It’s all downhill for tobogganing ban at Riverdale Park East

Kids and parents ignore closure of hill by city for safety concerns

Tobogganing may have been banned as unsafe at Riverdale Park East, but that hasn’t kept everyone off what is often considered Toronto’s best hill for winter fun.

Dozens of kids and adults ignored a prohibiting sign and fencing to ride their sleds and toboggans down the slopes to take advantage of recent snow.

Crews put up the sign and fence at the top of the hill, along the west side of Broadview Avenue, after the city parks department officially closed the hill for tobogganing last week.

The hill was closed because the terrain “has developed severe ridges and drops that create high risk of injury,” according to the signs.

City staff have said their annual assessment of the hill showed its condition had worsened from previous years.

The hill’s persistent fans don’t seem to mind.

“It seems okay to me,” said one adult with child and sled in tow at the hill on Sunday. “You always have to be careful going down hills but I think this is the city being too concerned for safety and not enough for good, Canadian fun.”

He also pointed out he hadn’t seen any police on Broadview enforcing the ban.

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He did not want his name used or picture taken, however, as he and his child continued their runs downhill.

Some adults asked the Streeter photographer not to take identifiable pictures of them or their children using the hill.

Others have continued to promote the hill for tobogganing online or have tweeted opposition to the ban.

Toronto-Danforth councillor Paula Fletcher wrote to Toronto’s director of parks on Jan. 24, “Your decision to close the toboggan hill at Riverdale Park took me by surprise.”

In a followup letter she called it very disappointing that this “world class toboggan hill” has been closed on the weekend of the first snowfall of the season.

She invited staff to a site visit this week to determine a long-term fix to the safety problems on the hill.

The prohibiting sign directed tobogganers to other hills in Toronto, naming Riverdale Park West in Cabbagetown, which can be seen across the Don Valley from Riverdale Park East, and Withrow Park, further east near Pape and Danforth avenues.

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Posted: Jan 28 2019 11:45 pm