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posted December 10, 2006
The first outdoor rink to open in Toronto this year was Harbourfront Rink, on Nov.19. Then City Hall Rink opened on Nov.25, then Dufferin Rink on Dec.2. Most others were not scheduled to open until Dec.9.
During the warm spells at the end of November, City Hall had water on it, apparently because of an ice maintenance error. But Harbourfront held up just fine – on Friday Dec.1, that rink had over 100 people on it at 17 degrees, skating under the pink and blue floodlights there. New York City did even better: they opened Central Park Ice Rink on Oct.20 this year, and had no trouble with late November temperatures of 18 degrees. The sun is very weak in November – exactly the low sun these compressor-run outdoor rinks work best in. That’s the sun of early to mid-winter. The outdoor rinks begin to struggle when the sun gets higher and stronger toward the end of February. The City rinks web site will chronicle the weather and ice conditions every day this winter until March 18, when the last outdoor rinks (including Dufferin Rink) are scheduled to close. Then rink friends will make another pitch to City Council’s “Parks and the Environment” committee, to bring the rink season back to the excellent mid-November-to-end-of-February schedule that they were built for. One of these years, we may finally carry our point.