Comments?

skating@dufferinpark.ca


For the basics, see
- Website & Privacy Policies
- How To Get Involved
- The Role of the Park

Search options:

up to a month to index new postings
Google
Skating
dufferinpark.ca
web search

Search Skating:
local & up to date but simpler
See Search Page

Department Site Map

Custodians:
News 2008-2009

Latest News 2008-2009

From the March 2009 Newsletter:

RINK NEWS Dufferin Rink closed for the season on March 6…. …and so did all the other neighbourhood outdoor rinks whose season had been extended into March. Too many warm days, and too many rainy days – on March 5 it was 16 celsius and when that strong March sun came out, the rinks turned into ponds.

City Hall Rink at Nathan Phillips Square is still open until March 15, and Harbourfront Rink plans to keep its ice in until the end of March Break (March 22).

CITYRINKS.CA

Is a website about all the city’s compressor-cooled outdoor rinks (49 of them – Toronto has more than any other city in the world). The website is not run by the City but by CELOS, (CEntre for LOcal research into public Space, pronounced “see-loss”), the little research group that got its start at Dufferin Grove Park in 2003.

The cityrinks.ca home page lists the fourteen rinks that are scheduled to remain open until mid-March, with links to their google maps and contact information. The website also has “rink diaries” covering the whole rink season, with lots of stories, and pictures of many outdoor rinks all over the city. And then there are the posted accounts of the various ice maintenance intrigues, the ice-and-sunshine cliffhangers, the short-lived triumphs, the one-step-forward-two-steps-back tempo of negotiations (if any) with rink management, the unexpected plot twists.

Here’s one such plot twist. For about ten years, some rink friends have tried to persuade the City’s outdoor rink management to open the rinks earlier, during the weak-sun days of mid-November, and close them when the sun gets high and strong at the end of February. This would be a shift in the season to correspond with the angle of the sun – basically a return to the rink season that used to be the norm.

This idea couldn’t find any friends at City Hall. Then about a year ago, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong got interested in it, and began trying to gain support for a citywide rink season shift from his councillor colleagues. No luck last year, so he tried again in December, asking for a staff report on how much it would cost to open fourteen rinks on November 21 this coming November (2009).

The staff report was very unfavourable to the idea. And a cityrinks.ca deputation at the Community Development and Recreation Committee, in favour of the earlier opening, got nowhere. The earlier-opening hope seemed dead until at least November 2010.

Then late one evening a couple of weeks ago, Jutta Mason got an e-mail from Councillor Minnan-Wong. City Council was meeting very late that night (until 2 a.m.!), to discuss the City budget, and the councillor wrote that he had managed to get the earlier opening date back onto the agenda. Not only that, but the tired councillors who were still in attendance voted 17 yes to 15 no! (Councillor Adam Giambrone says he was one of the “yes” votes.) So the earlier-opening resolution was snuck in again and passed.

Councillor Janet Davis, chair of the Recreation Committee, was quoted in the Toronto Sun the next day, saying that there is no money to do this, and that if the earlier opening went ahead next season, either our taxes would have to go up, or programs would have to be cut. City staff had estimated the cost at an extra $172,000 for the two weeks. But that doesn’t fit with the numbers that citryinks.ca shows:

CITYRINKS.CA COST CALCULATION FOR OPENING 14 RINKS ON NOV. 21 2009:

If the 14 designated rinks open on Nov.21, that means: Number of these rinks opening on time in 2009: 1 (City Hall Rink: scheduled for Nov.21)
Number of these rinks opening 1 week early in 2009: 5 (West Mall, Mel Lastman, Albert Campbell, Dufferin, and Rennie: already scheduled to open Nov. 28)
Number of these rinks opening 2 weeks early in 2009: 8 (Hodgson, Broadlands, Glen Long, Irving Chapley, Kew, Regent South, Sir Adam Beck, Sunnydale: scheduled for Dec.5.)

Broadlands, Glen Long, and Irving Chapley rinks are in North York. Rinks there have their own caretaker-zamboni operator, on-site anyway. The extra wage cost for those three NY rinks is therefore: $0 The minimum ice maintenance standard accepted by Parks for 9 central-Toronto major single pads for the whole of the past rink season was: 1-2 times in 24 hours.

The number of full-time Parks lead hands that have ice maintenance as part of their job description is: 59. If lead hands spend 1 hour of every workday between Nov.21-Dec.5 resurfacing a rink, with each rink being resurfaced twice a day, they could easily fit this into their other work (i.e. putting the parks “to bed” for the season). The additional staff cost to resurface outdoor rinks for the 1-2 extra weeks: 0.

That calculation would bring the earlier-opening cost closer to $80,000 (to power the rink compressors). That’s less than half the staff report’s estimate.

Those numbers were sent to Councillor Janet Davis, but there was no response. So City Council may still reverse its earlier vote and go back to the late-opening schedule. Stay tuned, at cityrinks.ca….

From the February 2009 Newsletter:

GENERAL RINK INFORMATION

Rink clubhouse: open Monday to Sunday: 9:00am - 9:00pm
Zamboni Café: Monday-Sunday 10:00am - 8:30pm

Shinny hockey: same hours as the rink clubhouse except Sundays. There is a (strictly enforced) age schedule. From rink staff: “If you ever see the wrong age group on the shinny ice, do us a favour and notify the rink staff right away.”
Pleasure-skating: always freely available. After 9:00pm, skating is unsupervised. Then it's like skating on a pond: it’s mostly shinny hockey, and people are responsible for their own use of the rink.

