Good news, tobogganers: Riverdale Park is set to reopen

Good news, tobogganers: Riverdale Park is set to reopen

A snow-covered hill is a terrible thing to waste, especially when kids and their toboggans are looking for a wild ride.

After the Sunday storm that dumped 10 centimetres of snow, children start thinking about how to turn it into fun. Their youthful gaze will soon fall upon toboggans and sleds forgotten since last winter.

Kids who live near Riverdale Park East will be eager to trudge over to Broadview Avenue with their sleds — even a sheet of cardboard can be used, but it’s brutal on an icy surface — and go for a slide down one of the better tobogganing hills in Toronto.

But they’ll be disappointed to find that the expansive hill descending from Broadview has been closed for months, completely surrounded by fencing and off-limits to the public.

A Star editor recently sent me a note saying a reporter had noticed that the hill was still closed off by fencing that was trampled down in several spots, and wondered if it would be a tobogganing no-go zone this winter.

As a former resident of Riverdale and Langley Avenues — right across the street — the idea of denying local kids the joy of whooshing down the hill seemed as outrageous and hurtful as a sore backside from a cardboard sleigh.

So I hastened to the park, where I found plastic fencing along both sides that ran down to the bottom of the hill, which was also enclosed. At the top was a high metal fence with signs on it that instructed people to get lost.

The signs, posted by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, said the hill was closed for “regrading works,” and that the fencing would be kept in place “to ensure that the planted grass fully establishes prior to use.”

It also asked that “members of the public do not access and use the slope in the meantime,” but they saved the best part for last: “The restored area will be available for public use once there is significant snow cover on the area.”

It seemed hard to believe that the TRCA would take down so much fencing after snow and winter weather settle in, so I checked with them to see if that is still the plan, or if kids are in for disappointment.

STATUS: TRCA spokesperson Jess Harris confirmed in an email that “fence around the restored area is scheduled to be removed this week (first week of December) to accommodate for the upcoming tobogganing season. TRCA construction services staff will be completing site cleanup this week as well as assisting with the fence removal.”

So if the fence isn’t gone by the time you read this, it won’t be long.

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What’s broken in your neighbourhood? Wherever you are in Greater Toronto, we want to know. Email jlakey@thestar.ca or follow @TOStarFixer on Twitter

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