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Rink Diary January 2010

January 1 2010

High 2, low minus 9. Snowflurries all morning and most of the afternoon, heavy between 2 and 4.30.

Ice maintenance: 9:30, 10:30, 12 noon, 2:30, then zamboni driver and trainee stayed on site to go back out within or on the hour, done by 4pm, then 5.15 pm. Manual scrape done by the permit players at 9 pm.

The rink was too busy for the staff to even take time out to count the people.

Saturday January 2 2010

High minus 11, low minus 15. Windy in late afternoon.

Ice maintenance: 9am scrape and flood, 11:45 scrape, 5:15 scrape, 8:55 scrape

Numbers at 2.30 pm: 6 nine-and-under players (all wearing helmets); 34 pleasure-skaters; 50 inside.

The people inside were sitting and talking or playing checkers or thawing out their fingers and toes by the fire in the woodstove. In the evening more skaters came, and because there was no permit, the hockey was only on one side. A group of pleasure-skaters alternately sat on the benches talking (in that cold!) and skated, but then one of them fell on the ice and the back of her head was bleeding a bit through her woollen hat. She was reluctant to take off her hat and let the rink staff look, and one of her friends called an ambulance. But then they canceled it and one of the friends drove her to the hospital.

Ice is hard and people are soft, and some people are more alarmed by blood than others. On the shinny hockey side it can be taken as a badge of honour. Last year a youth who had a laceration on his face (from a hockey stick) waved the staff away as she was bringing the gauze, and took a photo of himself with the blood running down. He wanted to send it to his friends. The friends who were at the rink with him already cried out "oh gross!!" in a very approving way.

Sunday January 3 2010

High -8, low -15. Snowy and windy.

Ice maintenance: 9am, 9:15am, started to manually scrape at 11.30, then zamboni arrived at 12:20, did a scrape to both, 2:30, 4:45, 6:30, anticipated before 8pm permit and hopefully once after.

Monday January 4 2010

High -7, low -12. A few snowflurries.

Ice maintenance: pre 9am scrape, 11:45am scrape, 3pm scrape, 7pm scrape, 8:55pm - scrape only due to flurries. Normally there ought to be one flood in the evening, even when the ice is high, but if there's a flood while it's snowing, the ice gets bumpy.

Tuesday January 5 2010

High -4, low -9, light snow most of the day

Ice maintenance: pre9am, 11:30am, 12pm, 1:45pm, 3:15pm, 4:30pm, 5:45pm, 7pm, 8:55pm.

A big improvement has happened this year, compared to the past few years -- Dufferin Rink actually has a zamboni driver who comes extra times if it's snowing. Just like the other rinks with on-site drivers. The Dufferin Rink drivers don't stay in the rink house because they don't have their own room and they don't like to sit out in the rink with everybody else. But if it's snowing they come back more often from wherever they stay when they're not cleaning the rink. The evening driver stays in his truck in between. People worry that he'll get too cold -- maybe after a while he'll decide he can sit in the rink house and read the paper.

Thursday January 7 2010

High -3, low -6, mostly cloudy.

Numbers: 2pm 8 pleasure-skaters, 8 shinny hockey (no helmets), farmers' market inside.

4:45pm 11 level-2 shinny hockey players, two with helmets, 21 pleasure-skaters

6:20pm 12-and-under has 12 players, 6 kids in helmets; 17 pleasure-skaters

8:30 15 pleasure skaters, 22 shinny hockey with 4 helmets.

Friday January 8 2010

High -5, low - 14. A few snowflurries, but lots of sun too.

Ice maintenance: before 9am s/f, 11:45am scrape, 3:15pm scrape, 7pm scrape - deep grooves in ice, the zamboni driver thought it was ice stuck to the blade, said he'd fix the ice at 9pm. The staff warned hockey players and pleasure skater (it was worse on the hockey side). 8:55pm - s/f hockey - groove still there, more intermitent, scrape only of pleasure-skating side.

Number samples:8.45 pm 41 pleasure-skaters, 26 shinny hockey (6 helmets); 16 inside.

Friday Night Supper was back, and so was the Meet Market Adventure, with too many people. They come to skate and eat supper and socialize, but are on a different voyage, so to speak, and it doesn't really work for the rink to have such a large group come all at once.

Meantime, a bit of a crisis is building for the events that have marked the passing of winter over the years. Deirdre Norman's "The Women of Winter" shinny tournament, the bike couriers' "Icycle" (bike racing on ice), David's Anderson's puppets on ice, and the "Gas Station Islanders'" annual music stage at Wallace Rink, collecting money for kids in trouble -- all are under the gun. For quite a few years there's been pressure to make these events behave like permits, i.e pay for having them and also pay for extra insurance. But the people who put them on are rink users who got an idea. And every year -- until now -- they were able to persuade the City not to charge them, but rather to treat their extra activities as a city program. Until this year, when management lowered the boom. Pay or else, or nothing.

