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News 2006-2007


Ted Carlisle

posted December 30, 2006

DJ on ice, with DJ Ted Carlisle

Sunday January 7, 2 - 4.30 pm

Park staff Ted is also a DJ, with a wonderful collection of music to please all ages. There will be some mats on the ice near the DJ, for little non-skaters who want to dance too (with Eroca Nicols, park dance teacher). But the most fun is on skates.

We stole this idea from Harbourfront Rink, where they have a DJ on most Friday evenings – and that’s another wonderful place to skate.

The Women Of Winter 2007 Schedule

posted December 30, 2006

The 2nd Annual The Women of Winter Outdoor Shinny Tournament.

January 12th (Friday) and 13th (Saturday)

From women’s hockey organizer Deirdre Norman:

“Over forty-eight women shinny players of all ages and levels of play will celebrate Hockey Day in Canada by taking to the ice at Dufferin Grove Rink. This is Toronto's only outdoor, recreational shinny tournament for women. Organised by volunteers and supported by Parks, Forestry, and Recreation, The Women of Winter celebrates the thrill of playing the game we love in our own community. Last year’s tournament ended with an action packed overtime final – the puck bouncing both ways, spectators hollering, and snow falling. Don’t miss the excitement this year. New for 2007: a mom-daughter game and opportunities for players to sharpen their skills.”

To find out more, go to www.thewomenofwinter.com

Please note: there is no open shinny hockey on Friday or Saturday because of the tournament. Open shinny is available at three other nearby outdoor rinks:Campbell, Wallace, and Christie See City Rinks Web site for details about other rinks.

posted December 30, 2006

Wallace Rink: OPENING CELEBRATION, DJ on ice

Sunday January 14, 2 to 5 pm

The rink beside Wallace-Emerson Community Centre has been completely rebuilt, at a cost of over $1 million. The reason for rebuilding was to install a different kind of cooling system, which would use less ammonia (regarded as an explosion hazard). Since the rink was being rebuilt anyway, Councillor Adam Giambrone arranged for some improvements: a more interesting pleasure-skating rink (oval) and a less dingy change room. The shape of the new hockey rink is also easier for the zamboni to clean.

That’s the good news. The bad news is (1) the project went so slowly that the rink remained closed for most of the Christmas school holidays; (2) the designer forgot drainage holes and also made it more troublesome for the zamboni operators to fill their water tank; (3) there’s still no garage to house a zamboni (Wallace is the only double rink without its own); and (4) the stairs that were added last year to connect the rink with the rest of the park, and the parking lot, have gone missing.

It seems that the City’s project supervisor (who changed halfway through) was unavailable to collaborate with the City’s rink maintenance staff at all. Later in January, rink friends from this area will submit a City Outdoor Rinks Report to City Council’s Parks Committee, recommending some changes in how such projects get done in future.

But for now: it’s time to have an opening party. On Sunday January 14 there will be DJ music for skaters, a campfire with food, and a ribbon-cutting by Councillor Adam Giambrone. This is a collaboration between the three rink staffs. There’s plenty to admire, in the airy new rink change-room, and the pleasure-skating rink in the round, and the music will be fine. Come and have a skate at a rink that’s not crowded!

posted December 30, 2006

Campbell Rink DJ Dance on ice, with DJ Ted Carlisle

Friday January 19, 7 to 9 pm

Campbell Rink is on Campbell Avenue just a block west of Lansdowne, two blocks south of Dupont. Many soccer parents know the park from the summer. This year, Dufferin Rink staff are working at Campbell Rink on Fridays, running a twice-monthly kids’ hockey program. On January 19 they’ll make a barrel fire too, and there will be free hot dogs and marshmallows and great skating music.

posted December 30, 2006

Novice adult shinny hockey practice

Wednesday nights from 10 to 11 p.m

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, Wednesday nights from 10 to 11 p.m. 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. For more information, call the park at 416 392-0913. Ask for Dan Watson.

posted December 30, 2006

Youth ice-games experiment

Kids of a certain age want to play British bulldog and ice tag, more than they want to breathe. The rink has a posted rule against those youthful, thrilling, obnoxious games, and the rink staff spend lots of energy taking kids off the ice for breaking the rule.

