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Tobogganing has been a cherished winter pastime in Toronto for over 100+ years. It has recently become a topic of much debate due to the city of Toronto’s decision to ban the activity on 45 hills in public parks over safety concerns. 
This move has divided residents, with some expressing relief for the safety measures and others, including city councillor Brad Bradford, criticizing the restrictions as an overreach and another example of Toronto’s growing reputation as a “no-fun” city.

This is what High Park looked like in 1910-1914, which is now a banned place to be tobogganing in Toronto.

High Park tobogganing
tobogganing in 1910
High Park banned tobogganing hill 2024

High Park in 2024. Would you toboggan here if there were snow?

Despite the ban, the city has approved 29 hills in 27 parks for tobogganing, chosen for their safety and the absence of hazards like trees and fences. The most popular spots are Riverdale Park and Withrow Park.

Here is the full tobogganing allowed park list:
Adams Park, Bickford Park, Birchmount Park, Bridlewood Park, Burnett Park, Byng Park, Cedarvale Park, Centennial Park, Charlottetown Park, Cornell Park, Fairmount Park, Glendora Park, Glen Stewart Park, Graydon Hall Park, Greenwood Park, L’Amoreaux Sports Complex, Linus Park, Milliken Park, Murison Park, North Bendale Park, Riverdale Park East, Riverdale Park West, Seneca Hill Park, Thomson Memorial Park, Weston Lions Park, Willesden Park, Withrow Park.

We may or not be making a video ranking the 27 parks to see which is the most fun to slide down on our YouTube channel, so make sure that you are subscribed!

The enforcement of the ban remains unclear, with many residents vowing to toboggan wherever they please. As shown in this Instagram video.

My stance is if you’re gonna go tobogganing down a banned hill, make a path down first that you’ll be able to follow every time you slide down the hill to avoid any light poles. Avoid icy hills, be smart, and safe. If cops come, talk to them nicely. Show how you’re being safe (and avoiding any fences or poles). I hope they’d let you continue tobogganing or just tell you to leave without giving you a fine. If you do get hurt, that is on you.

Bradford and others argue (including myself) that while safety is important, the risks of tobogganing are no greater than many other winter activities. They suggest more realistic solutions, such as clear signage absolving the city of liability, regular inspections of hills, or even using snow fencing and hay bales to improve safety, rather than outright bans.

I’m old enough to remember when the city of Toronto removed all the big awesome playgrounds and replaced them with smaller less fun safer ones. There have been studies since that ‘Risky play helps children develop resilience, executive functioning skills, self-confidence, and risk-assessment abilities. Each time they engage in risky play they are engaging in their own science experiment: pushing themselves out of their comfort zone without knowing what the exact outcome will be.’

Ultimately, the issue highlights the challenge of balancing public safety with the freedom to enjoy traditional pastimes. How do you feel about the ban? Do you support it, don’t care or gonna be a rebel and toboggan on your nearest hill?

If you are looking for people to go skating or tobogganing with in the Toronto/Gta. Join our discord group! We want Ontario to become the most active province in Canada!

Feb 2024 update! The ban has been removed!