Toronto’s new park rules make it harder to skateboard on ice

For hockey players and skateboarders, excitement is not focused on the forward passes, feints and dekes happening on the ice rink. It’s about the city’s expansive warm-weather seasonal party season.

Cooler temperatures are almost upon us. Several bustling groups of Toronto residents are already enjoying their winter, including skateboarding, a hot-air balloon ride and — you guessed it — ice skating.

All activities, however, are much less brutal than in previous years. As per the current regime, which is now scheduled to remain in place until April 15, “skate areas of the lake will remain free of ice and chair lifts may only be used for emergency and/or domestic ice conditions only.” In other words, get out there, have a rager and have fun.

Baby steps

In 2017, Toronto’s recreation board extended its rule by 50% to allow skateboarders on the water’s surface, prompting some to consider why “skateboarding on the ice” had become an underground term — and what that meant for city business.

In 2014, Toronto cancelled its ice rink rentals altogether , and in 2017, the rules were tightened further. Now, skateboarders and inline skaters will need to be under a person at all times.

In February 2018, the park operator, Toronto Parks Canada, told CNN there was an overall “uptick in activity at permanent parks, including skating.” In January 2018, the ice was opening 5-10 days earlier than the previous year.

Toronto’s skating rules will remain in place until April 15, 2019. Credit: Meghan O’Leary for CNN

Toronto residents seemed quite comfortable with the recent changes.

As news began to spread on social media on Sunday, various Twitter responses linked to various parks and boardwalk locations, where the partial rules had been in place before.

The new rules were described as “more normal.”

Local resident Meghan O’Leary shared the photo above on social media. Credit: Meghan O’Leary for CNN

Other residents have taken to social media to share their amusement at the full rules. There are times, after all, when snow is on the ground and there’s ice only, and with winter here, they all want to go out and have some fun.

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No such luck for northern rain slingers on Toronto’s waterfront: until March, so many residents have been trapped on ice. Credit: Meghan O’Leary for CNN

The sidewalk close to Beach Commons Leisure Centre, where a rainbow-striped skateboarding vest is currently hanging from a lamppost, was packed with skaters on Monday. The refrain of “Welcome to winter” in French echoed throughout the city — the snowfall has been heavier than expected in the already snowy city.

Many spoke of the fantastic views the city has to offer — a change of pace from the dense metropolis — as well as a more pleasant season — compared to the incredibly exhausting blast that usually accompanies spring.

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