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February 2008

posted February 08, 2008

Dufferin Grove Park Newsletter


Volume 9, Nr.2, February 2008

For an independent community email list service and discussion group, see dufferingrovefriends

posted February 08, 2008

Cluster Rink Events: Dufferin - Wallace - Campbell - Christie


Friday Feb 8, 7pm-10pm, Saturday Feb 9, 9am-7:30pm: The 3rd Annual THE WOMEN OF WINTER OUTDOOR SHINNY TOURNAMENT From women’s hockey organizer Deirdre Norman: Fifty women shinny players of all ages and levels of play are back on the ice to play the game we all love. Not just another pretty game, TWOW is action packed and community focused. Come on and check us out. If you normally play shinny at Dufferin Rink, that weekend is a good time to try out Wallace, Campbell and Christie Rinks. There are schedules for all those rinks available at Dufferin Rink.

Saturday February 16, 6 pm to 10 pm: The annual bike couriers’ BIKE RACES ON ICE. This tournament will once again have the initial elimination rounds on the hockey side only, followed by a two-rink final that can be very exciting (and occasionally a bit bloody, if there’s a collision – the bike tires have many little studs in them). This event is just as much fun inside the rink house, with a corner set up as a pit-stop bike repair station, and lots of unusual bikes (and unusual cyclists).


*Two Neighbourhood Shinny Tournaments at Campbell Rink* - There's still room to sign up! You can register with a team, or be placed on one. These are organized tournaments with referees, a score keeper and a time keeper. *Ages 16-20*: Sunday February 17, 10:00am-5:00pm. It's $8 per person/$45 per team of 6 to join, and you get snack bar food and drinks throughout the day, plus medals for 1st and 2nd place teams. To join contact Chris Pacheco at or 416-392-0911, or write your name on the sign-up sheet at Wallace, Campbell, or Dufferin Rinks. *Ages 10-15*: Sunday February 24, 10:00am-5:00pm. Registration is free, and there'll be prizes for the winners. To join contact Dan Watson at, call 416-392-0913, or put your name on the sign-up sheets at Campbell, Wallace, and Dufferin Rinks. Things have come a long way since the days of no shinny at all on Sundays!

CAMPBELL FAMILY SATURDAYS: from 4 to 6 pm: campfire with free hot dogs and hot chocolate, plus $2 skate rentals and music to skate to. This is a step toward reintroducing pleasure-skating at Campbell Rink. Everyone welcome!


Sunday Feb 24 2- 6pm: The Gas Station Islanders' Family Skate'n'Shinny Rock'n'Roll Day. This is a family-friendly program in partnership with the City of Toronto. The Gas Station Islanders are a member of the Good Times Hockey League of the Arts ( From the organizers: "The Gas Station Islanders hockey club would like invite absolutely everybody to come out for an afternoon of shinny and hockey skills competitions for all ages." There'll be soup and cider at the campfire, live rink-side bands (featuring Don Kerr, Tim Vesley and Dylan Hudecki), a raffle, and drop-in shinny drills and skills competitions on the hockey pad from 3:00pm-5:30pm. The event is also a fundraiser for Right2Play ( - an organization that organizes sport-oriented programs for children in areas affected by war, poverty and disease. If you want to pitch in, the suggested donation is $5.


From 2 to 4, campfire with hot chocolate (free!) and hot dogs.


Member of Parliament Olivia Chow is having a skating party on Monday, February 18 (Family Day), from 2 to 4pm, with rink staff helping out. There will $2 skate rentals, Olivia Chow’s favourite music CDs, and hot chocolate and cider at a campfire. Everyone welcome. Christie Family Sundays with campfires, the rest of February also: every Sunday from 2.30 to 4.30 pm.