So the four groups sent a letter to the general manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation, saying that the permit system just doesn't fit neighbourhood activities. The first response was just more "get a permit." We'll see what comes after. However, for David Anderson, it was the straw that broke the camel's back. He said they won't be doing Puppets on Ice this year. He said, "I want to be appreciated for what I do. I want hugs! But there are none." For more on this story, see here, January 9 entry.

Saturday Jan.9 2010

High minus 9, low minus 15.

pre 9am flood and scrape, 11:45 scrape, 2:45 scrape, 5:15 scrape, 8:55 scrape and flood.

Numbers samples, 4pm: 13-17 shinny hockey (6 players, 2 helmets) 58 pleasure-skaters, 37 inside.

6:30 all ages, 22 shinny hockey (4 kids with helmets), 28 pleasure skaters, , 17 inside.

8.15 18 plus, 7 shinny hockey (one helmet), 7 pleasure-skaters, 7 inside.


Andrew the zamboni driver, starting the ice maintenance

waiting for the zamboni to resurface the ice

beautiful ice, beautiful sunshine -- but minus 9 degrees

Despite the cold, lots of people left their warm houses and their computers, and came to the rink to skate and to meet up with their friends.


inside, reading the free Toronto Star by the woodstove

he says they both cheat at checkers

campfire at the side of the rink

roasting farmers' market apples
Sunday January 10, 2010

Low minus 12, high minus 4, sunny with a few clouds. Ice maintenance: pre 9am, 2:45pm scrape, 5pm scrape, 8pm s/f.


the little sound system

picnic in the rink clubhouse

the joy of new skates

a very good story

A very busy day at the rink, but also very nice. For the first time this season, there was music, and some of the skaters were singing along.

Hopefully there will be time this week to rig up the sound system a bit better, so it's up higher and not in the way.

Inside the clubhouse, there was the pleasing sight of so many people being nice to their kids, so many families quite evidently enjoying one another's company.

Monday Jan.11 2010. Cloudy with snowflurries.

High -4, low -7.

Tuesday Jan.12 2010

High -6, low -10. Sun and cloud.

Ice maintenance: pre9am, 11:45am scrape, 3:15pm scrape, 7pm scrape, 8:55pm - s/f

Wednesday January 13, 2010

High 0, low -6.

Ice maintenance: Am s/f, 11:45 scrape only, there was after school group and ice was very cut up so a flood at 3pm was a good thing, 3pm s/f, the 7 pm flood was not prevented in time, but staff checked in with onsite zamboni staff and mentioned that we only want scrapes, 7pm s/f, 8:55 s/f.

Thursday January 14, 2010

High 4, low -6. Sun and cloud.

Ice maintenance: Pre 9am s/f, 11:45am s/f, 3pm scrape, 7pm scrape, 8:55pm s/f.

Numbers samples, 11am: 6 pleasure-skaters, 13 shinny, 2 with helmets, 7 inside.
2:20pm 7 pleasure-skaters, 10 shinny, 3 inside.
4:15pm (13-17) 18 pleasure-skaters, 6 shinny 1 with helmet, 42 inside.

I've heard that there's been a citywide order to flood all the outdoor rinks as much as possible because of the warm weather forecast for this weekend. An odd way to treat outdoor ice if it's as thick as ours is.

Friday January 15, 2010

High 4, low 1. Cloudy

Ice maintenance: 9am s/f, 11:45 scrape, 3:15pm scrape, 7pm scrape, 8:55 scrape

Numbers samples:

11am 10 shinny hockey players (no helmets), 54 pleasure-skaters (school group), 7 inside
1 pm 16 shinny hockey players (1 with helmet), 31 pleasure-skaters, 5 inside
2 pm 9 shinny hockey players (no helmets), 56 pleasure-skaters (school group), 25 inside
4 pm 12 shinny hockey players (13 to 17 age group, no helmets), 45 pleasure-skaters, 8 inside,
6:30 18 shinny hockey players (12 & under and parents age group, 7 wearing helmets), 58 pleasure-skaters, 28 inside

The Women of Winter Shinny Hockey Tournament convener Deirdre Norman sent this excerpt from a letter that a shinny player sent to City Councllor Adam Giambrone:

