Many continue to toboggan on a popular Toronto hill despite closure

The Riverdale Park East toboggan hill still sees many visitors despite city's concerns

Kids get ready to slide down closed toboggan hill.
Kids get ready to slide down the Riverdale Park East toboggan hill on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 despite city safety warnings. Sean Leca/Toronto Observer

Some Torontonians continue to toboggan on a Riverdale Park East hill after the city closed the hill to toboggans for what the city calls a “high risk of injuries.”

The hill has developed “severe ridges and drops”, and may result in serious injuries to those tobogganing, according to an official City of Toronto sign posted at the top of the hill. Soil has shifted on the hill due in part to freezing and thawing of the ground over the last few months, and the hill will remain closed for the winter until the soil can be re-graded in the spring, according to reporting by the CBC.

Tony Le, a man tobogganing on the hill, thinks the warnings aren’t persuasive.

“If it’s about our safety, I’m indifferent [towards] it, but it’s obviously not stopping the people here from going down the hill and having some fun,” Le said Saturday. “If it really is dangerous, then they should have given us a more extreme warning.”

Many of those tobogganing weren’t aware about the hill’s closure. A Toronto Observer reporter talked to at least four people on Friday and Saturday who didn’t notice the warning signs at the top of the hill and didn’t know the hill was closed.

Amy (who declined to provide her last name), brought her young son to toboggan on the hill Saturday. She said she wouldn’t have come had she known about the closure.

“I’m a bit of a rule follower, so I guess if it’s closed, I’m not coming back until it’s open again,” she said. Amy suggested that the warning signs at the top of the hill should be larger, brighter, and more “menacing” in order to be effective.

For Le, the crowd of people tobogganing makes him want to stay despite the warnings.

“It’s the people here that [are] keeping me here,” Le said. “These people who are here having some fun, it makes me want to join even more.”

When Toronto Observer was there, at least two-dozen people were tobogganing at the site.

People who are tobogganing on the hill could theoretically be ticketed by a by-law officer, according to the CBC. Shane Gerrard, a spokesman for Toronto’s Parks, Forestry, and Recreation department, said there could be by-law against using the hill to toboggan, although he says he doesn’t think it’s “being enforced.”

Le is not scared by the threat of a ticket.

“I guess if they’re gonna have to give [me] a ticket, they would have to give us all a ticket,” Le said.

Torontonians looking to satisfy their tobogganing itch can visit hills in Riverdale West, Withrow Park, or numerous other locations across Toronto.  


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Posted: Mar 12 2019 3:02 pm
Filed under: News