The rinks will be on a holiday schedule (posted at the rink, or look at All city rinks were directed to reduce their hours (4 hours less than normal) on the holiday. That would mean keeping Dufferin Rink closed all morning of the holiday Monday. On February 6, CELOS sent a letter to Malcolm Bromley, the city’s Recreation Director, suggesting that the snack bar income from Wallace and Campbell rinks could be used to restore the four nearby rinks to normal hours on the holiday ($240 altogether). There would be enough funds to help keep a few other rinks open for the normal hours elsewhere in the city, as well. Mr.Bromley replied that he would ask his staff to work with CELOS “to find a solution that doesn’t require a donation.” This isn’t really a donation, it’s putting snack bar funds to work. But it turns out that Mr.Bromley will permit the four local rinks – Christie, Campbell, Wallace, and Dufferin, to be open for the normal hours, without being cut back. So that leaves the snack bar funding for helping some other city rinks stay open longer on the holiday. Wonderful. On holidays people have more time to skate!


Monday – Friday before 9 p.m.:

  • 9:00am - 3:15pm all ages (New: on Monday and Friday the rink may not open until 10am, for occasional extra ice maintenance – check at 416 392-0913)
  • 3.15pm - ice maintenance
  • 3:30pm - 5:30pm Level 2 (about 13 to 17, medium pace)
  • 5:30pm - 7:00pm Level 1 (12 and under and parent or caregiver, or novice adult)
  • 7.00pm ice maintenance
  • 7.15pm – 8.55pm Level 3 (18 and over, fast-paced)

After 9 pm: Monday 9 pm: Seasonal permit (plus “pond hockey” on the pleasure-skating side).
Tuesday 9 - 11 pm: Women’s open shinny (plus “pond hockey” on the pleasure-skating side).
Wednesday 9-10 pm: Seasonal permit. 10-11pm: “beginners only” drop-in shinny (plus “pond hockey” on the pleasure-skating side).
Thursday 9 pm: Seasonal permit (plus “pond hockey” on the pleasure-skating side).
Friday 9 pm: Seasonal permit (plus “pond hockey” on the pleasure-skating side)


  • 9:00am - 10:00a.m. 9 years old and under, plus caregiver
  • 10 am – 12 noon all ages

Pleasure-skating side (9.30 - 1.30 learn-to-skate program on part of the ice)

  • 12:00pm - 1:30pm Level 1 (12 and under and parent or caregiver, or novice adult)
  • 1.30 pm – ice maintenance
  • 1:45pm - 3:45pm all ages
  • 3:45pm - 5:15pm Level 2 (about 13 to 17, medium pace)
  • 5.15pm – ice maintenance
  • 5:30pm - 7:00pm all ages
  • 7:00pm - 8:55pm Level 3 (usually 18 and over, fast paced)
  • 8.55pm – ice maintenance.
  • 9.10 pm: single-occasion permit (open shinny on pleasure-skating side)


  • 10:00am - 5:00pm No shinny hockey. Pleasure skating both sides.
  • 5-6.30 pm: parent/child shinny program, by registration, pleasure skating other side
  • 6.30-8 p.m. local adult shinny program, by registration, pleasure-skating other side
  • 8-9.30 pm. Seasonal permit, pleasure-skating other side to 9, then “pond hockey”
  • 9.30-11: youth shinny program (plus “pond hockey” on the pleasure-skating side)


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 runs some drills and passing practice and then supervises a game. For more information, call the park at 416 392-0913, and ask for Dan Watson.


Dufferin Rink is scheduled to stay open to the end of March break, that is, to March 16. Outdoor ice rinks do poorly in March because the angle of the sun is too high and therefore on sunny days the ice is bad even in below-zero temperatures. This winter again, on sunny days the rink staff will close the rink to skaters all afternoon until dark. Remember to call ahead: 416 392-0913. (That’s also the citywide rink hotline.)



Fifteen minutes away from Dufferin Rink there are two more outdoor rinks, WallaceRink (at Dufferin and Dupont just south of the Galleria Shopping Mall) and Campbell Rink (on Campbell Avenue just north of Wallace Avenue, south of Dupont). For the first time this year they’re under the same supervision as Dufferin Rink. Each of the three rinks has different features, so try them all!

