wallace emerson park

Popular Toronto ice rink that is jam-packed nearly every night will soon be closed

A popular Toronto ice rink is expected to shut down after this season.

Plans to redevelop the Wallace Emerson Park and Community Centre, at Dupont and Dufferin, to make way for a mixed-use condo development have been in the works for a few years.

The development is expected to bring 2,696 condos units and 150 affordable housing units to the neighbourhood, along with roughly 300,000 square feet of retail space for boutique and shops. The project, called Reimagine Galleria, is to be built in four phases.

The plans include a new community centre and pool along with a redesign of the park. The city's timelines for the park and community centre indicate the project will start in winter 2022 and be complete, if all goes well, in fall 2024.

wallace emerson park

The current park includes a large skating rink and leisure skating pad. Map via Reimagine Galleria

Which means this is the last season for the Wallace Emerson hockey rink. Plans show the rink will be replaced with a skating trail and a small leisure skating pad but no dedicated space for hockey.

Regular rink user Jared Westreich tells blogTO the rink is very popular.

"The hockey rink is jam-packed every single night (typically around 30 players) and almost nobody is aware of the plan to remove it," says Westreich. "This will be a huge loss for the shinny hockey community."

wallace emerson park

Plans for the new park include a skating trail but the large ice rink is gone. Map via Reimagine Galleria

There are other rinks in the area but, he says, they are over-capacity so the situation will likely deteriorate further without Wallace Emerson.

"Shinny hockey is a great opportunity for people to get exercise and socialize during the winter months," he says. "It builds community and helps people grow their connections to their neighborhood."

Westreich started a petition to add a hockey rink to the park plans.

The existing park will increase in size from 6.58 acres to 7.81 acres, according to the city.

A partial closure of the park will be required during the construction of the first phase.

The first phase of the park improvements include a new fieldhouse with a snack bar, skate sharpening station, changing area and washrooms. Plans also include a refrigerated ice skating facility, multi-purpose court with basketball hoops, BMX/skateboard park, splash pad, new pathways, lighting, custom seating and outdoor furniture.

Lead photo by

Michael Monastyrskyj

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