to expand the size of Wallace Emerson Park by more than 25% and double the size of the Wallace Emerson Community Centre, which will include a new child care facility for our community. The expanded park and new community centre will be an exciting project that will enhance our community for generations to come.

As the City begins the design process for the new community centre, childcare facility and Park Master Plan, we need your input! Please join me, City staff and the Reimagine Galleria project team for a Visioning Session and Open House on Thursday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Galleria Mall (1245 Dupont Street) so you can share your ideas and feedback. An optional walking tour of Wallace Emerson Park will be held starting promptly at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 26. The walking tour will start at the Reimagine Galleria storefront (between the Happy Bakery and LCBO at the Galleria Mall).

 

Feb.25, 2018

This rink is one of the few marked open (sunny all day, temp +8). At 5 pm the rink attendant said it's not really skateable but there are 5 people trying (both sides)

Feb.1, 2018

Sounds like staff are being assigned to do a Caribbean-themed Family Day event at all three Ward 18 rinks (Dufferin, Wallace, Campbell) -- no posters yet.

Dec.2, 2017

stairway from parking lot blocked

At 12.30 the rink has few skaters. There are three staff assigned for most of the day, one of whom is a youth worker, who makes cookies and rents skates if there are no troublesome youth needing his attention.

The stairs that were added in 2006, to give a more direct access to the rink from the parking lot, have been barricaded (with locks) for the winter. The sign says "no winter maintenance." Indeed, the staff often missed shovelling the steps after a snowfall. The zamboni fills and drains directly from the compressor room right by the walkway. So people can slip and fall on the ice left there by the frozen water. After all these years, a water line was never added to the zamboni garage that's located at the other side of the rink. It's easier to make people walk the long way around or slide down the steep berm to get into the rink, than to fix the problem of a missing water line.

The incentive to take care of making the rink work better is very slight since the proposed development plans for the Galleria Mall and the park call for the Community Centre and rink to be demolished and relocated at the west side of the property.


Saturday noon: not many skaters yet

big MLSE sign for painting change room

new second-hand stove has an oven that works

loaner skates
 

2016 - 2017

March 23, 2017

Galleria development, single pad rink at the back?

Maybe it doesn't much matter if Wallace Rink is malfunctioning. The whole community centre and the rink are planned to be torn down and replaced by the developer who is building a high-rise settlement at the site of the Galleria Mall.

Comment from blogger: They are shoving the community centre to the back of the property. What guarantee do we have that it will be as good as or better than what exists now? And what about all the money the City just spent to renovate the existing Centre? Is the developer is in charge of the design or the City?


 
March 15, 2017: Response from Jutta (CELOS) to Parks manager Peter White

Thanks Peter.

The information that you repeat in this email is not quite accurate, as you will see in my earlier e-mail to the councillor. I have re-posted the excerpt at the bottom of this email. I understand that you may not have had a chance to read the original since as citywide manager you are very busy with many other tasks.

I therefore have to persist in my desire to see the log books for both rinks (Dufferin as a standard of comparison). The most time-saving way to do this would be to assign a technical staff person to go through the two books with me -- a task of perhaps an hour per rink, if the books are well-kept.

Your email does not address this request, also contained in my email to the councillor. My repeated attempts to find out -- as a longtime outdoor rink activist and a taxpayer -- what is the case at Wallace have been unsuccessful over several weeks. So I submitted a freedom of information request yesterday. I imagine that having your staff comply with this FOI request, or searching around to find reasons not to fulfil it -- will take longer than 2 hours and involve more people, therefore costing the city more money.

I am prepared to offer two hours of my unpaid time to reading through the log books. Do you agree that it would be a shortcut?

Jutta

Excerpt from my email to the councillor last week:

Your source tells you that the trouble showed up on Feb.18, but that's not the case.

On February 14, Wallace looked like this:


​At the same time, other parts of the rink were down to cement. Something was clearly very wrong. The high that day was 4 and the low was minus 7. All 48 city outdoor rinks were marked as open.