A few parents have suggested that maybe kids should be allowed to play exciting ice games for ten minutes, on the hour, so that skaters wanting a relaxing skate will know they can come at ten minutes after the hour and enjoy the next 50 minutes.

December was too busy at the rink to try this, but when things calm down in January, there will be an extra rink monitor posted. Sharp at 7 p.m. and again at 8 pm, on week nights only, there will be ten minutes of kids’ ice games. Staff will still supervise, but with a lighter hand. Feedback from other rink users is encouraged.


temporary stairs to rink

posted December 30, 2006

THE MISSING STAIRS

When people come to Dufferin Rink from the west, the access from the sidewalk up to the front door of the rink clubhouse is an uphill grade with no stairs, so smooth that people lose their footing as soon as there’s any freezing or snow. For some years, rink friends have been asking parks staff to build a little stairway from the sidewalk up to where rink door access path levels out, and this year the Parks manager said yes. But then it didn’t happen after all. So rink friends bought a two-stair riser from Home Depot and installed it as a temporary access until the City builds a permanent stairway.

However on Friday Dec.22, rink users arrived to find the stairs gone and the area surrounded by an orange danger fence, with danger tape for good measure. After some inquiry, the removal was traced to the Parks manager: "I arranged for appropriate City staff to inspect the stairs you installed and they are deemed unsafe, a trip hazard, and do not comply with code. Code and legal liability issues lie with City staff to ensure the park is safe and MUST be followed."


second destruction by the City

Within a few hours, there were seven pages of rink user signatures on a petition to City Councillor Adam Giambrone, asking the City to install the kind of stairs they like better, NOW, not next year or the year after. So many rink users have had a fall or a scare on the existing slippery access paths, everyone wanted to sign.

But by then all the parks staff – the Parks supervisor, the Parks manager, and her bosses all the way up the line – were on holidays. So a meeting is scheduled for Jan.2, to find out what code was being violated, and how the city carpenters can make a temporary stair for this winter, that will keep rink users from falling. Watch the orange danger fence (now doing double duty as a bulletin board) for an update.

posted December 30, 2006

NIGHT-TIME NOISE AT THE RINK

At night-time after the rink is closed, people eager to play hockey often climb over the fence and play by the light of the “morality lamps” on the side of the building. For two years, the staff left the gate to the pleasure-skating side unlocked at night, so that people could skate (more quietly) on that rink, with less boards to bang a puck off. But the noise of the big groups that came to the rink, sometimes at 3 or 4 in the morning, drove the neighbours crazy. So the staff now lock the rink every night at 11 pm.

But hockey is so popular that people often climb over the fence anyway, late at night. Sometimes the staff notice a car waiting, so they stick around doing extra work, trying to outlast the hockey invaders. The staff also tell the young people about outdoor rinks that are unfenced and not in built-up areas – City Hall, Ryerson, College Park, Rennie, Wallace.

But still the hockey players climb the fence at Dufferin Rink. That’s because Dufferin Rink has more light (those morality lights), and so it’s easier to see the puck. Last year, Jutta Mason tried to get the City to let the on-site staff turn off those lights at night-time, to make the rink less of a draw. But City management said, “liability,” and refused.

Since other rinks don’t have such bright lights, it’s unlikely that there would be a liability issue only at this rink. So rink neighbours who are bothered by the noise should call the City to see if they’ll get a better response than Jutta did. Here are the numbers to call: Ward 18 Councillor Adam Giambrone, 416 392-7012. You can also try the Area Recreation supervisor, Tino DeCastro, at 416 392-0041. (But when he tried to get the morality lights turned off last rink season, he was also unsuccessful.) City Rinks manager Kevin Bowser is at 416-394-2486, although he rarely returns calls. Or you can call his boss, Brenda Librecz, General Manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation, at 416 392-8207. You can try the community response police, at 416 808-1400, although they don’t usually come to such nuisance calls.