I live in the Bloor-Lansdowne area and I want to bring to your attention a concern that I have about one of the things that makes my area feel like my community. I've been living here for 5 years and each year I am more impressed and engaged in the local parks and outdoor rink activities. I have been involved with The Women of Winter shinny tournament at Dufferin Grove for the past few years, I volunteer to help instruct an introductory shinny course at Wallace Emerson, and I have attended many of the shinny sessions (especially women's shinny) throughout our neighbourhood. In an area with people from all sorts of backgrounds, community is not always an easy feeling to build, but through these activities I have come to feel like this is my home. I come from a small town in rural Canada and was convinced that Toronto would be cold and anonymous. These community activities have proven me wrong and made me proud to be a part of it all. I boast about these activities whenever I travel to Montreal and Halifax and people are amazed that Big Bad Toronto has such wonderful community events.

Saturday January 16, 2010

High 2, low -2. Cloudy

Ice maintenance: pre 9am s/f, 11:45am scrape, 2:45am scrape, 5:15pm scrape, 8:55pm s/f

Numbers sample 2pm: 20 Shinny hockey players (9 & under age group), (18 with helmets), 62 pleasure-skaters (14 with helmets), 45 inside.

Sunday January 17 2010

High 3, low -3. Cloudy with some fog all day.

Ice maintenance: pre 9 am, 4.55pm scrape and flood, 8 pm. Lots of people came out despite the gloomy day.

Monday January 18, 2010

High 1, low -3. Cloudy.

Ice maintenance: pre 9am s/flood, 11:45am scrape, 3:15pm scrape, 7pm scrape, 8:55pm s/f

Numbers sample 7pm: 15 shinny hockey players (1 with helmets), 20 pleasure-skaters (4 with helmets), 3 inside.

Tuesday January 19, 2010

High 2, low -3. Cloudy, light snow.

Ice maintenance: pre 9am, 11:45am scrape, 3:15pm scrape, 7pm scrape, finished at 7.20 pm

Skaters asked for scrape at 8:00pm (snow flurry). They scraped the hockey pad at 8:30pm, pleasure skating pad s/f at 8:45pm, hockey pad flood at 9pm.

Watch Pleasure skating at Dufferin Rink video

Wednesday January 20, 2010

High -2, low -7. Mostly Cloudy.

Ice maintenance: 9 am scrape, 11:55 am scrape, 3pm scrape, 7pm scrape, 8:55 s/f

Thursday January 21, 2010

High 0, Low -8. Cloudy

Ice maintenance: 9am s.f, 11:45 scrape, 3pm scrape, 6pm supervisor called to say that zamboni driver in accident, no show for 7pm, manual scrape done at 7:45pm by hockey players, 9pm scrape done (no flood) in agreement with permit holders in order not to waste more time.

Numbers sample, 5pm: (13-17 age group shinny time) 9 shinny players , (2 with helmet), 10 pleasure-skaters, 36 inside

Friday January 22, 2010

High 3, Low -5, cloudy.

Ice maintenance: pre9am s/f, 11:45am scrape, 3:15pm scrape, mushy pleasure-side edges, pylons put up, 7pm scrape, still choppy but hard, 8:55pm s/f

Saturday January 23, 2010

High 1, Low -4. Cloudy.

Ice maintenance: pre 9am 3 times scrape, then flood, 11:45am scrape, 2:45pm scrape, 5:15pm scrape, 8:55pm s/f

Numbers samples, 1pm: 12 shinny hockey, 6 kids with helmets, 1 with adult helmet, 34 pleasure-skaters, 8 kids with helmets, 1 with adult helmet, 40 inside
2pm 7 shinny hockey, 4 kids, 52 pleasure-skaters (9 kids with helmets), 44 inside

Sunday January 24, 2010

High 6, Low -1. Cloudy light rain beginning about 1 pm. Ice maintenance: 9am scrape, 11:45am scrape, 5pm scrape and removing water, 8pm scrape removing water

Monday January 25, 2010

High 7, Low 0. Cloudy light rain. (Rained quite a bit overnight)

Ice maintenance: 9am scrape, 11:45am scrape, 3:15pm scrape, 5pm scrape an extra time, 7pm - did not happen because these wasn't enough gas in machine and gas hook-up broken. He wanted to leave enough for the morning, 8:55pm scrape and flood

Numbers samples, 8pm 20 Shinny hockey (no helmet), 12 pleasure-skaters ( no helmets), 4 inside.