That warning event was not mentioned in your email. Also, the information your forwarded says the leisure pad was open all of Family Day weekend, but it was not. At 1 p.m.on Family Day Feb.20 there was a sign on the Wallace Rink house door saying it was closed. The compressors did not seems to be running, and the ice was clearly melting. You can see the photo on the cityrinks.ca website, and also at the bottom of this email. Both Campbell Rink and Dufferin Rink were open and filled with skaters at exactly the same time (Campbell had a successful event, lots of skaters).

And yet Wallace Rink has significantly greater compressor power than either of those rinks (200 Hp compared to 150 Hp at Dufferin and 100 Hp at Campbell). Also their cooling equipment is newer than either of them. It's important to find out why the compressors failed BEFORE the watermain problem, and warm temperatures are not a sufficient reason.

March 15, 2017, response from Parks manager Peter White

The rink log book indicates that Cimco checked the plant at 8:00am on Saturday February 18, 2016. The high temperature for that day was 14 degrees Celsius. On the afternoon of Sunday February 19, with a high temperature of 13 degrees Celsius, the On Call Supervisor was notified that the rink was melting. Cimco arrived on site between 2 and 4 pm and found that the compressors had tripped off due to a mechanical failure. At this point the compressors were restarted but not before the loss of a considerable amount of ice. While we do not know when the compressors failed, it is believed to have been on Saturday. The rink did reopen on February 20.

On February 22 there was a water main break on Dufferin St. Water service was shut off to the compressor room. Without a constant supply of water, the compressors cannot operate and they tripped off. With a temperature of 7 degrees Celsius, more ice was lost. On February 23, we were notified that the water main had been repaired. The high temperature for the day was 19 degrees Celsius and there was no longer any ice remaining on the pad as per the attached photo taken that day. The decision was made not to restart the rink.

The sign that you provided a photo of does not accurately identify the reason for the closure of the rink and probably should have indicated that there were mechanical issues. We have been working on providing more up to date and accurate information to the public through our website and on-site signage, and are committed to continually improving where we have fallen short.

It is our goal to maintain a consistent standard at all of our rinks. The events at Wallace Emerson should in no way be seen as relegation to "second class rink" status.

March 10, 2017

Telephone call with Councillor Bailao. She said they would get back to the rink management and see if they can let me see the maintenance log books, also inquire about the discrepancy between their explanations and our account. Said they would get back to me on Monday.

March 8, 2017, email forwarded from Councillor Bailao's office (originating from unidentified city staff)

On Saturday, Feb 18th on site staff advised that ice at Wallace Emerson AIR was melting and the compressors were not running - the outside temperature was 15 degrees.

This was immediately reported to CIMCO, our contract provider that services our equipment.

CIMCO attended the site and reported the compressors "had tripped off", due to an overload on the system. The compressors were restarted but the ice had significantly melted due to the intensity of the sun and high temperature. This resulted in temporary closure of Wallace Emerson AIR at 4:00 pm on February 18th.

Staff were able to reopen the rink for 9 am on February 19th. Due to the continued warm temperatures on this day (13 degrees), staff had a service alert issued for this location indicating the leisure pad was open, but the hockey side closed. This status continued throughout the weekend and up until February 22nd.

It is important to note, the warm temperatures on this weekend posed challenges at all of our rinks city wide resulting in various temporary closures and/or service alerts.

On Wednesday, February 22nd, there was a water main issue on Dufferin Street which resulted in the rink being closed on February 22nd and 23rd.

The plant cannot operate without water for two reasons:

1. The condenser outside uses water to cool the ammonia as part of the refrigeration process. Without it the compressors will "trip off" on high head pressure. This is evidenced by steam running off the tower when the equipment is operating. This is water evaporating and it constantly needs to be replenished.

2. Water is also used to control the cooling jackets in the compressors to keep the head temperatures stable. Again without water we "trip off" on high head pressure.

The combination of the warm temperatures and the mechanical issues caused the bond to break (ice separated from the pad and resulted in loss of ice at this location.