If you’re really stuck and it sounds so bad out there that you can’t sleep, call park lead staff Mayssan Shuja at 416 709-0573. She’ll come even in the middle of the night, and talk to the invaders. That is the park staff emergency number, if something needs a remedy fast. The main thing to remember is to follow up by calling the other management numbers above – keep calling until there’s help, from the people paid to keep things in good order.

posted December 30, 2006

WEATHER TRIVIA

The Toronto Star, on January 3 1958, editorialized: “It is true that the parks department operates 58 natural ice rinks for skating and 23 for hockey - or will do so, if and when there is enough frost. For all the freezing weather we get here most winters, the department might as well spare the trouble and expense, and get on with the job of multiplying the number of artificial ice rinks." Did they have global warming then already?

posted December 30, 2006

RINK INJURIES

During December, these were the main injuries: (1) a shinny player got slashed on the forehead with a stick, after he was repeatedly warned to stop slashing other people’s shins. (2) A little girl got a bad nosebleed when she was leaning against the chain link fence watching hockey, and a puck flew up and hit the chain link. (3) A 9-year-old boy was hit in the nose by a learn-to-skate frame, and it broke his nose. In that case, his family would have had economic hardship because the father had to miss work to take his son to the hospital for an x-ray and follow-up, so the park paid the lost wages (with cookie money from the snack bar, a wonderful resource). The boy’s nose is healing straight. And finally, (4) two players collided during women’s shinny time. One of them got a cut to the forehead because she hit her forehead on the other player’s hard helmet.

For those rink users who have said that shinny and soccer are played without helmets, in contrast to hockey and football, which are played with full gear: there’s been no response from the Parks management to informal requests for documentation of the decision to make helmets mandatory for shinny (pond hockey). Time for a formal request

posted December 30, 2006

EDITORIAL: RINK CROWDING

Almost fifty years ago, on January 3 1958, the Toronto Star ran an editorial called: "If Sardines Skated They'd Choose Toronto." It said: "Skating is not much fun when people have to wait in line outside for half an hour or more, and then go on an intolerably crowded ice surface..."

There’s no waiting in line outside Dufferin Rink yet, but for the first time this December, the rink staff considered it. Why was the rink so crowded?

posted December 30, 2006

FOOD IN THE PARK

Friday Night Suppers have resumed (6 to 7.30 p.m. on Fridays at the rink house, $6 for the main plate, between $2-$3 each for soup, salad, dessert, no reservations necessary). Also, seven days a week, the “Zamboni Café” snack bar will be serving substantial winter soups, farmers’ market perogies, park oven bread, organic hot dogs, mini-pizzas, and various sweets including park cookies. On weekends there’s more.

The price list at the Zamboni café reflects how much money is needed to pay for the materials that went into the food, plus a bit extra for other park uses, which counts as your park donation. But if your grocery money is tight, and you and your kids are hungry after skating, even the cheap snack bar food may be too much for your wallet.

If you’re hungry, but you can’t pay as much for the snack bar food, pay less. Park staff also like to do trades – if you can do something for the park (help shovel after a snowstorm, wash dishes, sort tools in the tool cupboard, break up wooden skids for the bread ovens) the park staff will tell you that your money won’t work at the snack bar, and you have to eat for free. That goes for kids too.

On the other hand, if you find the food very cheap and good and think it should cost more, pay more. Every penny goes to the park.

posted December 30, 2006

FARMERS’ MARKET EVERY THURSDAY 3 PM TO 7 PM, IN THE RINKHOUSE AND THE ZAMBONI GARAGE

The year-round organic farmers’ market is a squash for skaters, but rink staff put a lot of extra benches out by the rink for skate changing, and there’s a campfire to get warm by. Market customers, please be considerate of skaters – it’s an odd mix of rink uses.

