For better use and better management. The UNOFFICIAL Website of Toronto's Outdoor Skating Rinks

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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

Latest News

posted November 25, 2014

At 8.30 p.m., the front page of city's rink information website/311 still has most of the rinks as closed due to "water on the ice." In other words, yesterday's information was never updated. Today, of course, there was no water, but all west region rinks are down to concrete (why??) except Colonel Sam Smith (which is closed "due to inclement weather" but has good ice). Downtown, Regent North has lost most of its ice. Nathan Phillips Square is closed, but since their ice is fine, we can only guess they're trying to build more ice for their big lights event on Nov.29.

You can see normal ice conditions for yourself on Harbourfront rink's webcam. The earlier-opening downtown rinks that are open tonight (with very good ice) are Ramsden, Dufferin, Cedarvale, and Greenwood. Kew Rink is only open for the 9 pm permit. Chances are that the rinks in North York are closed. The weather, however is the same everywhere -- 1 degree celsius. Great for skating.

Find your outdoor rink

click for a map

List of Rinks and addresses.

Google Map of rinks and satellite map

Get Connected

What makes rinks run well? See our animation.


first skate in his life

BANNED in Toronto: little kids who wear bike helmets for pleasure-skating: why?

Sunnydale's new MLSE boards blew down

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City Skating programs

Information gathered from

For drop-in hockey and shinny times, see this schedule (shows arenas as well as outdoor rinks): drop in hockey and shinny.

For pleasure skating, see this schedule (shows arenas as well as outdoor rinks): leisure skating.

Special Programs

For women's shinny see this scheduleWomen's Shinny


Skating Lessons

Cityrinks Lists of Interest

Skate Rental.
Natural Ice Rinks.
Covered Outdoor Ice Rinks.
List of Unfenced Ice Rinks.

Editor's Blog by Jutta Mason

November 19, 2014: wishing for flexibility

Some rinks had their compressors turned on last Saturday (Nov.15). Then on Sunday night it snowed. Periods of snow mixed with rain continued all through the day on Monday, finally stopping in the evening. Presumably the compressors were turned on because that was a decision made some time ago -- to cool down the cement slab for those rinks that were set to open early. It would have been a good idea, if the weather had been as warm as in other years -- but in fact there had been four days of near-freezing temperatures before Saturday. The slabs would have cooled down on their own.

Still, there would have been no harm to running the compressors if not for the snow. But as it was, because the compressors were on before ice-making had begun, the snow became glued to the bare cement slab. It made a big mess. It seems that there is not enough flexibility in the city's rink management to react to weather at those rinks that had been turned on. Would it have been possible to turn off the compressors when the weather forecast warned of snow? Maybe not....

test patch, smooth ice but too thick to begin

On Monday evening the temperatures were just above freezing. Dufferin Rink had lumpy snow stuck all over it, but we decided to do a 6x20 foot test patch with the hot water hose to see if the snow would come off easily. It did. That left a lot of water which ought to be removed so that the slab would dry and ice-making could start properly (thin layers of ice laminated one over the other). Could a zamboni have helped to remove the water?

Who knows? There were no ice-making staff who came to the park on Monday evening. Nor is there communication between people who use the rink or run the programs, and ice maintenance staff. The ice makers are in a silo hermetically sealed from all rink users including the program staff.

a big mess, leaves and snow frozen into the ice

The next morning, as forecast by Environment Canada, temperatures plummeted to minus 9, winds gusted to 70 K an hour, and the ice-making staff, scheduled weeks before, began hosing the rink. They no longer found it easy to get the snow off the slab. The water they sprayed on froze everything into an even bigger mess.

Some day, maybe in five years, maybe in ten, some of the outdoor rinks may be run by locally-based crews instead of the current one-size-fits-all central management. In this blog, we'll continue to try to record what works and what doesn't. It will be our manual for that hoped-for day when experience and ingenuity will run the show.

Comment from program staff:

I don't think the Wallace compressor is on and the snow/rain that fell is frozen solid to the rink pads.


The snow and ice stayed on Wallace (even though there is no chance the compressors were on) because the temp went to minus 9 and didn't go up much in the daytime, and I'm guessing that no snow was removed beforehand when it was still warmer (on Monday).