The large rink lights turn off after 11:00pm, and then the rink is locked.
Parking: One good place to park is at Dufferin Mall across the street. After 5 pm. there’s lots of parking across from St.Mary’s School at the north end of the park too.

Rink contacts: 416 392-0913 or staff@dufferinpark.ca. The rink phone message will tell you the current ice skating conditions.

IN THE EVENT OF SNOW, IF RINK USERS HELP STAFF IN CLEARING THE ICE, THE RINK OPENS FASTER. THERE ARE LOTS OF SHOVELS, OR BRING YOURS FROM HOME.

From the February 2009 Newsletter:

Fourth Annual WOMEN OF WINTER SHINNY HOCKEY TOURNAMENT

Friday February 6 and Saturday February 7, 2009. Organized by Deirdre Norman, this very popular tournament is already fully registered, so it’s too late to join as a player – but it’s great fun to watch. The pleasure-skating pad is open for public skating during the tournament. Spectators can skate and cheer at the same time. Times: first game is at 7 pm Friday. The games go all day Saturday, with the championship game at 6 pm. This means that regular shinny hockey is cancelled but the pleasure-skating pad is open for public use (and for watching the tournament through the fence).

From the February 2009 Newsletter:

12:30pm-2pm Open Beginner-Skating Games with Eroca

Free, drop-in, no registration needed: A great chance for kids who are learning to skate, to practice their skills while a having at fun at the same time. Parents are welcome to join in too. (Important note: The skating games should not be treated as childcare, parents are still responsible for their kids.)

From the February 2009 Newsletter:

Drop-in learn-to-skate, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays

Skating classes are not as common as they used to be at City facilities, but lots of people are learning to skate in the old way, with a chair or a friend or a fence to cling to at first. It’s nice to get a few pointers from a good skater sometimes, and so there’s an assigned rink helper at Dufferin Rink as a resource on Wednesdays from 4.30 -6.30, Fridays 4-7, and Saturdays 10 to 1. The helper can be spotted because of the orange fluorescent vest – just go up to that skater and ask for help. Sometimes they go inside to warm up for a few minutes – if there’s no helper on the ice, ask at the snack bar, and they’ll be glad to come out and help.

From the February 2009 Newsletter:

OUTDOOR RINK MEETING WITH COUNCILLOR JANET DAVIS: she says yes, but no date yet.

The cityrinks.ca website has posted a letter that CELOS sent recently to Councillor Janet Davis. She’s the new head of City Council’s “Community Development and Recreation Committee”, which oversees the outdoor rinks (among many other things). The letter outlined some rink issues that need to be addressed, and asked Councillor Davis for a meeting. She didn’t respond at first, but after many rink users e-mailed her, backing the cityrinks.ca request, she agreed to meet. She said she couldn’t meet at a rink – not enough time. (Councillor Davis is also on the Executive Committee, a kind of cabinet for the Mayor.) No meeting time has been set yet, either. This is a difficult world where the councillors have no time to attend to the rinks whose oversight is one of their (many) tasks. They are swamped. What is the alternative?

On January 12, City Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong proposed to Council’s Community Development and Recreation Committee that the city’s outdoor rinks be opened two weeks earlier next winter. This is something rink friends have been requesting for ten years, so it was time to make a deputation, in favour.

From the January 2009 Newsletter:

PUPPETS ON ICE

Sunday February 1 from 1 to 4 pm

From Clay and Paper director David Anderson: “As in other years, a mob of puppets will descend on the skating rink at Dufferin Grove Park. Come take one of our puppets for a spin around the ice while a DJ plays some cool tunes.

We will be holding puppet-building workshops during the 2 weeks before he event. Everyone is welcome to join our puppet building throng! No prior experience necessary. We will even introduce you to the Zen of the Creetch (that's secret puppet talk). To join with this discreet band of builders, please email Cat at camcleod_claypaper@sympatico.ca and she'll let you know where and when the workshops will be happening.

We also need volunteers for the event, so if you can help out on February 1, please email krista_dalby@hotmail.com.

Fourth Annual WOMEN OF WINTER SHINNY HOCKEY TOURNAMENT

Friday February 6 and Saturday February 7, 2009. This very popular tournament is already fully registered, so it’s too late to join as a player – but it’s great fun to watch. There will be good snacks to keep up your cheering strength, including hot dogs but, sorry, no beer, Dufferin Rink is not the Air Canada Centre. The pleasure-skating pad is open for public skating during the tournament. Spectators can skate and cheer at the same time.

Saturday February 21, 6 pm to 10 pm: The annual bike couriers’ BIKE RACES ON ICE.

This tournament will once again have the initial elimination rounds on the hockey side only, followed by a two-rink final that can be very exciting, and occasionally a bit bloody, if there’s a collision – the bike tires have many little studs in them. This event is just as much fun inside the rink house, with a corner set up as a pit-stop bike repair station, and lots of unusual bikes (and unusual cyclists).