Winter News 2006-2007

posted December 10, 2006

2nd Annual The Women Of Winter Outdoor Shinny Tournament

January 12th and 13th, 2007

From women’s hockey organizer Deirdre Norman:

“Celebrate Hockey Day in Canada at The 2nd Annual The Women of Winter Outdoor Shinny Tournament. On January 12th and 13th, 2007 over forty-eight women shinny players of all ages and levels of play will celebrate Hockey Day in Canada by taking to the ice at Dufferin-Grove Rink. This is Toronto's only outdoor, recreational shinny tournament for women. Organised by volunteers and supported by Parks, Forestry, and Recreation, The Women of Winter celebrates the thrill of playing the game we love in our own community. Last year’s tournament ended with an action packed overtime final – the puck bouncing both ways, spectators hollering, and snow falling. Don’t miss the excitement this year. New for 2007 will be a mom-daughter game and opportunities for players to sharpen their skills.”


Email Deirdre Norman at hockey@thewomenofwinter.com or go to the website: www.thewomenofwinter.com

posted December 10, 2006

Friday Night Suppers

6 to 7:30 on Fridays at the Rink House

Friday Night Suppers Friday Night Suppers 6 to 7:30 on Fridays

Friday Night Suppers have resumed (6 to 7.30 p.m. on Fridays at the rink house, $6 for the main plate, between $2-$3 each for soup, salad, dessert, no reservations necessary). Also, seven days a week, the “Zamboni Café” snack bar will be serving substantial winter soups, sandwiches with park oven bread, organic hot dogs, mini-pizzas, and various sweets including park cookies. On weekends there may be more.

The price list at the Zamboni café reflects how much money we need to pay for the materials that went into the food, plus a bit extra for other park uses. But if your grocery money is tight, and you and your kids are hungry after skating, even the cheap snack bar food prices may add up too fast.

If you’re hungry, but you can’t pay as much for the snack bar food, pay less. Park staff also like to do trades – if you can do something for the park (help shovel after a snowstorm, wash dishes, sort tools in the tool cupboard, break up wooden skids for the bread ovens) the park staff will tell you that your money won’t work at the snack bar, and you have to eat for free. That goes for kids too.

On the other hand, if you find the food very cheap and good and think it should cost more, pay more. Every penny goes to the park.

posted December 10, 2006

A Special Friday Night Supper BOOK LAUNCH


Outdoor Ice Rink Handbook, Friday Dec.15, 5-7.30 p.m.

…Well, booklet launch: celebrating the publication of the Outdoor Ice Rink Handbook, with contributions by eight Dufferin Rink staff. Published by CELOS with the help of park cookie money. For anyone (rink staff and rink users) who wants their neighborhood rink to run well, this has everything you need to know. Buy one as a Christmas present for each staff person at your local rink (other than Dufferin Rink). They’re $2 each, 48 pages long, with Jane LowBeer’s cheerful illustrations – just the right size for a pocket. Buy one for each of your shinny-playing or pleasure-skating friends, too, so they can find out how their neighbourhood rink can be improved.

The booklet is available now at Dufferin Rink, or download the pdf and have a look!

posted December 10, 2006

Youth Ice-Games Trial

Kids of a certain age want to play British bulldog and ice tag, more than they want to breathe. The rink has a posted rule against those youthful, thrilling, obnoxious games, and the rink staff spend lots of energy taking kids off the ice for breaking the rule.

A few parents have suggested that maybe kids should be allowed to play exciting ice games for ten minutes of every hour: always on the hour, so that skaters wanting a relaxing, peaceful skate will know they can come at ten minutes after the hour and enjoy the next 50 minutes.

