The Toronto Skateboarding Committee (TSC) was established to promote and enhance skateboarding in Toronto through consultation with the local skateboarding community and associated stakeholders, providing informed direction on programs, legislation and policy to all levels of government, communities and the private sector. More information here
TSC was formed in 2013 by local skateboarders from across Toronto, many of whom have experience with the skatepark development process and have been instrumental in bringing skateboard parks to their communities. Councillor Janet Davis and staff from Parks, Forestry and Recreation provided support and guidance to the TSC as it established itself as a committee.
Our mission and objectives can be found here
Check our newsletters to see what the TSC has been up to here [link to newsletter coming soon]
Attend or volunteer at a TSC event or meeting, details here
Or show your support for Toronto Skateboarding and become a member here
As a member, you are not required you to attend meetings or volunteer, though we appreciated any help.
There are estimated 10's of thousands skateboarders in Toronto. Exact numbers are not tracked, but a good indicator of it's popularity is that there were almost 2,000 responses to a Parks Survey during the development of the strategy. Most skateparks are well used and there are probably close to 300 skateparks in Ontario alone and dozens are in the planning and development stages across Ontario according to Canadian Skatepark builders. We are also seeing a lot of people continue to skateboard as they get older and getting re-introduced to it as they have children of their own. The old perception that this is something that only teenagers do has changed and we are seeing older skateboarders at parks and many more girls and women. (Toronto recently held its first womans skateboarding competition this past summer 2016.)
Skateboarding has grown globally and you cannot go to any major city without seeing the signs of skaters. If you walk around downtown you will see that pretty much any skateable surface has been ridden and altered to prevent skateboarding. There are large competitions all over Canada and the world and Skateboarding will be making its Olympic depute at the Tokyo Summer Games.
As of November 2016, there are 19 skateparks. A detailed listing and map of Toronto skateparks is here
Toronto’s first modern permanent concrete skatepark opened in 1999 adjacent to Cummer Recreation Centre, located at Leslie and Cummer in North York. Shortly after in 2002 a second concrete park was opened beside Port Union Recreation Centre at Lawrence Avenue and Port Union Road in Scarborough. The popularity of skateboarding and the newly built parks prompted the Parks Department to study their use in order to determine how many people were using them and how they were using them. The results of the study helped to guide the 2004 Facilities Report which recommended the development of new skateboarding facilities in order to meet the growing demand. Many of the parks in Toronto in the early 2000’s were built on a case by case basis in response to specific community requests and the facility plan aimed to take a more proactive approach to implementing new facility development. In subsequent years, the Parks Department added another 11 skateparks to their inventory. These parks are all unique and range in size, style, materials and the challenge they provide. To this date approximately 5 million dollars has been invested in skateboarding facilities in Toronto. Not all of the facility plan recommendations were implemented and it should be noted that the Exhibition Place grounds were identified as a possible location for a district level skateboarding facility. The Parks Department recently completed a skatepark user survey and is working with the skateboarding community on a citywide Skatepark Plan.
Since the TSC was created, the demand has grown throughout the city. A budget motion pass last year to build a new permanent skatepark and we are just waiting to determine with parks staff where in the city it will be located. An announcement of the location will be in the next few months and designing will start in spring 2017. The TSC has also been working closely with Councillor Jim Karygiannis to build a new skatepark in Ward 39. The TSC is also currently helping redesign one of the older skateparks in Etobicoke (Smithfield).
Through the most recent research from the TSC, as well as the City, there has been an immense demand for a permanent skatepark in the Dowtown area. But, the TSC also wants to make sure that new skateparks are built around the city, especially in underserviced areas and in neighbourhoods with high concentrations of youth.
Skateboarders are very hands on and they like to build their own ramps and obstacles. DIY is a do it yourself skatepark and they can be found under bridges, and in derelict parts of cities all throughout North America. The skaters claim an underutilized space and create their own skatepark out of Concrete.