CITYRINKS.CA WEBSITE

This is a website run by CELOS, giving information about all 49 municipal outdoor ice rinks, plus Harbourfront Rink. The site has maps, hours, schedules, phone numbers, ratings, and stormy-weather updates. It also has blogs about the individual rinks, with contributions from skaters. For information or comments: mail@cityrinks.ca.

Toronto has more outdoor compressor-cooled ice rinks than any city in the world. It’s the free outdoor-ice-skating capital of Canada! It makes sense to run these rinks better, and to get the word out to skaters sooner. Until the City’s information sources improve, cityrinks.ca is available. Response time to a rink user e-mail varies from half an hour to two days, and there’s as much follow-up as the rink user asks for.

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 cityrinks.ca 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! Cityrinks.ca is putting together a list of rinks that are far away from houses, soon to be posted on the home page.

WHY THE DUFFERIN RINKHOUSE IS SOMETIMES TOO CROWDED

In early January, on a cold, cloudy Saturday after the holidays had ended, the rink house was so full of people changing into skates or eating Mary’s Sylwester’s lentil soup, that there was not one more place to sit. Outside, most of the benches were full too. It’s no fun having no place to sit. The City of Toronto owns more outdoor compressor-cooled ice rinks than any city in the world, 49 of them – so why is this one sometimes so crowded?

The answer is easy, everybody knows why. It’s crowded because of the skate rentals, the zamboni café, the woodstove with the rack for drying mittens, the double pad of (mostly) good ice, and the great rink staff who run the entire operation, including zamboni-guarding, shovelling snow, applying band-aids, and keeping the see-and-be-seen youth crowd in line. Dufferin Rink is not heaven, but it’s a very nice place to go.

A couple of years ago, the Dufferin Rink staff asked Tino DeCastro (recreation supervisor) if they could start doing the same kind of work at Wallace Rink. He said yes. With City Councillor Adam Giambrone’s help, the rink change room was redesigned with some big sunny windows. The rink staff added better enforcement of the code of conduct, plus skate rentals, snacks, kids’ books, and weekend campfires. Now Wallace Rink is a very popular place too. When Wallace Rink finally gets good ice maintenance (hopefully very soon), it may get too crowded at times, just like Dufferin Rink.

It would be nice if this kind of thing were contagious, spreading to a few more neighbourhood rinks, to reduce the crowding.

CELOS JANUARY LIST of outdoor rink facts

This list is inspired by the "Harper's Index," a monthly list of surprising numbers published by Harper's Magazine. Our numbers show surprising, sometimes downright astonishing facts about Toronto's outdoor rinks.

- Rink with the best view: Prince of Wales (Lakeshore and Third Street)
- Rink with the best ice in any weather (sun, rain, or snow): Rennie
- Rink with the best food: Dufferin
- Total hours of ice maintenance staffing at each Etobicoke single-pad outdoor hockey rink, per week..... 72 to 112 hours
- Total hours of ice maintenance staffing at each North York single-pad outdoor hockey rink, per week: 112 hours
- Total hours of ice maintenance staffing at 10 out of 11 Central-Toronto single-pad outdoor
hockey rinks, per week: 7 to 21 hours
- Total hours of ice maintenance staffing per day at 12 of the city’s 13 double-pad outdoor ice rinks: 14
- Total hours of ice maintenance staffing at Wallace double-pad outdoor ice rink for the entire month of December: 28
- Hourly wages of outdoor rink maintenance staff (work with ice resurfacing vehicles): $23/hour (for 24 staff) and $27/hour (for 73 staff)
- Hourly wages of outdoor rink program staff (work with skaters): $9 mostly, a few at $16.
- Number of rinks that have posted mandatory helmet laws for shinny hockey: 49
- Number of rinks that do consistent helmet enforcement according to the posted rules: 2
- Number of rink-injury legal claims against the city since the beginning of amalgamated information collection (1998): 2
- Number of rink-injury legal claims involving an outdoor rink: 0
- Number of rink-injury claims relating to helmets: 0
- City-estimated “direct costs” of running the outdoor rinks for three months: $3.7 million
- City-estimated “full costs” of outdoor rinks, counting associated parks and recreation costs (including administration and strategic planning): $5.7 million
- City-estimated costs of outdoor rinks, counting all associated City staffing and infrastructure costs: $12 million
- Number of City-owned outdoor rink pads with hockey boards: 33
- Number of City outdoor rinks with hockey boards that offer less than 10 hours a week of free public shinny time at prime time (after 4 on weekdays, all day on weekends): 8
- Number of City outdoor hockey rinks that offer more than 25 hours a week of free public shinny time at prime time (after 4 on weekdays, all day on weekends): 16
- City’s “full cost recovery” target for outdoor rink permit/ registration revenue, per season: $3.3 – $4 million *
- What that target permit/registration income translates into per rink: a revenue target of $100,000 to $121,000 per season, that's $1190 to $1440 per day
- City outdoor rink revenue from permits, at the current highest-earning rink (West Mall): $20,000 per season, that's $238 per day
- Number of City-owned rinks with City-owned kitchen facilities within 20 meters: 13
- Number of City-owned rinks that use these facilities to run a daily snack bar: 2


-*The Management Services Director of Parks, Forestry and Recreation, Ann Ulusoy, has offered to sit down with CELOS sometime, and explain how they calculated their rink costs recovery numbers

