For the past two years, we Torontonians have seen little to no snow. There has scantly been enough snowfall in the past two winters to build a snowman with a stature even close to that of an average human. The height deficiency of local snowmen coupled with a striking lack of front yard snow caves has saddened me.
Yet, last Saturday morning I opened up my bedroom blinds and found the long-awaited snowfall had finally arrived. I immediately felt the urge to run to the nearest Canadian Tire and purchase a GT snowracer.
In lieu of a snowracer, I settled for the purple, plastic sled in my back yard. My destination was predetermined. I knew before I even thought about it that I would be spending the majority of the day hurling myself down a hill in Christie Pits.
Is there even an alternative? Where else in Toronto, except for Christie Pits and adjoining Bickford Park, can an adult take pleasure in such a vast square footage of tobogganable hills?
The day was perfect. Snow fell on my head all day as I breathily dragged my sled up the hills over and over again. The thrill of the run, fear mixed with a joy that only tobogganing can bring. It really is my favourite winter sport. Yes, I consider it a sport.
The repeated uphill climbs require enough energy that this activity is, in my books, one of the most taxing and demanding winter sports. Toboganners don’t rely on mechanization to get them back up the hill like other winter sports enthusiasts that shall remained unnamed. No, we use our own horsepower to drag our sleds back up the hill while at the same time avoiding oncoming sled traffic!
Tobogganing is a winter activity that nearly everyone can do. It requires no real skill and the start-up costs are little to none. A piece of cardboard can work just fine in lieu of an actual sled. You could get fancy and spend quite a bit on a sled with steering capabilities, but this is unnecessary. Part of the exhilaration of the run is having no control of your toboggan. Unlike skiing, there is no cost to actually go tobaganning. So it’s essentially a free activity. I like free stuff!
I have searched the web for a tobogganing club at U of T, but I have found a gaping hole in winter student life that needs to be filled. I imagine, for the student who has moved to Toronto from another place, it must be a challenge to locate local toboggan runs. As at present there is no organization that can guide such students to wintery fun, I am going to provide some websites and a list of great toboggan runs near campus.
Here is a link that has a great list of hills that are accessible by TTC. As previously stated, the sheer size combined with its proximity to the St. George Campus makes Christie Pits the prime destination for those U of T students who wish to engage in a good old fashioned toboggan ride.
I am not the first UpbeaTer to take on the pressing issue of tobagganing in the urban landscape. Former UpbeaTer Mary also hurled herself down a few hills in the name of winter fun. Her past post also contains some tips to make the best of a snowy day in the city.
There are some great toboggan runs in downtown Toronto and if you are the kind of person who feels confident riding the TTC with a 6 foot long wooden sled, I suggest venturing out of the immediate area and exploring what the City of Toronto’s Parks have to offer for the avid toboggan aficionado.
I am seriously considering starting the U of T Toboggan Club to fill the gap. I do think there is an actual need. Of course, this club could only operate during periods of snowfall. Perhaps the rest of the year could be spent on conditioning for the uphill climb.
Enjoy the snow while it lasts!