Sorauren Rink closed for the season

Photo of the natural ice rink as it melts and turns to water under warm grey skies. Surrounded by snowbanks.
I’m melting…

The warmer temperatures have brought an end to this year’s season at the Sorauren natural ice rink.

Special thanks this year to:

Everyone who came to enjoy the rink and followed the extraordinary public health rules.

Teenagers and kids of all ages: not having shinny sucked! We recognize the sacrifice made by all players. Shinny will rise again. Thanks to the many teenagers who helped on flooding and shovelling crews.

Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff: The COVID rules meant a new level of collaboration with year, with City staff opening up the Fieldhouse at 9 pm nightly and 7 am on weekends to provide access to water and heated storage for the hoses. Thanks for the late nights and early mornings.

Returning sponsors: Scooter Girl Toys, Snap Fitness High Park and especially this year Chander Chaddah, Sutton Group Associates. They support the rink financially (and in spirit) so that we can purchase replacement hoses and boards, erect additional signage, and pay for volunteer recruitment efforts like the cool toques. #ShopLocal

Sorauren Hosers Rink Crew: the volunteers who make it happen every year. “The Sorauren Hosers are a highly organized crack squad of ice-masters,” says the West End Phoenix. This year it was more important than ever for the Hosers to get the rink established, knowing it’s a friendly outlet for community physical and mental health. They’ll be back next winter.

View of the frozen natural ice rink surrounded by snow banks and showing the snow banks down the middle that turned the rink into a skating trail, a special design for 2021 COVID season. Blue skies with clouds.
February 20, 2021
2021 Rink Sponsors

A letter from the Sorauren Hosers

Evening scene lit by park lights, a lone man with a hose floods the natural ice rink at the park.
The rink is flooded every night at 9 pm by volunteer Sorauren Hosers, and weekend early mornings, when conditions allow.

February 5, 2021

Dear Friends of Sorauren Park, Neighbours of Roncesvalles, Parkdale, High Park, WDW, Junction, Bloor West & Brockton,

We are the Sorauren Park Hosers. A dedicated group of ice enthusiasts who love nothing more than to build a rink for everyone to enjoy. Our group floods the rink at Sorauren Park 9 times a week, logging in over 60hrs of volunteer work to keep the rink quality up and the ice surface safe. That is on top of the scores of hours needed to create over 3 inches of ice just to cover footprints.

The Hoser Crew loves seeing the community enjoy our hard work. This year it was even more important to us to build a usable rink to help offset all the shutdowns and restricted access to recreation due to COVID-19.

Unfortunately, those restrictions also affect our community supported, free-use natural ice rink. The City of Toronto has passed the responsibility of monitoring compliance of the safe use rules onto the Hoser Crew. We have been informed that By-Law officers may be following up to confirm those rules are being respected. Signs have been posted around the rink, but in case you missed them allow us to share them here:

  • NO SHINNY (provincial orders also prohibit practicing, no hockey sticks)
  • MAXIMUM 25 people
  • STAY 2 METRES APART except for members of your own household
  • WEAR A MASK

The one rule we all struggle with the most is “No Shinny”. There is nothing more enjoyable than an afternoon of Shinny with your friends and family. The Hoser Crew loves a good game too. Remember the 2019 Hoser Celebrity Shinny game? That was the most fun that we, as a collective team, have had together in the many years that we have been building this rink.

Over the last couple of days the Hoser Crew has been conversing on how to encourage the community to respect safe use of our hard work. Many of us have had to remind shinny players of the rules and have pointed to the signs outlining the City’s guidelines. Unfortunately, the shinny games continue and we now have to take some additional steps to prevent the potential for fines, rink shutdown or both.

This weekend the Hoser Crew will be redesigning the rink experience by creating snow islands in the middle of each of the two pads. These islands will create more of a skating trail to encourage physically distanced skating and discourage shinny. With the warmer weather Thursday and Friday this seems like the right time to rethink our COVID-era rink. The surface is in pretty bad shape and it will take at least 40 to 50 hrs. of labour Friday, Saturday and Sunday to get it back to where it was last weekend.