At this point, in order to re-open the rink, we would need to start from scratch, remove the remaining ice, and start all over attempting to make ice at night and maintain during the day in not ideal temperatures. This would take several days with optimal conditions.

Based on all the factors above, the rink was closed for the season on February 24th.

I appreciate the information regarding the signage information. I agree, it is not the correct information, as the issue involved several factors, not just weather related issues. I will speak with on-site staff regarding improving the signage and communication.

Staff made every effort to maintain the ice at this location, but the combined effects of the unseasonal high temperatures and water main issue at the time resulted in the loss of the bond. It is unfortunate this location had to close 3 weeks prior to planned, but we hope residents and users will continue to skate at nearby locations that are still operational.

Response from Jutta, March 8, 2017

Thank you for forwarding the staff's clarifications. It was interesting to read the course of events after the watermain problem on Feb.22. However, there are some errors in the timing before then.....

So here are two requests:

1. Could you ask your source to set up a time in the next week when I could study the rink maintenance logs (daily log books kept in all rink compressor rooms) for all three Ward 18 rinks? If your source would like to explain certain entries to me directly, that would be helpful, but if not, I can read them on my own. Please ask this question before the end of this week because, if the staff feel unsure about letting me see the log books less formally, I would like to request them through Freedom of Information on Monday, to get the 28-day FOI process started.

2. Could you ask Ana if we can have a 15-minute phone appointment to talk about Wallace Rink? That rink has been neglected far too often over the years and it's important not to let it happen again.

Feb.28, 2017

We called the councillor's office and also sent an email, to let them know that the explanation they got doesn't match with the dates. We also asked why staff posted a notice that's wrong. The councillor's office has sent out another inquiry to management.

Feb.27, e-mail response from City Councillor Ana Bailao's office:

The park supervisor provided the following information: “Wallace Emerson rink will be closed due to the water main break on Dufferin St on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. The Wallace Emerson Rec Centre, pool and rink was closed on those two days as well, The loss of water to the rink power plant has led to failure of the compressors which led to the loss of the ice on both rinks, with only a few weeks before shutting down for the season and the mild weather we are experiencing it will not be feasible to get the system up and running to make ice before the projected March 19 closing”

Feb.26, 2017

ice all gone before time

misleading information

There is a poster on the door of the rink, saying that the rink had to close for the season because of the warm weather. But that's nonsense -- something is wrong with the machinery. Staff say the rink has been having trouble above freezing for a while already. We've sent the councillor a letter asking what exactly is wrong.

Feb.24, 2017

This rink is now listed as "closed for the season," more than 3 weeks before the time scheduled.

Feb.22, 2017

According to the rec supervisor, on Saturday Feb.19, one of the rink's compressors tripped and was no longer running. The rink has since then been listed as "open on the pleasure-skating side, closed on the hockey side." But it wasn't functioning on either side. A pity -- this rink was completely rebuilt in 2006, at considerable cost -- too early for it to falter.

Then today one of the staff was cleaning the stove and noticed the water pressure was low. The custodian came and said they were closing the community centre including the pool because there were no showers and washrooms, on account of a water main break on Dufferin Street. There was soft and bumpy ice in the morning, but skateable. Then around 1 there was a lot of water on the ice, and after that the ice melted quite fast. In the afternoon two staff came to inspect the compressors, and said that "the water main break today caused the compressor to stop working." Shortly after, the rink was listed as closed due to mechanical issues.

But the rink has been working poorly for more than a week already.

Feb.20, 2017

Wallace Rink is unskateable today. It's warm and sunny, but both other Ward 18 rinks -- with equipment considerably older than that at Wallace -- are full of skaters.


February 20th -- compressors not working
 
Feb.14, 2017

One part of the ice is completely mushy and elsewhere the ice is so thin that you can see the cement. How can both problems co-exist? Maybe the compressors switched off. There is little communication among city staff, so maybe the tech services people just didn't tell the program staff.


