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News 2013

From the Summer 2013 Newsletter:

Skateboarding news

For five years now, Dufferin Grove has had a community-led skateboard installation on the south rink pad in the summertime. Some of the kids who were digging in the sand pit a few years ago have graduated to the skateboard pad – time passes!

This community-led pad is a sequel to a city-owned skateboard pad that was located at Dufferin Grove for two years during the time Scadding Rink (the skateboard pad’s home base) was being rebuilt. The DG skateboarders didn’t want to go back to Scadding when the equipment was moved back, so they built their own smaller-but-still-fun structures year by year at Dufferin Grove. Of course, the actual builders are the older guys, some of them carpenters in their day jobs, or just handy with tools, with the younger ones looking on and passing tools over. The standards are pretty high since the builders are also the skaters, and nobody wants to get hurt. (Soccer is still the leading sport for injuries – there are surprisingly few injuries in skateboarding.)

From Jason Kun, the moving force behind the skateboard pad: The Dufferin Grove Skateboard pad has been busier than ever this year and has been recognized with a decorative tile in the newly renovated Dufferin Subway Station. The City of Toronto has contributed to the park by providing tempered polyboard (masonite) as surfacing materials for the skateboard park grind boxes, manual pads and ramps.  We would kindly ask people to not use the pads, boxes and ramps when wet as this wears down the surface material faster. The Dufferin Grove Skateboard Pad was originally created for use by skateboarders and we would also kindly ask BMX bikers to refrain from using the smaller skateboard equipment as the masonite cannot withstand this use.

There’s a surface material called Skatelite, which is specifically made for skateboarding installations (and works for BMX too). It costs $200 a sheet (from the Canadian Ramp Company in Burlington) and it has a life expectancy of 20 years outdoors. The masonite supplied by the City costs only $13 a sheet – but the new sheets are already cracking after one week of use. In the long run, buying cheap materials is a false economy, since it takes so much more fixing.

At this point the City is not covering any building or maintenance costs for this community-led project. Volunteer energy is running down. The flexibility of using the food donations (from Friday Night Supper and the cafes) – to buy good-quality supplies, and assigning staff to help fix things – is gone, now that the money all goes downtown. But maybe the park will be lucky and a skateboard friend will come forward to help buy a Skatelite panel or two. Meantime, for BMX riders the rule is: stay away if you have pegs, stay off the masonite, and when the skateboard pad is busy, go up to the bigger BMX park at Wallace-Emerson. The rule is: “four wheels first: 4W1.”

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