Wallace Rink, newly rebuilt last year with a circular pleasure skating pad as well as a hockey pad, has $2 skate rental every day. The loaner-skates collection started with a gift of 20 pairs collected by Deirdre Norman of the Women of Winter women’s shinny program. Rink staffer Dan Watson collected 30 more, numbered them all, keeps them all sharp, and has set up a lending system. There’s also a daily snack bar with mini-pizzas and cookies, juice and pop. On Thursdays it’s WOMEN’S SHINNY from 8.30 to 10 pm. And on Sundays it’s family day with a campfire by the rink from 2 to 4pm (with hot chocolate, marshmallows, and hot dogs), and sometimes music. The bright, new rink change room is open until 9 pm every evening, set up with games and kids’ books for breaks between skating. After 9 pm there is no staff supervision of the rink – it’s a “pond” then, often with pond hockey on the pleasure-skating side while a permit uses the hockey side.

Campbell Rink is a large single pad located in Campbell Park, at the south end of the summer soccer destination for the Toronto Eagles’ soccer club. It’s completely surrounded by houses. It’s much more of a neighbourhood rink, and at most times it is shared-use: usually shinny hockey with sometimes a few pleasure skaters around the outside. Campbell Rink is unsupervised on weekdays, but the change room is open between 3.30 and 9pm, with hot chocolate, cookies hot dogs, and juice or pop. Checkers and chess are also set up. Every Saturday from 4 to 6 is supervised pleasure-skating only, with a campfire, free hot chocolate and hot dogs, and $2 skate rentals (and sometimes music).


The rink information web site run by CELOS has broadened its scope to include all 49 city rinks plus the outdoor rink at Harbourfront. There’s a map showing all the locations, each rink has its own information section, and there are lots of stories from the CELOS rink visitors and rink users, often with pictures. The CELOS rink visitors are working on a report card for each individual rink, with specific suggestions for improvements when necessary. All rink user suggestions welcome! The updated City of Toronto Outdoor Artificial Ice Rinks Report will be published in mid-February.

posted February 09, 2008


The CELOS group (CEntre for LOcal Research into Public Space) has been tracking the Parks, Forestry and Recreation budget for some years. Last year we hired an economics researcher to find out the budget trends from before amalgamation to now -- no easy feat but not entirely impossible either. He wrote a paper that we published on the web site, and on Tuesday February 5, I made a deputation to the Budget Committee, drawing in part on that research.

CELOS has been trying to find out what has caused Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PF&R) to be so "cash-strapped." This year (for example) this department’s net tax funding will be around $235.5 million, and yet they say they need $84 million more (from user fees etc.).

Since payroll is the biggest expense by far, we looked there. Our budget researcher found an increase of 787 full-time-equivalent jobs over the last ten years. That's could certainly be one reason why the budget has gone up so steeply.

But this year’s 2008 City Budget document says there was a PF&R "staffing growth" of only 186 in the ten years since amalgamation. So: what’s the real number? The general manager said our numbers are not right, even though our researcher used all the previous city budgets as his source. We asked her to show us our mistakes, but got no response. At the same time, the new budget request by Parks, Forestry and Recreation asked for another increase of 64 full-time-equivalent staff, bringing the total number of “full-time-equivalent” positions to 4186.

CELOS wanted to bring this piece of confusing information, and other omissions and contradictions, to the Budget Committee's attention in our deputation. We suggested that the councillors need to know more in order to make good decisions. However, for now the councillors seem to be uninterested in finding out more -- when my five minutes were up, they thanked me politely and returned to the Arts presentations.