CHRISTIE RINK SKATE RENTAL AND SNACK BAR: NOT THIS YEAR

Dufferin Rink staff, working on the principle of making good use of existing city assets, got involved with running Christie Rink this year. But it was tricky from the beginning. The week before the rink was set to open, an order came from downtown advising the removal of the rink wood stove on the grounds that (1) wood stoves in public buildings are against the fire code and (2) permission for installation had not been properly granted. Since neither of those reasons turned out to be correct, the wood stove was allowed to stay. But problems continued. Dufferin Rink staff had worked with CELOS and the Women of Winter Tournament to assemble a Christie rental skate collection. But it turned out that the Christie/Trinity Recreation supervisor was not happy with rink staff handling cash, so the $2 skate rental times were limited to two hours a week. That left out even the daytime school groups. The same limitation prevented the use of Christie Rink’s kitchen for more than two hours a week. Doing a healthy-snacks rink café, to bring in more families and school classes and improve the week-night youth scene, takes more than two hours a week. Too many blocks! Too bad. So “making good use of city assets,” including unused existing kitchens (and under-used existing staff expertise) will have to wait for another season.

BEGINNER SHINNY

Sunday Nights From 9:30pm - 11:00pm Level One Beginner Shinny Drop-in: Are you a wannabe shinny hockey player, but just starting to get the hang of it? Dufferin Rink offers an hour of protected drop-in shinny hockey time, Sunday nights from 9:30pm - 11:00pm. None of the Dufferin Rink hot shots are allowed on the ice during that time. No need to register, and it's free, with a staff resource person on the ice who will pass to you, help you with drills, and give you pointers if you want. Or you can just practice as you choose. Space is limited each night to 30 players, and is on a first come first serve basis. For more information, e-mail outdoor.shinny@gmail.com or call the park at 416 392-0913. Ask for Dan.

Also: Wednesday Nights From 10:00pm - 11:00pm Level One Beginner Shinny Skills Program: skills practice, and protected shinny hockey time for beginner skaters, A resource person will be there to help you improve your skills through exercises, drills and organized games. This program is for those who are new to skating. It's a free registered program. Space is limited. For more information or to sign up e-mail outdoor.shinny@gmail.com, or call 416 392-0913. Ask for Dan.

SKATE, STICK AND GLOVE RENTAL

$2 for skates, $1 for a stick and gloves. You need photo I.D. or (for kids) a membership card after your parents fil out the form.

HOW THE OUTDOOR RINKS ARE WORKING (AND WHAT NEEDS FIXING!)

Dufferin Rink is one of a cluster of three neighborhood rinks. The other two are Wallace Rink at Dufferin and Dupont, and Campbell Rink at Wallace and Campbell Avenues. This season so far, Dufferin Rink has had quite good ice maintenance, but both Wallace and Campbell have had trouble. Here’s the story in brief. There are two classes of city outdoor rink staff:

  1. The staff who work with skaters directly (“program staff”) are part-time temporary recreation staff, in CUPE Union Local 79. They earn between $9 (mostly) up to (rarely) $16 per hour, plus 15% benefits. As part of their contract they are not allowed to operate any ice maintenance equipment except for snow shovels.
  2. The staff who operate ice maintenance equipment – zambonis and snowplows – are full-time permanent Parks workers, CUPE Union Local 416, and they earn between $23 (24 staff) and $27 (59 staff) per hour plus 24% benefits.

The two staff groups have separate supervisors and they work independently. For example, the program staff at Wallace and Campbell rinks rarely know when an ice maintenance crew is scheduled to arrive there – it’s usually a surprise (or a disappointment, if they don’t come at all). In December, on almost half the days, the ”flying squad” only made it to those rinks once a day, and on six days not at all.

The “flying squads” drive a zamboni around in a truck and trailer from rink to rink. Not all rinks are maintained by flying squads, though – only some of the single-pad rinks, plus Wallace Rink, are maintained that way. (Wallace is the only one of Toronto’s twelve double rinks that doesn’t have its own equipment and maintenance operator).

The City spends around $4 million per season (not $160,000 a month, as the media story claimed last year) in direct costs to run the outdoor rinks, so there's lots of funding allocated. So how does a rink end up with the more unreliable “flying squad” status? Here’s how: a couple of years ago somebody downgraded 10 of the 11 Central-Toronto single-pad rinks to "minor" rinks. Although that may have made sense on a computer screen, the 9 single-pad rinks of the same size and type in Etobicoke and North York are rated as "major" rinks. On the ground, that means that these 9 Etobicoke and North York single-pad rinks have on-site ice re-surfacing operators for 72 - 112 hours a week, and on-site ice maintenance equipment (snowplows and ice resurfacers). In contrast, the 10 Central-Toronto single-pad rinks (for instance, Campbell or Trinity Rinks) have ice maintenance staff at the rinks for 7 - 21 hours a week, and no on-site equipment. The travelling ice resurfacers for the flying crew are often broken and snowplows seem to be in short supply.