It’s an interesting idea. The young teenagers who love ice games have so much energy! Skating around sedately doesn’t do it for them. So the rink staff may try allowing an hourly ten minutes of kids’ ice games, at the beginning of the hour, as an experiment. Staff will still supervise, but with a lighter hand. Feedback from other rink users is encouraged. And adults are allowed to play too, but it’s not clear that they’ll want to.

posted December 1, 2006

Opening Day

Dufferin Rink opened on Dec.2, despite a run of very warm weather leading up to opening day. City rinks supervisor Brian Green and zamboni driver Roger Doble performed a miracle, with a little help from some providential rains two days before opening, plus a drop in temperature, plus the powerful cooling action of the rink’s two 75 hp compressors. Roger arrived at 6.30 a.m. on opening day and flooded the rink for three hours. Then the hockey players and pleasure skaters appeared out of nowhere, the rink filled up, and presto! It was winter.

posted December 10, 2006

First-Ever Meeting Of All Dufferin Rink Staff, Nov.14

City Park staff get so busy with their day-to-day work, that sometimes it’s months or even years between the times when all staff involved with a facility actually sit down at the same table and talk to each other. Because of last February’s rink discord, Councillor Adam Giambrone recently convened a meeting of all the staff who have any role at Dufferin Rink. On-site rink staff had asked for such meeting for years, but their idea was not supported. However, when a Councillor says ”I’m getting too many complaint calls, all relevant staff please come to a meeting” – there’s no choice, City staff have to accept his invitation.

So on Tuesday November 14, the managers of recreation and of city rinks, and the supervisors of recreation, of city rinks and of technical services, and the city rinks foreman and a zamboni driver, and five on-site Dufferin Rink staff, and the city councillor and his assistant, and the rink historian, all gathered for coffee and worked out some new rink procedures. Now it’s time for follow-up.

One of the points that’s still contentious is whether technical services staff, when they come to Dufferin Rink to do their daily check on the compressors, should also say hello to the on-site rink staff and give them a two-minute update on the plant. (Some tech services staff – not all – rarely speak to the on-site rink staff, and may even refuse to respond to a staff question.) Although cordial contact between co-workers is generally thought to be a good idea, the tech services supervisor says his staff are too busy to say hello.

So management at this moment declines to instruct the tech services staff to check in with their on-site co-workers at the rink. Old institutional cultures fade slowly! And Dufferin Rink is a newer model. However, the rink staff are a friendly bunch, and so are a lot of the rink users, so they’ll keep trying.



We've started a winter photos collection at
Winter Photos Skating Jan-2006.
photo © Laura Berman

posted December 2, 2006

The rink is open - December 2nd!! Ice in good condition.

posted Devember 2, 2006

First Friday Night Supper for the winter season will be Friday December 8

posted October 9, 2006

Skating Schedules for 2006-2007 are posted - Dufferin Rink OPENS DECEMBER 2nd, 2006

Skating Schedules for 2006-2007 are posted - Dufferin Rink OPENS DECEMBER 2nd, 2006.For skating schedules including Hours of Operation, Pleasure skating schedule, Rink shinny hockey schedule, and General Information, Read more >>

posted November 13, 2006

New Community Programs for 2006-2007

Practice Skating with Mayssan, wednesday thru saturday at Dufferin Rink. Beginners shinny hockey with Daniel Watson, every wednesday night. Read more >>

posted November 11, 2006

COUNCILLOR GIAMBRONE CALLS A “LET’S START OVER” RINK STAFF MEETING

On November 14, there will be the first-ever “everyone-at-the-table” rink staff meeting, including everyone who helps run Dufferin Rink – from the new City rinks manager, to the technical services manager (rink machinery), to the permits manager, to the supervisors, to the on-site rink staff. Policy as well as practice will be discussed.

This meeting is a follow-up to last February’s rink troubles, which raised the question: should the city’s outdoor compressor-run ice rinks be run by boards of management, like the arenas? It turns out that the board of management structure would probably add new problems, and not help much. But: finally getting everyone talking together, about how to make a fresh start, should help a lot. Rink friends have been asking city staff to talk to each other more for years, but there were too many blocks. It took last season’s crisis to bring the issue to everyone’s attention.