Rinks where compressors were off and also snow was removed (on Monday, before the temperature went down):

Rennie Rink - hockey slab mostly concrete, some thin snow

High Park, snow removed and hosed down


2012-2013 Editor's blog

2013-2014 Rinks users' blog

Skate Rentals and Snack Bar

Skate Rentals

Skate rental are available (independent companies) at City Hall, Harbourfront, and Brickworks .

The City of Toronto runs a skate loans program at three rinks: Dufferin Rink, Wallace Rink,Campbell Rink. Its two dollars for 2 hours of skate time.

The City also runs three tuck shops for Shinny hockey gear at Dufferin Rink, Wallace Rink, and Campbell Rink includes sticks, pucks, tape, wax, skate tightener, skate file, and helmets for loan or to keep

Basic information:

Other Websites

Snack Bar

The City of Toronto operates three snack bars at Dufferin Rink, Wallace Rink, and Campbell Rink. The fare is reasonably priced and includes hot chocolate, vegan soup and chilli, chocolate chip cookies and mini pizzas.

There is also an independent catering company running a snack bar close to the rink at City Hall, and cafes in and around the rinks at Harbourfront, and Brickworks .


Do you have Rink Diary material to share?

If you have stories, pictures, rink condition updates, a family or community event, etc. to share about your local outdoor rink, send us the material at, and we'll post it in the rink diaries (subject to editing of course).

Skate Lending Programs at Neighbourhood Ice Rinks

Posters and Bulletins

an info bulletin about
Rink Shoveling for
Central Toronto outdoor rinks

Click on poster to enlarge it

Rules for a community rink

What is shinny hockey? A little film clip from Campbell Rink.

Our rinks are community rinks. All members of the community are welcome to skate, play hockey, or meet their friends here. Rink staff would be pleased to answer any questions you may have about the programs and policies.

Please observe the following rules so that everyone can enjoy the rink:

  • Respect programs and permit times in designated areas.
  • Do not use hockey sticks or pucks on the pleasure skating side.
  • Leave the ice surface or any other rink area when asked to do so by staff.
  • Put garbage in cans, not on the floor.
  • Do not smoke in the rink house or on the ice.
  • Be considerate of noise levels.
  • Do not use foul, offensive or racist language.
  • Do not fight or play roughly inside the building or on the rink surface.
  • Do not damage anything.

In case of a serious disagreement between rink staff and a rink user about any of these rules, the staff may ask the rink user to leave the rink until the matter is discussed with the Recreation Supervisor. If the rink user refuses the staff’s request to leave the rink, a letter of trespass may result.

Ice Allocation Policy and Permits

posted November 12, 2013

City of Toronto website links

For tournmanents, special events, and other one-time bookings, complete a One-Time Use Application, and submit your package to the permit office.



Helmets have lost some of their luster in both the medical and the sports media. It turns out that they have some important limitations in preventing concussions -- which is really their main purpose, as far as many skaters are concerned. The City of Toronto has hung on to its 9-year-old mandatory helmet policy, requiring all shinny hockey player to put on head armour. Little kids under 6 are also required to wear ONLY CSA-certified hockey helmets -- for pleasure-skating. Hockey helmets are designed to absorb impacts from pucks, sticks, and body-checking.

CELOS, the Centre for Local Research into Public Space (the sponsor of this website) has ollected quite a bit of material on all sides of the helmet question. Opinion

A Rink Safety Story

The approach of mandating hockey helmets for little kids effectively blocks families from using the rinks if they don't want to buy another set of helmets in addition to the bike (or trike!) helmets most kids already have.

Read this rink user's story

The Data

Noncompliance by shinny hockey players continues to rise citywide. The city’s inability to enforce its own policy should be a flag to rinks management.

Data collected by Rule-Makers

Data collected by CELOS

Helmet Rules Across Canada

PFR Management

It's time to revisit the helmet rules, but with a different procedure than the last time. Instead of a staff decision made at a closed meeting at City Hall, the city should welcome wide-ranging rink-user input. Read our latest letter from Kelvin Seow, City Manager for PFR, and the latest letters to and from Jim Hart, General Manager for the PFR, City of Toronto.

Click on correspondence for everything we've received from city management through the years.