This remarkably uneven distribution of staff and equipment doesn’t necessarily mean that all the better-maintained rinks have more skating for their neighbourhoods. In fact, most of those rinks have far less public skating time. North York’s neighbourhood outdoor hockey rinks were locked all day on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The public skating hours for both Etobicoke and North York outdoor rinks are less than a quarter of those in Central Toronto. A mystery? Indeed. There’s more information – quite a bit of it – on cityrinks.ca. And Councillor Adam Giambrone says he will meet to discuss Wallace and Campbell Rinks with City outdoor rinks manager Kevin Bowser, who’s on holiday to Jan.19. Hopefully other councillors will also find out more.

INJURIES AT RINKS

Shinny hockey is a different game than full-equipment, full-contact hockey. In shinny hockey there is no checking, and no slapshots. It appears that there have never been any shinny hockey injury claims, nor pleasure-skating injury claims, against the City. The two rink-related claims have been for full-equipment hockey in arenas (one body-check, one fight).

Ice is slippery, for sure, and hospital emergency rooms get lots of people with ice-related broken bones and head bumps. Most of those injuries are not from rinks, though – they’re from ice on sidewalks. Should people wear helmets and padding when they go out on the sidewalks in Toronto in the winter? It might not be a bad idea…..

From the December 2008 Newsletter:

Rink News

GENERAL RINK INFORMATION

Rink clubhouse: open Monday to Sunday: 9:00am - 9:00pm
Zamboni Café : Monday-Sunday 10:00am - 8:30pm ''' Shinny hockey:' same hours as the rink clubhouse except Sundays. There is a (strictly enforced) age schedule. From rink staff: If you ever see the wrong age group on the shinny ice, do us a favor and notify the rink staff right away.''

Pleasure-skating: always freely available. After 9:00pm, skating is unsupervised. Then it's like skating on a pond: shinny hockey and pleasure-skating are sometimes happening at the same time and people are responsible for their own use of the rink.

The large rink lights turn off after 11:00pm, and then the rink is locked.

Parking: One good place to park is at Dufferin Mall across the street. After 5 pm. there’s lots of parking across from St.Mary’s School at the north end of the park too.

Rink contacts: 416 392-0913 or staff@dufferinpark.ca. The rink phone message will tell you the current ice skating conditions.

IN THE EVENT OF SNOW, IF RINK USERS HELP STAFF IN CLEARING THE ICE, THE RINK OPENS FASTER. THERE ARE LOTS OF SHOVELS, OR BRING YOURS FROM HOME.

CITYRINKS.CA WEBSITE

This is a website run by CELOS, giving information about all 49 municipal outdoor ice rinks, plus Harbourfront Rink. The site has maps, hours, schedules, phone numbers, ratings, and stormy-weather updates. It also has blogs about the individual rinks, with contributions from skaters. For information or comments: mail@cityrinks.ca.

The website was established because the City’s own website and its “rink hotline” (416 338-RINK) have had long-time problems in supplying up-to-date information. This year was tricky from the start: neither the “hotline” nor the website mentioned that City Hall Rink would be five days late in opening, and – conversely – when the Scarborough Civic Centre Rink had been open for 4 days, the “hotline” still had its March “the season is now closed” message. (City staff are trying to fix these problems.)

Toronto has more outdoor compressor-cooled ice rinks than any city in the world. It’s the free outdoor-ice-skating capital of Canada! It makes sense to run these rinks better, and to get the word out to skaters sooner. Until the City’s information sources change, cityrinks.ca is available. Response time to a rink user question varies from half an hour to two days, and there’s as much follow-up as the rink user wishes.

SPECIAL WINTER PROGRAMS

Sunday Nights From 9:30pm - 11:00pm Level One Beginner Shinny Drop-in: Are you a wannabe shinny hockey player, but just starting to get the hang of it? Dufferin Rink offers an hour of protected drop-in shinny hockey time, Sunday nights from 9:30pm - 11:00pm. None of the Dufferin Rink hot shots are allowed on the ice during that time. No need to register, and it's free, with a staff resource person on the ice who will pass to you, help you with drills, and give you pointers if you want. Or you can just practice as you choose. Space is limited each night to 30 players, and is on a first come first serve basis. For more information, e-mail outdoor.shinny@gmail.com or call the park at 416 392-0913. Ask for Dan.

Wednesday Nights From 10:00pm - 11:00pm Level One Beginner Shinny Skills Program: Are you new to skating, and want to try out the national game? Dufferin Rink offers skills practice and protected shinny hockey time for beginner skaters, Wednesday nights from 10:00pm - 11:00pm. None of the Dufferin Rink hot shots are allowed on the ice during that time. A resource person will be there to help you improve your skills through exercises, drills and organized games. This program is for those who are new to skating. It's a free registered program. Space is limited. For more information or to sign up e-mail outdoor.shinny@gmail.com, or call 416 392-0913. Ask for Dan.

Skating games instead of Skating Lessons: There are no skating classes at Dufferin Rink this year. Instead, Dufferin rink staff offer (free) organized “beginner skater” games on Saturday mornings. As well, on two early weekday evenings and on Sundays, rink attendants will be available on the ice to give help to kids and adults who are practicing their skating. There is no charge for this help – that’s what rink staff are there for. As always, learners can borrow chairs for support, and very little kids can have help from their parents, even if the parents are wearing shoes.

Youth “One-Off” Shinny Program, Saturday Night, 9 -11 pm. Local youth: get together a group of 12 or more and play shinny on the hockey pad. 9:00pm - 11:00pm. Contact Mayssan or Sarah at staff@dufferinpark.ca for more information. Free registered program, $50 deposit required - once you play, you get it back.

