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

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.

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