Rink at 4 p.m. Feb.14, 2017 -- ice is a thick mush

another part of the rink at 4 p.m. - ice is too thin
 
Nov.22, 2016

rink is ready to go

The rink looks clean, the compressors are on, and the leftover rain water on the rinks is freezing at the edges.

 

2015 - 2016

March 10, 2016

This rink was scheduled to stay open until March 20, but it was closed for the season on March 10.

Feb.24, 2016

Two of the new 20 pairs of MLSE skates have disappeared, without any record of them even being lent out.

Feb.7 2016

new skates from an NHL PA donation

Feb.7: helmet box unlocked as before

A month after cityrinks sounded the alarm bell about the sorry state of the rental skates, the supervisor has brought in twenty new pairs of skates. He says they're a gift from the NHL Players' Association. On Feb.3 they were spray-painted, and soon they will be sharpened, although how they will be stored is not clear yet.

The odd helmet collection now has a lock on the box, and a sign saying to sign out helmets with staff. However, few staff have been informed of the new locked-box idea, and so it stays unlocked.

 
January 31, 2016

At 3 pm it looks like it will rain soon, and there are fewer people at the rink than on a sunny Sunday. It interesting to see that the skate aids seem to have an organizing function on the ice -- people meet and chat over and around them.


little areas of sociability form around skate-aids

back entrance to the rink -- nobody's responsibility

The back stairway is muddy and full of trash again. An orphan. Too bad -- it's still much used even when the cement stairs are open, because the back stairs are closer to the parking lot. People must be just used to it, wandering through trash into city facilities. It's not that staff try to keep things clean where they are -- it's just that their turf is strictly delimited (indoors, or just outside the door, but not along the path where people arrive), and there's no overall concept.

January 29, 2016

mid-day tangle in the skate room

1 p.m. The skate room/kitchen are in a tangle. It looks like days of postponed cleaning up. The skate shelves are not in good order, and every bit of counter space in the kitchen area seems to have precariously balanced stuff on it, stacked bowls or papers or extra skates etc.

8.45 p.m. The earlier mess inside the kitchen area has been all cleaned up, the skates are standing straight on the skate shelves. Two staff and some friends are laying out tarot cards at the cafe serving counter, and inside the skate room another staff is lying face down on a change room bench that's been moved inside, with several friends sitting nearby. I ask if there's been an injury but am told, the staff is just "on break." Staff say that the police have been coming by ever since a woman came to the rink a few days back and threatened someone with a hatchet. Now that police are patrolling, say the staff, families are returning to the rink.

The scene looks mellow and sociable -- the problem is, the social group is small, consisting of staff and their friends. The sociability is halfway there -- now it needs to shift its focus to rink users who are not necessarily the staff's friends, and not necessarily youth. Even so, the mood is rather sweet.

January 27, 2016

damaged skate is the last size 7

New helmets have appeared in the helmet bin. Before there were none, now there are nine, five CSA helmets (but one of them without straps) and four non-CSA helmets. Despite the fact that the last bunch all disappeared, these new helmets are still out in the change room with no lock on the box. The staff is sharpening a size seven figure skate that has a crack right across the ankle, but he says he doesn't want to throw it out because that's the last size seven skate. Some new skates are rumoured to be on the way.


new helmets have appeared

skate bin still unlocked
 
January 26, 2016

Now that the gate has finally been unlocked, roof work has started at the very corner that was supposed to be a risk. It's going to last a few days, but no problem. That suggests the gate barred the stairs for no reason, all these weeks.


cherry picker for working on the roof corner

so many skate aids
 
January 22, 2016

Jan.22, 2016: stairway no longer blocked off

Sometime in the past four days, the cement rink stairs were finally reopened. Excellent. Now let's see if the path to the wooden stairs can be cleaned up and staff can be assigned to clear it when it snows. And the long-overdue of addition of water-heaters to the zamboni garage would solve the problem of people falling on the zamboni leakage where the drivers have to fill up, right beside the rink.

Interestingly, this rink has 21 skate aids (compare: city hall has four). The rink could be an interesting lending depot for rinks that have events and have no skate aids.

