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posted February 2014, 2014

Mystery Garage

Dufferin Rink garage, with storage shelf

Mystery building project: a second zamboni garage for Dufferin Grove Park? During January a rumour started going around that a second zamboni garage would be added at Dufferin Rink. Dufferin Rink already has one of the biggest zamboni garages of any outdoor rink in the city, which is why it’s been useful as a storage space as well. Eleven years ago we even received city funds to build a “zamboni kitchen” in an unused alcove on the north side of the garage.

Many people are mystified why the park would need a second garage. The west end’s general supervisor of parks, Peter White, when asked, confirmed that the city was considering adding another garage, “not unlike the one at Wallace.”

The Wallace Rink zamboni garage is a metal shed lined inside with sprayed-on insulation, heated 24-7 by two 4800 watt garage heaters. The general supervisor says it’s too early to say more – about the cost of such a garage or the reasons for it. Without information, the rumours continue, leading to speculations such as:

Rumour #1. “A second garage is needed because of the farmers’ market.” For six hours each Thursday, three months a year (i.e. during the rink season), the zamboni has to be parked outside so that the farmers’ market can use the garage. During cold snaps the zamboni’s motor sometimes won’t start after the market. The solution is either a block heater for the zamboni engine or a second heated garage. (Test question: which is the thriftier alternative?)

Rumour #2. “No more shared-use.” Maybe some zamboni drivers don’t like sharing their garage, no matter how big it is, with refrigerators for kitchen supplies, puppets hung high up in the rafters, and stacks of folding tables. If that were true, it would be a repeat of the “Zamboni crisis” in 2004, when city inspectors declared the garage off limits to anyone but the zamboni and the zamboni drivers, and ordered the zamboni kitchen removed. But the kitchen wasn’t torn out after all, because city management decided to support the idea of making shared use of city buildings. (Test question: has the pendulum swung back?)

Rumour #3. “It’s an election year and so there’s extra money around, which needs to be spent or the funding will be lost.” This is the strangest rumour yet. (Test question: if there’s extra tax money around, can there be public discussion of how best to make use of such funds?)

As it stands, there are two double-pad outdoor rinks elsewhere in the city that have no real garage (High Park uses a tent with straw bales and Greenwood has a chain link cage surrounded by tarps). The “flying squad” zambonis downtown (used for single-pad rinks) don’t have a garage either. Why Dufferin Rink should have two is a puzzle. Hopefully there will be some answers soon, before commitments are made.

High Park zamboni tent

Greenwood zamboni cage

(taken from the January 2014 newlsetter)

News 2010

From the October 2010 Newsletter:

Progress on park maintenance

Some 2010 Parks maintenance staff changes are starting to bear fruit in the Ward 18 parks. At Dufferin Grove Park, the sandpit water outlet has been made much better and the accumulated sand of ten years, in the laneway storm sewer, has been removed. Lots of work has been done on the gardens and more is planned, including removal of two of the beds along the Dufferin Street foot path to reduce the mud-run-off on the path (for more information, see Felisa Shizgal’s good old wildflower sign beside that path, which has lasted for 15 years, will come down now that it’s so weathered that the Garrison Creek map is unreadable. Meantime, there’s a plan for fixing picnic tables. Five better-condition tables were already delivered to the oven area to replace the ones that broke most recently.

At MacGregor Park, the field house renovations are almost done and a re-opening party is planned for the end of October -- more news at At Wallace-Emerson, the zamboni is finally getting a garage – a pre-fab that’s being erected in mid-October. It’s a new day for collaboration, with the new Parks staff – very heartening.

April 17, 2010


March 2010




From the April 2010 Newsletter:


At the matzah bake in March, there was some talk about the amount of litter in city parks at the end of winter. The Mayor’s Cleanup Day is on April 24. But that’s a long time from now, and by then most of the Parks maintenance staff will have returned from lay-off, ready to start regular clean up. But what to do until then, especially in the playground? What to do?

Cameron Drew and Rebecca Ross spoke up and said they want to organize a park cleanup on Saturday April 10, rain or shine. They’ve arranged with the recreation staff to get a supply of bags and gloves – and park cookies, to keep up people’s strength as they clean the park for spring. The meeting place is the playground.

After that first clean-up, the students of Bishop Marrocco School have signed up to come twice a week until the city maintenance staff return. That should help.

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