christie pits skatepark

Locals desperately trying to save illegal skatepark that City of Toronto wants gone

Neighbourhood locals are trying to stop the City of Toronto from demolishing an unsanctioned skatepark within a busy park.

The totally illegal community-built skatepark near the northwest corner of Christie Pits Park, next to the Sid Smith rink, was installed by locals unhappy with the park's existing skateboarding area.

Built by volunteers during the pandemic and significantly upgraded in 2023, it has existed undisturbed for years, all despite a lack of permits and its ad hoc construction.

However, in late April, a City worker informed locals of imminent plans to demolish the skatepark, citing liability concerns. City representatives have further stated that the park violates eleven different by-laws.

According to the Toronto Star, much of the DIY skatepark's infrastructure has actually passed City inspection, though installations like quarter-pipes and ramps have been deemed unsafe and are now subject to demolition.

In an attempt to save their local skatepark, a group of Toronto skateboarders have created a petition hoping to stop the demolition plans in their tracks.

The petition explains that "On Saturday, April 27, 2024, a city parks and recreation worker alerted the volunteer builders of Christie Pits skatepark that the city has imminent plans to bring in heavy machinery to demolish aspects of the community-built skatepark due to liability issues."

According to the campaign, significant community resources have been poured into the unsanctioned skate infrastructure.

"One year ago, volunteers began replacing the rotting wooden ramps with safer and quieter concrete ramps, with the undeniable effect of greatly improving the quality and safety of the skatepark," the petition reads.

"Wood ramps don't only splinter, rot, and pop screws, but they are also prone to collect condensation or dew in the evenings due to the non-porous surface of the wood sheeting, rendering them slippery and hazardous on occasion."

Campaign organizers argue that this space is "the only concrete skatepark in downtown Toronto and serves as an essential safe youth space, particularly for the very large community of Ukrainian refugee youth who all ride scooters."

The organizers call on Mayor Olivia Chow, saying that her election campaign "promised to fix parks, not demolish them," as well as Councillor Dianne Saxe "to intervene in the demolition of the Christie Pits skateboard park."

In an interview with the Star, locals even pledged to chain themselves to the ramps and quarter-pipe to thwart any demolition activity if necessary.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the petition has garnered over 2,900 signatures and is now seeking an updated goal of 5,000 names.

Lead photo by

Toronto Skateboarders

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