From the bottom of our Hoser hearts we thank you all for taking the time to read this message. We also thank you in advance for helping us out by respecting the rules of use. Let’s hope that next season we can all gather again around the rink with a fire, pizza, hot cocoa and enjoy a celebrity shinny game amongst this city’s greatest community!

Drone shot showing Sorauren Rink, snow-covered park and town square, the linseed building and Toronto skyline in the background including CN Tower
Our patch of ice, maintained by volunteers with the support of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation. Photo by Oliver Vollmer.

Sorauren Park 25th Anniversary doc now on YouTube

If you missed the debut of our special anniversary documentary on Facebook Watch Party, fear not… you can watch the half-hour doc on YouTube any time you like.

25 Years of Community Building: The Story of Sorauren Park, captures great archival footage from the early 1990s when the community was fighting for the park. See interviews with advocates, then and now, talking about the early days and what the park has become. Other volunteers tell the story of the park and its role as a community hub, including through the pandemic.

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Sorauren Park Watch Party doc premiere Dec. 4!

Mark your calendar and join us Friday, December 4 at 7 pm on Facebook for a very special event: the documentary premiere of 25 Years of Community Building – The Story of Sorauren Park. The half-hour video tells the story, past, present and future, of our community park, with amazing archival footage and interviews with park volunteers.

Produced by the Friends of Sorauren Park, the video will be shown as a Facebook Watch Party. Visit the Watch Party event page to get reminders and to see the show.

For maximum enjoyment, make sure to visit the Revue Cinema concession stand, open at 6 pm that evening, to get your popcorn, candy, soda, cider or even beer from their take-out service. Support our local non-profit cinema!

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Sorauren Stories: Artists of Sorauren released

Artists Leslie Norgate and Michael Gerry are featured on two episodes of Sorauren Stories: Artists of Sorauren

Sorauren Park’s 25th Anniversary video series, Sorauren Stories, continues this month with the release of Artists of Sorauren Park, two short episodes featuring painters Michael Gerry and Leslie Norgate.

Both local residents, Michael and Leslie have found inspiration in the people, nature, buildings and moods of Sorauren Park.

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Spacing photo essay on Sorauren Park

A park in a pandemic, by photographer Chloë Ellingson

Spacing magazine has published a photo essay by photographer Chloë Ellingson, a local resident, on how residents have been using the park in the pandemic.

Like other city parks, Sorauren Park has seen a noticeable increase in daily usage, even as permitted activities have been cancelled.

Says Spacing:

During the summer days of the pandemic, local photographer Chloë Ellingson found herself spending much more time in Sorauren Park than she ever had before, despite it being only a few blocks away from her place of many years. And she was not alone — many nearby residents would spend their entire days at the park. She took it upon herself to talk to her new ‘neighbours’ throughout the course of a day to discover how life during the pandemic had brought them together.

Thanks Spacing and Chloë Ellingson for featuring our corner of the city.

City starts community centre consultations Sept. 22

A City of Toronto video invites you to get involved in planning the new Wabash Community Centre at Sorauren Park

After a COVID delay the City of Toronto with its consultants and architects is starting community consultations for the new Wabash Community Centre at Sorauren Park.

The first event is a Virtual Town Hall on September 22 from 7 to 8 pm. Virtual small group discussions follow on September 28, and an online survey will run from September 14 to October 5. All details including registration information is posted on the City’s project page. Look under “Get Involved.”

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Take the Tree Tour of Sorauren Park

Join Dakoda, Cedar and Jon for the Sorauren Park Virtual Tree Tour, a series of eight special short videos

Did you know Sorauren Park is home to one of the few surviving elm trees in Toronto? Do you know which tree in the park evolved to proliferate through a special relationship with mastodons? Do you know which park tree is a Great Tree of Peace for the Haudenosaunee Confederacy?

Expand your knowledge of the trees of Sorauren Park by taking the new Sorauren Park Virtual Tree Tour, hosted by our young interviewers Dakoda and Cedar, with special guest expert Jon Hayes of the High Park Nature Centre. The series highlights six special trees, with an introduction and conclusion, and is part of the 25th anniversary celebration of Sorauren Park.

