Category: Rink

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

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!

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.

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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