December 12, 2014
City Centre Mirror
A year after being shut down due to an ammonia leak, midtown Toronto’s Hodgson ice rink is back up and running better than ever.
Even prior to the leak, which would have posed serious health and safety problems for families had the rink not been shut down, Hodgson was in dire need of repairs.
“It was 30-year-old infrastructure and it was failing,” said Ward 22 councillor Josh Matlow, who worked to mobilize the community and broker a deal to get the rink up and running when the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) was talking about shutting it down completely.
“(Last year) the TDSB was giving the city a hard time about even renewing the lease there,” Matlow said.
Thanks to the community’s efforts, and with help from TDSB Trustee Shelley Laskin, the midtown rink was completely rebuilt, allowing local leagues and families to continue to enjoy the facility. Two ice pads will allow for permitted league games and shinny games or free skates to take place simultaneously.
“What we have there now is a modern, new and improved rink,” Matlow noted.
The rink opened at the end of November, ahead of schedule. City staff had originally suggested it would likely be reopened in mid-December but had warned that it could be shut down even longer than that.
Even though Hodgson will once again be open for both recreational and organized skates, there are plans to once again implement the solution the community used last winter to make up for the loss of their beloved Hodgson rink.
“Last year, as a stopgap measure while the rink was shut down to the ammonia leak, myself and a number of neighbourhood parents made a natural rink across the street in June Rowlands Park,” the councillor said. “It was near what I had named the Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground, so we called the natural rink the Skinnamarink. While Hodgson is up and running again, we’re still planning on having the natural rink.”
To celebrate the reopening of the Hodgson ice rink, Matlow will host a community skating party with free coffee and hot cider by local retailer Aroma from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 14. The rink is located behind Hodgson Public School at Mount Pleasant Road and Davisville Avenue.
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