City councillor Bradford brings anti-tobogganing ban campaign to city council meeting

Residents are defying the ban at his local tobogganing hill, he said

Photo of East Lynn park which has been the center of controversy due to the Tobogganing ban in Toronto.
Tobogganing ban sign in East Lynn park at Danforth and Woodbine on Jan. 24th, 2024. (Liam Lachapelle/Toronto Observer) 

Beaches-East York city councillor Brad Bradford brought forward a motion in Feb. 6’s city council meeting to lift a ban on sledding in several Toronto parks.

This comes after the city announced Jan. 14 that it was banning tobogganing in 45 parks, including some in Bradford’s ward.

“It’s the no-fun city when you start seeing them cracking down on tobogganing, especially in a place that has decades of experience and a tradition of tobogganing,” Bradford told CBC News.

“For years — decades — families have been tobogganing in this park in my community. I even bring my own daughter here,” he told Beach Metro News.

Bradford told city council Tuesday that he has a petition signed by 500 people which calls for a reversal of the ban.

The city targeted parks with obstacles or obstructions on the path straight to the bottom of the hill like trees, pools, light posts, fences and the like.

This decision sparked controversy with discussions around the effectiveness of the ban, whether the decision to sled should be left up to the individual or caregiver/parent, and whether there are other precautions and safety measures the city could take instead.

Bradford is spearheading the reversal of the ban. He did not respond to interview requests from the Toronto Observer.

The park in his ward is East Lynn park, located one block west of Woodbine Avenue along Danforth Avenue.

East Lynn park has a playground, wading pool that could be deemed to be obstacles by the city.

City signs prohibiting residents to toboggan lie on the snowy ground at East Lynn Park
City signs prohibiting residents to toboggan lie on the snowy ground at East Lynn Park (Courtesy Alan Shackleton/Beach Metro News)

“The reality is there are going to be people tobogganing in East Lynn Park tomorrow,” Bradford said to the CBC.

He also suggests preventive safety measures like fencing and hay bales would be far more effective at keeping residents safe and mitigating risks like what has been done in previous years.

“The problem is it didn’t work,” City spokesperson Lindsay Broadhead told City News, responding to questions about why hay bales and fencing were not used this year. “There were injuries and in some cases, serious injuries. So even though many riders can go down and it’s fine, some didn’t.”

Toboggan tracks on a partially snowy hill at East Lynn Park.
Tracks can be seen on a partially snowy hill at East Lynn Park in East York, where tobogganning is currently banned. (Liam Lachapelle/Toronto Observer)

Another argument being made is that it should be left up the individual, however, the city understands that it could be a liability concern if someone gets injured by objects while tobogganing it presents a potential lawsuit.

Tobogganning has been a debated topic in the city for a while. In 2017, the city adopted an inspection program for tobogganing hills, and in 2022 an incident that occurred at Christie Pits park re-ignited the issue.

The city has provided the information of 29 approved tobogganing hills here.

Riverdale park, located on Broadview Avenue just north of Gerrard Street, is one of the approved tobogganing hills in this city. It is full of blue signs that warn people of their decisions and that they are responsible for their actions.

A blue sign that lists the risks for tobogganers is posted on a pole at the top of East Riverdale hill on Broadview Avenue. (Liam Lachapelle/Toronto Observer)

“The ban is a huge stretch, children need to be outside, be active,” said Courtney French, a parent and resident of East York. “I don’t think it will deter sledding, especially if it is a hill that has a tradition of sledding, unless there are fines.”

Tobogganing has been going on in this city for over a century. This is not the first time it was banned either — a ban happened in 1912. However, the ban was only on Sundays because they were meant for worship and rest.

Bradford’s motion to reverse the current tobogganing ban will go before Toronto city council Feb. 7 or 8.

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Posted: Feb 6 2024 10:45 pm
Filed under: News Politics