Shinny hockey and injuries
Shinny hockey is a different game than full-equipment, full-contact hockey. In shinny hockey there is no checking, and no slapshots. It appears that there have never been any shinny hockey injury claims against the City. The few rink-related claims have been for full-equipment hockey. Ice is slippery, for sure, and hospital emergency rooms get lots of people with fall-related broken bones. Most of those breaks are not from rinks, though – they’re from ice on sidewalks.

THE GOOD PATH STORY

For the second year, city plows have made a long, wide snow path through the park from north to south, connecting both dead ends of Gladstone. This year they also plowed the rink user path that allows skaters to get to the rink along the pleasure-skating pad, from the east. A great improvement to skaters having to pick their way through snowdrifts to get to the rink. Many rink users have expressed their appreciation.

From the November 2008 Newsletter:

INJURY RISK AT ICE RINKS

Rink staff have been concerned for some time that the youth who play shinny hockey at outdoor rinks are dwindling in numbers at many city rinks. The rinks that focus on strict helmet rule enforcement for shinny hockey (i.e. not Dufferin Rink) seem to be losing skaters, who may be opting to stay at home and be couch potatoes instead. But city management have said they are worried about liability risk to the City, if they don’t bar skaters from playing shinny without a helmet.

City staff say they’re unsure about the actual number of claims against the city as a result of rink injuries. So CELOS applied to the City’s Corporate Access and Privacy office (freedom of information) to track down that number. The response was very reassuring. The City’s Risk Management Section has records of only two ice-rink injury claims, and neither of them happened during shinny hockey. Both injuries were during a full-equipment, full-contact hockey game in arenas. One player got a broken leg as the result of a body-check in 2004, the other got an on-ice beating during an MTHL game in 1999, resulting in a broken nose. The broken leg claim seems not to have been settled yet, The on-ice beating victim asked for $1.1 million but settled for $12,000 (grounds for the lawsuit was that the referees didn’t intervene until very late).

In CELOS’ search for ice rink injury hospital data, two more relevant things turned up:

(1) after mandatory helmets were introduced for full-contact hockey programs, head injuries went down for some years. Then, in the past half dozen years, head injury rates began to climb steadily again, despite the helmets, and spinal cord injuries have also increased. Body-checking seems to be the main occasion when serious harm is done. Sports medicine doctors conjecture that as hockey players add more body armour, they feel more invincible.

(2) Canadian hospitals injury data show a lot of “falls-on-ice” injuries. But it turns out that most of the falls are not on rinks, they’re on sidewalk ice. Winter is a slippery time! (For more details about sports injuries and hospital data, go to the media link on the cityrinks.ca website.)

Shinny hockey is a different game than full-equipment, full-contact hockey. In shinny hockey there is no checking, and no slapshots. It appears that there have never been any shinny hockey injury claims against the City. If mandatory helmet rules are causing many youths to stop playing drop-in shinny hockey at the rinks, the harm done to physical fitness may be greater than the good in protecting against the risk of concussions. CELOS will continue to urge City management and Councillors to attend to this problem. For updates, see

From the November 2008 Newsletter:

DUFFERIN RINK OPENS FOR THE SEASON SATURDAY NOV.29

Ice-making begins on Nov.25. Wallace Rink and Campbell Rink, opening on Dec.6, will once again be our “sister” rinks, with shared staffing. Dufferin Rink staff will also be helping to run Christie Rink this year.

DUFFERIN RINK SCHEDULE: seven days a week The schedule for both shinny hockey and pleasure skating is mostly unchanged. The rink is open seven days a week including Christmas and New Year’s, from 9 a.m. until 9 pm. After 9pm there are permits or special programs on the shinny hockey side. The pleasure-skating side is unsupervised but open, meaning that it usually has a shinny hockey game with boots or backpacks as the goal markers. On Sundays there is only pleasure-skating, on both rink pads, until 5 pm, then programs begin on the shinny side.

The zamboni café will have tasty, nutritious food as before, with lots of soups, park oven bread, Sosnicki’s perogies from the farmers’ market, park cookies, hot chocolate, and so on. On weekends there will be more food but no sit-down suppers on Friday nights – too crowded.

As always, there will be a large collection of children’s books for taking a story break beside the woodstove. For mothers with babies who need to find a quiet spot when the rink gets too busy and noisy, there is a special chair in the corner of the women’s washroom, also supplied with some kids’ books for the baby’s little brother or sister. And there will always be mini-pizzas and chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.

SKATE RENTAL AT DUFFERIN RINK

Wednesday November 5 was a historic day: rink staff Dan Watson drove to Kingston to pick up – finally! – a brand new skate-sharpening machine. The park snack bar earned enough “cookie money” this year, that the rink could finally afford it. This season there will be no public skate-sharpening available – the machine is a manual sharpener and rink staff Dan Watson and Michael Monastyrskyj will be learning the art, practicing on the rental skates only. As they hone their skill, the rental skates should be consistently sharper than in previous years.