But CELOS will continue to publish our research about budget details. By now we’ve learned quite a bit -- and what we’ve been unable to find is just as interesting. For example, the recent "Everybody gets to Play" user fee report often cites a program review which city manager Shirley Hoy also emphasized in her Budget address: the "review cost recovery model for recreation." The 2008 city budget lists this report as completed, but after three weeks of trying to get a copy, CELOS found out that it's being held for publishing until March. Yet the abolition of the Priority centres, and perhaps also the permit fees, are based on this unavailable report.

To find out more about the budget, go to


The web site has become the most frequently visited spin-off from the original web site, at least during the winter. And now the web site is taking a lot of work and attention, as more and more of the research material gets posted. The web site is branching off because it has so much material on its own. As for the website, one of its most active areas is the neighbourhood services page, with a growing list of neighbourhood recommendations (and a few cautions) about roofers, handymen, book-keepers, schools, restaurants – everything. Have a look, and send in your favourites too.


The Bloor Supermarket, north side of Bloor at Delaware. The folks who run this are originally Chinese, via Lima, Peru. So their store has a wonderful variety of fresh produce across the spectrum, excellent fresh fruits and vegetables including more unusual items like a variety of spicy peppers, egg plants, bok choi, tomatillos, and almost anything else you fancy. The dairy section has organic milk in returnable bottles, and they sell fresh Montreal bagels that come in at 9 every morning. The proprietors are cosmopolitan and friendly and you’re very likely to run into your neighbours there too – seven days a week.


On the morning of February 7, market day, one of the park bakers was struck by the zamboni as it came off the rink toward the garage. The zamboni was traveling very slowly, and although the baker was actually pushed under the machine between the two front wheels, he was unhurt. Thankfully another rink staff alerted the driver to stop before the augur reached the baker. The problem is, zambonis are an odd shape up front and that makes it hard for the driver to see ahead. So pedestrians, take care when passing any of the three gates when the zamboni is near – remember it’s hard for the driver to see you. Also, the rink staff have put up STOP signs at each rink exit, to remind the drivers that it’s the same as crossing an intersection – you have to stop and look before you drive on. Read More


In early February, Ryerson nutrition professor Janet Chappell asked for someone to come and talk to her class about food in Dufferin Grove Park. After the class she donated $200 for new skates for the skate-loaner program. Skate-master Dan Watson is thrilled to go back to Canadian Tire again and get another couple of good pairs of the smaller sizes that are in short supply. And then came a shocker: park friend David Rothberg, who’s been coming to Dufferin Grove for years, announced one day a few weeks ago that he had decided to donate $5000 to the outreach work of the rink staff. In his letter he wrote: “My reasons for asking you to take the money are:

  • I want the feeling of community to permeate my city
  • I prize activity.

David and his wife Alicia Peres are the parents of an enthusiastic small shinny hockey player. They like the fact that the local schools, like the one their son attends, can come to the rinks and have a really good time. So some of the funds found their way to Campbell Rink immediately, and the school visits, with free hot chocolate and free skate and helmet loans, doubled in number. As for the getting the feeling of community to permeate elsewhere – any neighbourhood group that wants a bit of help in livening up their rink, this rink season or next – call 416 392-0913. With this donation, the motto is: “Have campfires/portable bake-oven/loaner skates/Dufferin Grove bread – WILL TRAVEL.”



The three months when skaters and market-goers share the rink house are an interesting challenge. Market-goers, please be nice to the skaters – they have to change their skates outside on Thursday afternoons, no matter how cold the weather, and they have to be extra careful not to step on anyone, with their sharp skate blades. Skaters, please be friendly to market-goers – they’re stocking their pantries with wonderful food, much of it locally-grown even in the depth of winter. You can have some of this bounty too – check it out! And if you’re shopping on skates and then want to go back out on the ice, you can lock up your groceries in a rink locker until you’re ready to go home. That’s a pretty enjoyable way to get your grocery shopping done.


Newsletter prepared by: Jutta Mason

Illustrations: Jane LowBeer

Web site: Henrik Bechmann

Park phone: 416 392-0913

Park web site:


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