Councillor Giambrone gave his word at that February meeting that rink funding and park funding would not be cut, and he kept his word. Now he’s taken the next step and set up this long-hoped-for staff meeting, which he’ll chair himself. Hopefully this will be the start of a long and happy connection between front-line and management rink staff, resulting in a lovely rink.

posted November 11, 2006

RINK NEWS

- Dufferin Rink opens on Dec.2. The first Friday Night Supper in the rink house is the night before, on Dec.1 [ed. changed to December 8], to give the traditional “sneak peek” and heighten the anticipation (and to give updates on this year’s rink arrangements).

The details for Dufferin Rink and all other downtown rinks are posted on the dufferinpark.ca web site: hours, shinny times, phone numbers, maps, photos, rink highlights. They’re also posted on the rink house doors.

Schedule this year: mostly the same as other years, with a few changes:

  • a new “beginners only” drop-in shinny time Wednesdays 10 p.m. to 11 pm. (free) Read more>>>
  • single permits available on Saturdays (9 pm) and Sundays (9.30 pm), $70 , half-price for youth (youth are no longer free -- new City policy!?!)
  • Sunday evening family-shinny time (registration needed, but free) is 5 - 6.30pm. This is a volunteer run, communit program: To register send mail to familyshinny@yahoo.ca
  • Skating lessons a little different: call 392-0913 or e-mail Mayssan@dufferinpark.ca. Check the schedule here.

See you at the rink!

posted November 11, 2006

HOW TO KEEP YOUTH SHINNY HOCKEY FREE

This year the City Permits Office has begun to enforce a permit fee for youth who want to get their friends together to organize a shinny game. It’s half the price of adults ($35) but many rink friends feel this policy subverts the City’s mandate to promote youth sports and youth-initiated activities.

But every cloud has a silver lining. Last year Councillor Adam Giambrone helped rescue a mini-tourney between Jimmie Simpson Rink and Dufferin Rink, when that tourney ran into some bureaucratic blocks. The blocks were removed when our councillor called up the Jimmie Simpson councillor (Paula Fletcher). They co-sponsored the tourney, and suddenly the kids and were able to get on their hockey bus and everyone had a really good time. Magic!

Inquiries to the City permits section a few weeks ago turned up the very helpful information that if a councillor personally sponsors an event, the fees can be waived (at the discretion of Brenda Librecz, the Parks and Recreation general manager). That means that we can set up a “COUNCILLOR’S INVITATIONAL SHINNY LEAGUE” at our cluster of local outdoor rinks and beyond. Recreation supervisor Tino Decastro has agreed to staff this youth-run league with a referee if wanted, Councillor Giambrone has agreed to sponsor it, Dufferin Rink staff will supply the barrel fire and hot dogs, for the kids to keep their strength up. Such an informal youth league should be great fun, and it would have never have been prompted if the new permit rule had not been in place.

posted October 18, 2006

DUFFERIN RINK NEWS – HELP FROM COUNCILLOR GIAMBRONE

Dufferin Rink will open one week before most City outdoor rinks – on Dec.2. That means lots of crowds, but staff will try hard to make it work, especially for the opening-week crowds on the shinny hockey side. Most other outdoor rinks will open on Dec.9 (it was traditionally Nov.15).

Last year’s rink season had some troubles, leading to a February meeting about running the rink with a board of management. Further exploration showed that such management boards, being creatures of the municipality with very limited independence (but with even more paperwork required) would not solve the problems of ice maintenance, management, and outdated job descriptions. So rink friends will keep on trying to work with the City for well-run outdoor rinks.

