Toronto rink allowing any skater to skate after high rollover

Elements of safety protocol had applied to the mid-sized rink, which was established after train collision killed seven teens last year Toronto city council is relaxing regulations for Canada’s biggest public ice skating rink,…

Toronto rink allowing any skater to skate after high rollover

Elements of safety protocol had applied to the mid-sized rink, which was established after train collision killed seven teens last year

Toronto city council is relaxing regulations for Canada’s biggest public ice skating rink, which has been in use since 1929.

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Concerns that the rink – at the city’s CN Tower complex – might have been compromised after last year’s high number of fatal rollovers in the lead-up to Christmas, helped prompt Toronto city council to introduce regulations. The original protocol included maintenance personnel and ice resurfacing crews.

The changes will allow anyone to skate on the rink, if they can actually skate, and will not require plumbers or professional ice resurfacers. On the water, a fisherman or kayaker will be allowed to get as close as safety standards allow. Council says there is no need to support a waterproof, electric blanket, and Councillor Joe Cressy, chair of the parks committee, has encouraged staff to “throw anything at the ice they’re familiar with”.

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“It’s a snowball’s chance in hell that any professional would have swiped this,” Cressy told the Guardian in an interview on Monday. He spoke following the large turnout at the minor league local hockey game that took place at the centre on Sunday, which drew up to 600 participants and their families. Toronto city council has created a #ForMore movement, which aims to “put Canada’s #1 spot in public skating out in the open”.

Phil Outhouse, sports marketing manager for CN Tower, said that December is usually busy, with around 25,000 residents using the rink. “We obviously want to improve safety protocols,” he said, but “there is a bit of leeway there because people are trying to find ways to have fun.”

There has been a bit of leeway because people are trying to find ways to have fun Nigel Dixon, Toronto fire chief

The building isn’t responsible for enforcing the safety procedures, Outhouse said, although he expects both levels of government to monitor the rink. “We will be looking to continue this season as before, and we’ll evaluate those changes in the future.”

A university biology professor said that the recent security checks would include both crew and maintenance. A National Post reporter attended a hockey game and reported that the security checks included shovels and a piece of paper with the legal requirements stamped into the front of it.

“You’re dealing with a somewhat chemical environment – I had chemicals on the dust jacket of my sneakers,” Dixon told the Guardian.

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City councillors debated for two hours on how to move forward in the wake of the train accident in December 2017. On that day, two semi-trailers loaded with wood, metal and equipment derailed near the waterfront, injuring a number of people and killing seven teenagers. During the Jan 7, 2018 vote on Toronto city council to make the changes, the debate was passionate. Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam asked her fellow councillors to “think of the victims and the family”.

“What a tragedy that the TTC [Toronto Transit Commission] tracks of Toronto are not properly maintained,” retired NHL player Jim Thomson said in an interview. “The age of the rails themselves isn’t the issue; we’re talking about our children and our future.”

“Many families can afford a ticket for one skate over the Christmas season,” councillor Gord Perks said. “I wish we could encourage more people to do so.”

• This article was amended on 12 November 2018 to clarify that, contrary to a report in the Globe and Mail, no chemical or power-generating devices have been banned. A National Post reporter reported that the firefighters used a shovel and a piece of paper to police security. The note on the sheet of paper read “Additional security procedures please”.

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