The rental fees remain the same: $2 to rent skates, $2 to rent a stick, $2 to rent gloves, and helmets are lent out for free. Thanks again to the NHL Players’ Association, for their wonderful gift of 50 pairs of skates, plus sticks, helmets and gloves, in 2004. That started us off, and having skates to rent out cheaply made it possible for so many more people to join the fun at the rink. Tibetan, Cuban, and Brazilian newcomers have been the most enthusiastic late starters for learning to skate. Whole families come down to the rink, and they all – sometimes including the grandparents – put on rental skates and helmets and slide around the ice.

SKATE RENTAL AT WALLACE RINK

The NHL Players’ Association has come through again: they have donated fifty pairs of brand new skates, sticks, and gloves to Wallace Rink, to augment the supplies the rink staff scraped together last year. This means that Wallace Rink will have a very well-equipped rental program this year, in addition to their weekly campfires and snack program.

WALLACE RINK TECHNICAL PROBLEM – NOT A PROBLEM AFTER ALL

Last March, after the rink closed for the season and the ice melted away, the Wallace BMX bike course was set up again. One night at the end of March, a fire broke out, burning two of the bike platforms. The Parks staff were concerned that the heat of the fire might have gone into the concrete and damaged the PVC brine pipes underneath. But Chris Gallop from Councillor Giambrone’s office checked into it, and sent back good news. "I'm told that at first there was an estimated 200 litres of missing fluid from the pipes (Glycol) and an assumption was made that there might have been a leak in the system. However, that quantity of fluid has since been found hiding in the compressor. Technical Services staff have been putting the system through its warm up checklist and at this point everything appears to be working fine.”

INSTEAD OF SKATING LESSONS

There will be no skating classes at Dufferin Rink this year. Instead, Dufferin rink staff will offer (free) organized “beginner skater” games on Saturday mornings. As well, on two early weekday evenings and on Sundays, rink attendants will be available on the ice to give help to kids and adults who are practicing their skating. There is no charge for this help – that’s what rink staff are there for.

As always, learners can borrow chairs for support, and very little kids can have help from their parents, even if the parents are wearing shoes.

LEARNING TO PLAY SHINNY HOCKEY: FOR ADULTS

Last rink season, Dan Watson’s beginner shinny sessions for adults were often packed. So this year Dan will add another session to accommodate the overflow. So far it looks like:
Sundays 9.30 to 11 pm at Dufferin Rink will be a free, supervised, drop-in shinny hockey time (no drills, just playing time). Level One Beginners only, please.
Tuesdays from 9 to 10.30 pm at Christie Pits Rink will be Level Two Beginners Shinny hockey time (including drills and a game, free, but registration needed)
Wednesdays from 10 to 11 pm at Dufferin Rink will be Level One Beginners shinny hockey time (including drills and a game, free, but registration needed),
Thursday evenings (time t.b.a.) at Wallace Rink, free drop-in Level One and Level Two Beginners shinny hockey (no registration, no drills) For more information, contact staff@dufferinpark.ca.

From the November 2008 Newsletter:

Saturday November 29 – Opening Day at Dufferin Rink, 9 a.m.

From the end of October on, there are frequent knocks at the door of Dufferin Rink clubhouse – kids are asking “when does the rink open?” They can’t wait. Occasionally the rink has opened a day early because the ice formed faster than expected. Even before most kids had their own cell phones, by some magic of telepathy it seemed that the ice had a shinny hockey game on it ten minutes after it opened – the joy of skating!

The first week is often very crowded because Dufferin Rink opens a week before the rest. For rink users who are frustrated by the first-week crowds, don’t forget that Harbourfront Rink opens November 15 and City Hall opens November 22 – so there are other places to skate outdoors if you’re eager to begin sooner. When the days are this short and the sun is so low and weak, compressor-cooled outdoor rinks can have good ice up to 15 degrees centigrade, especially if the sun isn’t shining.

The other city rinks will open on December 6. Dufferin Rink staff are also helping to run Wallace, Campbell, and Christie rinks this year – see the newsletter centerfold for more rink information, or go to http://cityrinks.ca.

From the October 2008 Newsletter:

DUFFERIN RINK OPENS FOR THE SEASON SATURDAY NOV.29

Dufferin Rink will open two days earlier than last year, and is scheduled to close on March 15. (See “timing of the rink season” on the next page.) Ice-making begins on Nov.25. Wallace Rink and Campbell Rink, opening on Dec.6, will once again be our “sister” rinks, with shared staffing.

DUFFERIN RINK SCHEDULE: seven days a week

The schedule for both shinny hockey and pleasure skating is mostly unchanged. The rink is open seven days a week including Christmas and New Year’s, from 9 a.m. until 9 pm. After 9pm there are permits or special programs on the shinny hockey side. The pleasure-skating side is unsupervised but open, meaning that it usually has a shinny hockey game with boots or backpacks as the goal markers. On Sundays there is only pleasure-skating, on both rink pads, until 5 pm, then programs begin on the shinny side.

The zamboni café will have tasty, nutritious food as before, with lots of soups, park oven bread, Sosnicki’s perogies from the farmers’ market, park cookies, hot chocolate, and so on. On weekends there will be more food but no sit-down suppers on Friday nights – too crowded.

As always, there will be a large collection of children’s books for taking a story break beside the woodstove. For mothers with babies who need to find a quiet spot when the rink gets too busy and noisy, there is a special chair in the corner of the women’s washroom, also supplied with some kids’ books for the baby’s little brother or sister. And there will always be mini-pizzas and chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.