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Sorauren Park life now on YouTube

Visit our new YouTube channel… new videos added regularly.

Since we can’t show movies in the park this year, the Friends of Sorauren Park are making our own movies, and bringing them to screens across the neighbourhood and around the world.

Sorauren Stories is our 2020 summer video program, starting with the ongoing Dogs of Sorauren Park series, a new People of Sorauren Park series, and the upcoming Trees of Sorauren Park and 25th Anniversary special. Videos will appear on all Friends of Sorauren Park social media platforms, and will also be compiled on our new YouTube channel, with closed-captioning.

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Sorauren Stories comes to a screen near you

For a summer like no other, the Friends of Sorauren Park have launched a fun new program to enjoy and learn about the park while keeping everyone safe. Sorauren Stories is a series of videos and video events about the park, its people and pets, its natural history, its human history, and its power to inspire.

The series is rolling out across Friends of Sorauren Park media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, our website and newsletter, with interactive elements in the park itself.

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Community centre survey results and presentation

The Friends of Sorauren Park presented the results of its Wabash Community Centre survey and consultation process June 4 at FOSP’s first-ever webinar.

More than 100 people registered for the event which was also attended by Councillor Gord Perks and City staff.

FOSP chair Joël Campbell and directors Stephen Dorsey and Donna MacMullin walked participants through the survey results. (View the full presentation deck.) Almost 1,200 community members responded to the survey.

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Support the businesses that support Sorauren Park

Image of heart over aerial photo of Sorauren Park and neighbouring communities

Over the years many local businesses have supported the programming, activities and projects that make Sorauren Park a treasured part of the community. They’ve done this with cash sponsorships or donations, in-kind donations of goods or services, or other types of support.

Now is our time to support them (even more!) to keep our community strong and ready for a return to normal, whatever the new normal looks like. Use our directory below to support our supporters, and check business status.

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Railpath extension final design protects for link to Sorauren

Map from West Toronto Railpath final design showing future link to Sorauren Park
Railpath extension includes provision for future bridge into Sorauren Park

The final design for the southward extension of the West Toronto Railpath continues to include a provision for a future bridge into Sorauren Park. A February 26 public meeting in a packed room at Museum of Contemporary Art showed the plans in maps and diagrams.

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Diamond Schmitt Architects hired for Wabash Community Centre

Photo of old brick linseed factory, bright sunlight on the west wall

The old linseed mill at 40 Wabash Avenue, site of the future community centre

The City of Toronto has hired one of Canada’s best-known architecture firms to design the new Wabash Community Centre at Sorauren Park. Diamond Schmitt Architects was awarded the work after an open bid process. Councillor Gord Perks confirmed the news at the November meeting of Friends of Sorauren Park.

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Please stay off rink during thaw

The Sorauren natural ice rink is closed during this (and every) thaw. Please stay off the surface during this time. Footprints create damage that delays restoration of the rink surface when it gets colder.

The all-volunteer Sorauren Hosers Rink Crew is hoping the blanket of snow will help insulate the surface for a return to action when temperatures drop.

This has been a great season and with a little luck we hope to extend it as long as possible. Thanks for your help!

Rink box built, waiting for right conditions

Photo of the newly erected rink boards, the 2 x 8s that mark the perimeter of the rink, placed on the baseball diamond at Sorauren Park.
Waiting for a week of below-zero temperatures to properly flood and build up the ice surface

Masked and physically distanced volunteers from the Sorauren Hosers Ice Rink Crew have installed the rink box on the baseball diamond. Now the waiting game begins. It takes a week of consistent below-zero temperatures to build up the ice layers to open the rink.

We are also carefully watching the public health situation to see how it might affect rink operations this year. The City’s outdoor artificial ice rinks are currently open, but attendance is capped at 25 people at any one time. The City issues permits for community-built and maintained natural ice rinks (the Hosers obtain a permit every year).

The community can help by keeping off the future rink area inside of the rink box, especially in warmer temperatures. Footprints create craters that add considerable extra work and delay the opening.

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