Problems with the City's Helmet Policy


City Rinks Special Edition on Helmets

Read the Special Helmets Issue and its References as published January 9th, 2014


"Restore CSA"

A Calgary group called RestoreCSA and their claim that the CSA’s monopoly on hockey helmet certification in Canada "appears to be in violation of multiple sections of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)"

On November 28th, the Federal Industry Minister, James Moore, made a declaration to Parliament that materials developed by the CSA and incorporated into provincial laws are merely "voluntary standards" whose character as independent of the law is unchanged by inclusion within the law. As noted previously, this action invalidates as a legal requirement all inclusions within law as furnished by CSA or other commercial entities." 178 specific CSA standards included within a wide variety of Federal laws.

Z262.1 is the identifier for the CSA standard for Ice Hockey Helmets.

Additional Web links


Background Information about Toronto's Outdoor Rinks

About Rink Costs

Rinks By The Numbers is a Cityrinks Library section which is a start at extending our investigation of city rinks budgets (a bit over $3M per year). Much of this is a "public filing cabinet" with links to lots of material, including staff allocations, while we sort it out.

Related to costs: correspondence about pricing review, 2009 season; Budget crisis 2007; and change in staffing levels and budgets 2003-2006.

Here's an article from our 2007-2008 news: $250,000 more to zamboni the ice: why? See Outdoor ice maintenance costs.

Read why it doesn't make sense to spend the money to keep rinks open in March: March Break Information Bulletin (pdf) and the technical background. (It does make sense to open by mid-November).

Freedom of Information

Here's an idea of the type of work often involved in getting information from the city.

Women of Winter 2007-2008
About Running the Rinks

The City of Toronto is always behind Harbourfront in getting their rinks open. Here's why: Toronto Ice Rink Story The science is there, the history is there (pre-amalgamation), professionals say it can be done, Harbourfront is doing it, even volunteers have done it. Yet Toronto can't seem to manage the fundamentals of ice making.

See Correspondence 2011-2012 for insight into how ongoing issues are handled.

Here's a basic orientation: Basic "rink literacy".

Read up on the fundamentals of ice making.

The CELOS Outdoor Rink Report:

Prepared in 2007 by CELOS, funded by the Metcalf Foundation, this report provides outlines of city rink operational issues and their possible solutions. The report is still relevant today (2010-2011).

  • Part One: Season, Hours, Ice, Design, Communication, Food
  • Part Two: Attendance, Permits, Helmets, Staff, Community, Appendices
  • see the pdf
Monday Rink Reports:

This website's Monday Rinks reports, sent weekly to the Parks Director last season, list over 100 operational issues needing attention. Zanetti reports are formal submissions to the city.

Climate and Outdoor Rinks:

To determine the rink season (by ice condition), changes in temperature matter much less than the angle of the sun. Our weather researcher shows why: get the facts.

311 Rink Information Monitor:

Read about the City's rink hotline monitor and 311 rink information monitor.

Some History

Rinks Chapters

Here's some material from the City's Archives.

We've kept journals from time to time, such as News 2008-2009 - Extending Artificial Ice Skating Season 2008-2009; Injury Risk at Ice Rinks investigated.

We have our rink news journals going back to 2005.

Also see our collection of Media reports, some Rink Diary summaries, and this website's original rink publications.

Remember the Save our rinks campaign from 2007?

There was a Rink Management Board proposal in 2006.

Some attempts at informing the City's Ombudsman

Report cards were created by this website for the 2007-2008 season.

Most Rink detail web pages have diaries to peruse. Some go back several years.

Christie Pits 1923

Questions or Comments?

Contact the City of Toronto
  • For individual rink schedules: dial 3-1-1
  • The City's rink hotline 416-338-RINK (7465) (this will direct you to call 3-1-1)
  • Many rinks have a direct line. Go to the individual rink profile through the Quick Links.
  • For permit phone numbers see "Contacts to get Permits" in the Rules & Permits tab
  • City website for Skating & Rinks

Pond hockey as it's always been played: no helmets, no body armour, no checking, no slapshots - just the joy of the game

The City of Toronto is always behind Harbourfront in getting their rinks open. Here are some reasons why:

The science is there, the history is there (pre-amalgamation), professionals say it can be done, Harbourfront is doing it, even volunteers have done it. Yet Toronto seems to be shaky on the fundamentals of ice making.

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Content last modified on November 19, 2014, at 09:02 PM EST