WALLACE RINK TECHNICAL PROBLEM MAY DELAY OPENING

Last March after the rink closed fro the season and the ice melted away, the Wallace BMX bike course was set up again. One night at the end of March, a fire broke out, burning two of the bike platforms. The Parks staff were concerned that the heat of the fire might have gone into the concrete and damaged the PVC brine pipes underneath, so they had the brine pressure checked. Sure enough, the pressure was too low. Nothing seems to have been done to follow up until another check in September, which showed even lower pressure. The cause is not clear, since there were other problems with the rink, unrelated to the fire. A concrete slab was improperly positioned over the trench between the two rinks, so that raccoons could (and did) get into the trench during the summer. A large pipe in that trench now has a slash in it, and workers have removed the slab covers and erected a safety barrier. But no work is being done yet, and time is getting short. CELOS will be monitoring the rink daily and posting progress reports on the cityrinks website.

The timing of the rink season

Most city outdoor rinks (except Dufferin, Rennie, and the city square rinks) will not open until December 6. But fourteen outdoor rinks are set to stay open until March 15.

Last March there was a media storm about most outdoor rinks shutting down before March break (the Toronto Sun ran a headline: “Pink Finks Sink Rinks”). It looks like the bad press has led Parks management to make an expensive decision for this rink season. Running outdoor rinks in March, when the angle of the sun is already so high, is very costly, as well as being hard on the rink compressors.

For almost ten years, rink friends have been recommending to the City that they open the outdoor rinks in mid-November (very low sun) and close them at the end of February, as was the practice for decades before amalgamation. For the last four years, CELOS (the little parks-related research organization) has been graphing the daily temperature and the angle of the sun during the rinks season, and their effects on ice quality and compressor energy-use at the rinks. The CELOS graphs show why a forward shift in the rink season would save on energy costs, give more days of good ice, and be more popular with skaters.

Two years ago, CELOS, working with rink friends and various on-site rink staff, published a detailed report on all 50 city outdoor rinks, complete with rankings, and suggestions for inexpensive improvements. Since then, rink friends have tried to present that report to the Parks Committee of City Council, but no luck so far – the CELOS spot on the agenda was always postponed until the rink season was over.

This November, the City Council audit committee’s report about the dire state of City finances will once again hit the media. Perhaps this is the year when the councillors will finally consider what rink friends and CELOS have been trying to tell them. For more information, go to www.cityrinks.ca.

From the October 2008 Newsletter:

SKATE RENTAL AT DUFFERIN RINK

There was enough “cookie money” earned from park snack bars that this year the rink could finally afford to buy a skate sharpening machine. This season there will be no public skate-sharpening available – the machine is a manual sharpener and rink staff Dan Watson will be learning the art, practicing on the rental skates only. As Dan hones his skill, the rental skates should be consistently sharper than in previous years.

The rental fees remain the same: $2 to rent skates, $2 to rent a stick, $2 to rent gloves, and helmets are lent out for free. Thanks again to the NHL Players’ Association, for their wonderful gift of 50 pairs of skates, plus sticks, helmets and gloves, in 2004. That started us off, and having skates to rent out cheaply made it possible for so many more people to join the fun at the rink. Tibetan, Cuban, and Brazilian newcomers have been the most enthusiastic late starters for learning to skate. Whole families come down to the rink, and they all – sometimes including the grandparents – put on rental skates and helmets and slide around the ice.

SKATE RENTAL AT WALLACE RINK

The NHL Players’ Association has come through again: they have donated fifty pairs of brand new skates, sticks, and gloves to Wallace Rink, to augment the supplies the rink staff scraped together last year. This means that Wallace Rink will have a very well-equipped rental program this year, in addition to the weekly campfires and snack program.

INSTEAD OF SKATING LESSONS

There will be no skating classes at Dufferin Rink this year. Instead, Dufferin rink staff will have organized “beginner skater” games on Saturday mornings. As well, on two early weekday evenings and on Sundays, rink attendants will be available on the ice to give help to kids and adults who are practicing their skating. There is no charge for this help – that’s what rink staff are for.

The rink staff are still working on the planning of these special game times and practicing times – see the November newsletter for more specifics. Formal classes are available at nearby Wallace Rink and Christie Rink.

LEARNING TO PLAY SHINNY HOCKEY: FOR ADULTS

Last rink season, Dan Watson’s beginner shinny sessions for adults were often packed. So this year Dan will add another session to accommodate the overflow. So far it looks like:

Sundays 9.30 to 11 pm at Dufferin Rink will be a free, supervised, drop-in shinny hockey time (no drills, just playing time).
Tuesdays from 9 to 10.30 at Christie Pits Rink will be a Level Two Beginner Shinny hockey time (including drills and a game, free but registration needed)
Wednesdays from 10 to 11 at Dufferin Rink will be a Level One Beginner shinny hockey time (including drills and a game, free but registration needed),
Thursday evenings (time t.b.a.) at Wallace Rink''', free drop-in beginner’s shinny (no registration, no drills)

This schedule is to be confirmed in the November newsletter. For more information, contact staff@dufferinpark.ca.


hosted by parkcommons.ca | powered by pmwiki-2.2.83. Content last modified on March 05, 2009, at 10:48 PM EST