Tuesday January 26, 2010

Ice maintenance: pre8:30am scrape, 11:45am scrape - lever that lowers the blade was sticking, Brian said broken, 3:15pm scrape just fine, 7pm scrape, 8.55 pm scrape and flood both sides

The "pond hockey" time on the pleasure-skating side, when the building closes at 9 pm, has been a very pleasant scene for a few years now. But lately there's been trouble. There's a bunch of guys in their late teens or early twenties, and a few girlfriends too, who mainly pay attention to each other (including swearing at each other quite a bit) and who don't care that much about the rest.

Some other guys also gave the women a hard time tonight when they went on for women's shinny. Time to pay extra attention. Telling people like that to go to other rinks doesn't work -- not only would that move the problem, but also, a group like that often doesn't want to leave the "it" rink, the place where everybody goes, where you can be part of the popular scene. The trouble is, when they act bad like that, they spoil the scene that attracted them in the first place. But they don't see that -- they only see an attractive backdrop for their movie.

Wednesday January 27, 2010

High -2, Low -6.

Ice maintenance: 9am, 11:45am, 3:15 pm all scrapes, 7pm scrape, 8.55 s/f

The regular shinny hockey players say that this group sits at the side and drinks and smokes pot and messes up the scene. One of them wrote later:

Those guys last night have been out almost every night for the last few weeks. They really live in their own world. Some aren't as bad as others, but have the bad habit of breaking into spontaneous fights, dropping their gloves, and exercising their machismo. They'll mouth off and call each other the nastiest names. I'm disappointed at their treatment of the women during their hockey time. It's difficult to teach them to think of the bigger picture: that they're not entitled to the hockey side after 9pm with permits or hockey programs going on.

Groups of friends often come and while a few friends play on the ice, a number of their friends do not. They smoke and hover around the benches leaving little room for players to sit down or move around on the rubber mats. The only solution I can think of is for staff to maintain a presence around the pleasure skating side and get the smokers and those who are a nuisance to move away from the benches and outside the fence. There'd be less smoke in our face and it could reduce the traffic. I noticed one of the staff last night shooed a young man, who was on skates and smoking, off the ice and outside the fence. Later, some of the friends not on skates were running and sliding out on the ice. One of them was kicking a glass bottle around on the ice repeatedly.

This evening a group of these folks were so rude to the staff that they were asked to leave the rink. They went out and sat in their truck, parked beside the rink house. A woman from Corporate Security came by, and after she found out what had been happening, she decided to stick around.

After a little while they all got out of the truck and came back to the rink. A big guy wearing a red Ovechkin hockey shirt started complaining about the staff person who had asked them to leave. He said the staff were picking on him and his friends, and that they were being stereotyped because they wore baggy clothes. He said making his girlfriend leave would be unfair because it's unsafe for her to sit at home alone. When one of the staff tried to speak he cut her off saying there hadn't been any trouble until she came along. The staff person said she'd been working at Dufferin for 8 years. He said that couldn't be true because he had never seen her before.

The staff again told one of the women in the group to leave. She had been particularly rude that evening and also the day before. The young woman became irate and began shouting at the staff, and she refused to leave. There's a by-law against ignoring city staff's directions. So the Corporate Security staff person called police. The staff told the woman not to come back to the rink all season. A male friend of hers started to argue with the staff but the young woman told him to butt out because this was her fight. The police never showed up, and the woman just stayed there, taunting the staff, until the lights were out at 11 pm.

The regular players made it clear tonight that they appreciated having the extra staff around. No wonder!

When the lights went out, some of the group were waiting outside the rink, so the staff left the rink in a group to walk home.

Thursday January 28, 2010

High -4, Low -13. Light snow.

Ice maintenance: 9am scrape, 11:45 scrape, 3pm scrape, 7pm scrape, 9pm scrape and flood.

Even though it was quite cold in the evening, the group that's been causing so much trouble came back, mid-evening. They started right in, and the staff, prepared for this, called Corporate Security again. The staff from there arrived, and the same plot line unfolded. The group refused to leave, they argued with the corporate security staff, he called police, they didn't come. The police have bigger issues to deal with than what may appear to them as just a trivial annoyance. But for rink users it's not trivial in how it undermines their enjoyment of public space.

Time for plan B. At 9 o'clock there was a scheduled permit on the shinny hockey side, a neighbourhood permit of older men who have been playing there for years, and who have a big stake in helping the staff if asked. I talked to them before their permit began, asking them to back up the staff when they once again directed the group to leave. The young woman who had been told not to return the day before was sitting on the opposite side of the changeroom, and when she heard me she stood up and made a speech about her rights as a taxpayer, her knowledge of the law, and her need to expose the rink staff as the frauds that she felt them to be.