At the public meeting, Director Don Boyle spoke of cutting the entire park budget back drastically. Councillor Adam Giambrone promised than that he would not allow this to happen, and he was as good as his word. He persuaded Mr.Boyle not to shrink the park. The park budget has stayed at around $164,000, just a little more than the salary of one Parks and Recreation director. It costs considerably more to run the park, but the difference is made up with all the food-related fundraising, which last year added almost $130,000 to the resources available to run this fourteen-acre “community centre without walls.” The total is still less than half the cost of operating a community centre with walls.

Councillor Giambrone also supported the new Parks manager, Sandy Straw, to get funds for paving the path where the zamboni travels between the pleasure-skating and the hockey side of the rink. This paving will be done before the end of October, and will solve many of the safety (and mud!) concerns raised last season.

A new rink program this year is an hour of open shinny time on Wednesdays (10 to 11 pm) restricted to beginner shinny players. A rink staff person will be on the ice, helping new enthusiasts for the sport to play as they learn. This year the rink will also sponsor some more youth league play between City rinks.

Councillor Giambrone is brokering a meeting between on-site rink staff, some long-time rink friends, ice maintenance staff, and the new City Rinks manager Kevin Bowser (from Etobicoke). This will be an attempt to get past the troubles of last year, and make a fresh start for a fine rink season to come.

For lots more detailed information about this rink and many other outdoor rinks, go to city rinks, Or call Dufferin Rink staff at 416 392-0913.

posted September 1, 2006

SKATING RINK NEWS

This year most of the 51 compressor-powered outdoor ice rinks in Toronto will not open until December 9. (A few will open on December 2 -- see the list of individual rinks.) In the 1980s, rink season was standard: November 15 to the first Sunday in March, usually about 14 weeks. Those are the winter weeks with the weakest sunlight, so they work best for outdoor rinks that are artificially cooled. But in the late 1990s the rink season began to lose a few days every year. Then in 2001, City Council voted to save money by cutting all the rinks down to 10 weeks a year. (The money they saved from rinks went for more parking ticket officers.)

Since winter in Toronto is quite a bit longer than ten weeks, the decision not to open the rinks until Dec.22 that year caused an outcry from skaters, and three weeks were put back in by Parks management.

City Council never rescinded its 10-week rink decision, and so every year since then has been a cliffhanger: what length of season will parks management decide this year? Because Dufferin Rink has the largest number of vocal skaters willing to lobby, for the last few years this rink has opened a week before most others. But that brings its own problems: in 2003 there was a near-riot at the rink. So many youth come to play shinny hockey at the only open rink in their neighbourhood, that they get frustrated, struggling to find enough space to play the game.

Last year Jutta Mason took a rink petition of almost 500 names to the Economic Development and Parks Committee at City Hall, asking them to return the rink season to the original length. The City Councillors on that committee showed little interest. Most of them just chatted with each other during the 5 minutes Jutta was allowed to explain the petition, and paid no attention. It seems that unless many people can arrange to book off work for the day and crowd the committee room, petitions don’t help. And many people can’t book off.

In the end, the 2005 rink season had some extensions at the other end: although many rinks didn’t open until Dec.10, a few in every ward stayed open to the middle of March. Because the sun is so strong by then, and the ice was much too thick (insulating itself against the cooling mechanism), the rinks had to be shut down for most of those days. March is not a viable month for good outdoor ice (but November is).


outdoor shinny hockey

Recently, the Division of Parks, Forestry and Recreation was re-arranged pretty completely, and it’s still unclear how the rinks will run under the new system. We know that outdoor rinks are a wonderful winter resource for their neighbourhoods and beyond; we know that Toronto is rich in artificially-cooled outdoor skating rinks; we know that many of the rinks could be nicer places than they are now. If you’re a skater and you love these rinks, consider getting on the friends-of-the-rinks list by e-mailing sports@dufferinpark.ca (and tell your skater friends). One of these years, rink friends all over Toronto may be successful in getting the rink season back to normal.

You can also e-mail or call the City of Toronto manager in charge of outdoor ice rinks: Kevin Bowser kbows@toronto.ca phone 416 394-2486


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