 
January 16, 2016

six weeks after the season started, access to the rink stairs is still locked

so skaters come in by this cow path

the path is either icy or muddy or both, depending on the temperature....

a u-turn at the end of the fence leads to an uncleared step-down

sign: "no winter maintenance of walkway and stairs"

no maintenance indeed, garbage stays where it is

and at the bottom of the stairs there's ice from the zamboni

so skaters come down the steep hill instead

small wonder the rink is often short of skaters
 
January 3,2016

10.15 pm Dec.23: ice is fine, but officially closed

It's time to take a look at the Wallace skate lending program.

Dec.23 2015

The city has closed all rinks because of warm weather, but some can't be closed because they have no fence around them, e.g. the pond-shaped pleasure-skating pad at Wallace Rink. At 10.15 pm, three kids are playing shinny hockey on the ice. The ice is solid and smooth.

 
Dec.13 2015

December 13, 3.30 p.m., boys hanging out at the side as usual

main rink stairs are still out of commission

access still barred from the top

to get there, a muddy path and an illegal step-down...

...to some rather nice wooden steps built by city carpenters

but that's where the zamboni has to fill with water...

...new garage in 2010, but it got no water nor gas

So skaters have to pick their way around the zamboni, which spills water as it's filled, and the water freezes on top of the walkway, and people fall. Last year the wooden stairway was blocked to prevent people from falling on that icy patch, but this year, with no access to the main stairs, that would mean no access from the parking lot without going all the way around the rink.

BUT: for skaters who make it to the rink, there is some good food, selling cheap, and loaner skates as well:


apples, squash soup and samosas

loaner skates for $2
 
Dec.11, 2015

warm spell puts water on top of ice

warning sign, but the other stairway is blocked off
 
Nov.29 2015

rink guards (retro-reflective) companionably chatting

On this second day of the season, the rink looks considerably better -- good thing, since their compressors have lots of power and all they needed was more water. At 5 pm the lights are not on, although it's getting dark. None of the staff have the key to change the lights-timers, but eventually someone will come along, no doubt.

 
Nov.28, 2015

first skaters -- maybe six

ice is rough

main stairs to rink blocked off because...

...the roof is being redone

old solar panels being replaced with a normal roof

Last year the wooden stairs were blocked off for being dangerous. This year the wooden stairs are the only way to get to the rink from the parking lot, because the concrete stairs are blocked off. The roof is being replaced above the swimming pool -- yet another attempt to get the pool to function right. That's the third all-season pool closure in the last few years. This building was designed as a very forward-thinking structure in 1983, but nothing has worked out as was hoped.

 

Diary 2013-2014

Feb.21, 2014

The rink is marked as open but in fact there are about 3 inches of water on the hockey side after last night's rain, now sunshine and above freezing. There has been ice maintenance to take off soem of the watwr but there's lots left.

Feb.20 2014

For much of this rink season, maintenance has been sketchy during the daytimes. The caretaking staff from the community centre, who is supposed to do daytime ice maintenance, is just now starting his zamboni training -- three days before the end of the the season.

Dec. 15 2013

S.B. writes:

I walked by Wallace this morning. There was a Zamboni and plough at the rink. The Zamboni had already cleared a lot of the hockey pad. The changeroom was open and a recreation staff person was working.

Dec.13 2013

A man in his mid 40s to 50, tidy grey beard, physically fit, went ballistic on a group of kids. He threatened to smash one of the youths' faces into the boards when the youth gave the staff some push back (when it was time to start the 18 and over age group). The man then hit the staff with his hockey stick.

He seemed to be looking for trouble from the start, like he had something to prove. Said "same old story" several times after he was asked to leave.

 
 

Rink Diary 2012-2013
January 2012
Diary 2011 - 2012
Diary January 2011
Diary 2010 - 2011
Diary 2009 - 2010
Diary 2007 - 2008
Diary 2006 - 2007
Diary 2005 - 2006
Diary 2004 - 2005

Archives from Wallace Website

 

To read previous diaries click on the Diaries tab


To see the (2007-2008) report card, click here

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