The changeroom became a kind of theater, with various people talking or shouting at once and the permit players mostly staring in amazement. This was not the usual Thursday night shinny hockey! As the speeches continued indoors, another part of the trouble-group was gathered outside at the gate, and they seemed to be more in doubt about what to do next. Some of them spoke in a fairly reasonable (or at least, cautious) way, saying they were ready to leave. But then the young woman ringleader came out with the rest of her friends, and the whole trouble-group assembled around her by the gate. The defiant speeches resumed. By this time the shinny hockey players were either out on the ice or standing by the gate, and soon almost everyone at the rink came near. The trouble-group refused to leave -- the speeches about rights and bad rink staff got more strident and colourful as the group savoured their power -- the police weren't coming -- stalemate!

Time to call their bluff. City staff are not allowed to touch anybody, and neither can I, but as an outsider I have a little more leeway. The young woman was carrying her sports bag, so I grabbed onto the strap and pulled the bag, with her on the other end of it, toward the gate. She began to shout "stop pushing me! you pushed me! I'm calling the police!" I asked her to please call the police and she took out her cell phone but didn't call them. One of the hockey players began filming the event, presumably to show that the sound track didn't correspond with the action. I pulled the strap toward the gate again, the shouting got even louder, and in the middle of all the crazy hubbub I said, "I'm making a citizen's arrest!" This allows staff to call the police and tell them someone is "holding a person," which puts the call fairly high on their priority list. The corporate security guy got on his cell phone.

The group moved to just outside the gate and the staff tried to close the gate. But the group blocked them from closing it. At some point I found myself pushed up against the chain-link gate with the young woman challenging me to fight. She had evidently lost her wits a bit, and in her mind a girl-fight was a possibility, even if her opponent was a 62-year-old grandmother. This improbable plot-twist may have caused her friends to urge her away from the gate, and the staff were able to close it.

The police arrived, and spoke to the group. One of the two officers came to talk to the people on the rink, including the staff. Apparently the young woman had told police that her brother was an almost-olympic-level hockey player, and she had come to the rink to watch her brother skate, and that the staff had told her that she couldn't stay unless she herself was skating, and that her rights to watch had been violated. The officer wanted to know if that was true. He soon heard the other part of the story, and so the officers issued her a ticket for trespass, and the group left.

The permit group began their game, and so did the players who had arrived to play "pond hockey" on the other rink pad. The moon was up, and almost full. Nobody seemed to feel the cold, and the main sound, among those fifty-odd players on both rink pads, was the swooshing of skates back and forth on the extra-hard ice, and the tap-tap-tap of sticks as the players signalled to each other to pass. Peace again.

Friday Jan.29 2010

The temperature this evening was minus 16 celsius. The Friday Night Supper message went like this:

Ice maintenance: pre 9am scrape both, 11:45 scrape, hockey side only on request by staff not to pleasure skate side b/c school kids on site 3:15 scrape, 7pm scrape, 8:55 scrape and flood.

7pm scrape

Despite the winter chill, all three local outdoor rinks were full of excited school kids today, skating and drinking hot chocolate. Tough Canadians! If you want to be a tough Canadian too, you can come to Dufferin Rink tonight and skate or only sit near the warm woodstove fire and eat this winter supper:

...followed by the menu of roast chicken and sunchokes risotto and vegan meat balls ans spaghetti in red-wine-tomato sauce.


woodstove in the rink clubhouse

Despite the cold, quite a few people came and sat by the fire. The homeless woman who's been living in the playground gazebo came in too -- minus sixteen is too cold even for her. So she had the vegan spaghetti and got ready to sleep in the rinkhouse overnight. There was another group in the park, who came to build snow lanterns in the middle of the soccer field. They looked so cold! But they stayed for hours, and built many little structures, tall ones and short ones and squat ones, each glowing with a candle inside.

The rink staff were on the lookout for the trouble-group from the night before, who had threatened to come back and beat up the staff. But they never showed up. Threats -- but for what? Nobody really knows.

Saturday Jan.30, 2010

High minus 11, low minus 15

Ice maintenance: pre 9am scrape, 2.45pm scrape, 5:15pm scrape pleasure, s/f hockey pad due to deep gouges, 8:55pm s/f both.

Numbers samples, 2:30pm 13 shinny players (5 kids with helmets), 17 pleasure skaters (3 kids with helmets), 20 inside

Another cold day, but friendly. At 9 pm there was a fast, quiet game of shinny on the hockey side only. The other side was empty. Too cold for most, but the people who were there looked really pleased.

Sunday January 31, 2010

High minus 4, low minus 14

Ice maintenance: pre 9am s/f, 5pm scrape, 8pm scrape and flood

Earlier Diary


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Content last modified on December 16, 2010, at 06:23 PM EST