In the fall of 2016, some youth in the Landsdowne and Bloor area decided to build their own DIY concrete Skatepark. Unfortunately the city did not feel the same way about this space and it was bulldozed. The local youth petitioned the local councillor (Ana Bailao) and she has agreed to meet with the youth and with the TSC to discuss options for a skatepark in the west end and opportunities for a sanctioned DIY spot .
In the 1980’s and 1990’s most skateboarders rode in the streets, school yards, parking lots, plazas, and downtown in the banking district. Municipalities all across north America realized that this was not just a fad and they needed to build special facilities so that youth had somewhere safe and challenging to ride. The first permanent municipal skatepark in Toronto was built in 2001. With increasing popularity and demand the city continued to build more parks and today we have 12 permanent skateparks, 2 seasonal skateparks, 2 private indoor facilities and a number of public and privately run camps that teach young kids and youth how to ride safely.
In order to meet the demand for skateboarding facilities, the parks department needs to continue to invest in new facility to provide children and youth with a fun and safe place to skateboard.
The parks department provides countless different facilities to serve a multitude of sports and recreational activities. They have pools, gyms, soccer fields, tennis courts and skateparks are an important part of the recreational landscape.
The community development unit at Parks, Forestry & Recreation and the TSC created a city wide Skateboarding Strategy. This will serve as a guide to support and advance the growth of skateboarding and the growing demand for skateboarding parks and programming.
The strategy came about because the city realized it needed to develop a guide to help support skateboarding and the development of more skateparks. Cities all over Canada(Kitchener, Vaughan, Calgary, Lethbridge, London etc.) have developed Skateboarding Strategies and Master plans because they know they can’t just build one or two large parks, they need to develop a whole network of skateparks of different sizes with different types of terrain to meet all the demand.
The strategy is a great resource for municipal staff and it aligns with a larger parks planning strategy which is the Facilities Master Plan. Teh TSC worked very closely with parks staff on developing the strategy and we engaged with thousands of skatepark users in the process to make sure that we got this right. (As part of this process, the Parks department recently completed a skatepark user survey which had an overwhelming response rate with over 2000 users completing the survey.) The next step is to determine where there are service gaps and where we would like to see new parks built so that youth all over the city have access to them.
Skateparks are very unique facilities unlike anything else out there. Each park is unique it is important to engage the end users in the development of these facilities to ensure that you are building what people want to ride. At the end of the day if skaters don’t like the skatepark, they will go back out into the streets to ride. We have some great skatepark builders in Canada and they employ very unique design consultations to engage youth and get them to help to design the actual obstacles in a skatepark. This helps to create a sense of community and gives the youth a better sense of ownership over the park.
The 'Public Skatepark Guide' organizatrion is a great resource about skateparks.
Information about size and types here
Skateparks can come in many different shapes and sizes. The smallest skatepark in Toronto is about 3,000 sq ft. About half the size of a tennis court and it costs about 100,000$. Toronto’s largest skatepark, and one of the largest in Canada is in the beaches and it cost over $1,500,000 and is about 30,000 sq. ft. It was designed with very close input from the skateboarding community and it features a large pool and a street style plaza that includes elements that mimic what skaters would ride in the streets. The costs are not that expensive for a recreational facility that gets a lot of use. Whereas a tennis court can only accommodate 2-4 users, a skatepark of the same size may have 15-20 riders using the same sized space. If you go to any of the popular skateparks in Toronto you will notice that they are much busier, and frequented more often than any of the other facilities.
How to determin the service area of a skateparks here
Ho wto determin how many skateparks a city/area need here
There are many types of skateboarding and most skateboarders are interested in a variety or mix of styles. The most basic breakdown of types of skateboarding are 'Street' and 'Transition'. Street includes creatively riding the streets and narutal bult environment (e.g. schoolyards, plazas and the downtown core). Transition is ramp based, riding bowls, pools or any sort of ramps. [Website or source needed?]