Wednesday, 7 February 2018

The Best of the Best in Skateparks: Part 2

The Best of the Best in Skateboarding
As a follow-up to the article The Best of the Best in Park Design, this article looks at some great things happening globally involving skateboarding and skateparks.
I was having a bit of trouble getting this article started so I'll let the videos speak for themselves.

The Ladies are Killing It!
As the father of a new baby girl I'm excited to know there is a whole community waiting for her. I can't wait to skate with my kids.

Underexposed: The documentary the started the Exposure movement. Exposure is now the largest all female skateboarding event in the world. Check them out @

Babes Brigade Feature from NOW Magazine
Babes Brigade is connecting women skaters in the Toronto area.

100% Skate Club is a Calgary based All-girls Skateboarding Club.

For more on women in skateboarding and other action sports check the following links.
Skate Like A Girl
GIRL Is Not A 4 Letter Word

Skateistan empowers children and youth through skateboarding and education in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa.

Chicks in Bowls is a world wide movement of Quad Skaters (rollerskaters) taking to the park. While there have been Quads in parks since skateparks came into existance, there has never been such progression in the sport.  

Skatepark Community
The first time I went to Campbellford, ON to skate I was approached by an older gentleman who asked me what I thought of the skatepark. I told him I though it was great. "Well the Missus and I think it's fantastic." He began, "We came from Madoc and the kids there love the skatepark and it gives them something to besides drugs."

The community that builds around a skatepark can be surprising to people who are not familiar with it.
The story of a guy stopping to help a young girl when viral when her mom posted a 'Dear Teenaged Boy at the Skatepark.' LINK    
More shots of Churchill Skatepark where this interaction took place can be found HERE.

These four Calgary Skaters were honoured at the Cheif's Awards Gala for stopping a Sexual Assualt.
From Left to Right - Arnaud Nimenya, James Hielema, Starlyn Rivas-Perez and Carsyn Wright.
Story HERE.

The city of Calgary is also bridging the gap between the community and the skateparks by creating a mini magazine profiling the local skateboarding community and offering skateboarding lessons to the Calgary Police Service. Check out the video on the Calgary Association of Skatepark Enthusiasts(CASE) Website HERE and check out everything else CASE is doing for Calgary.

Toronto Skateboarding Committee promotes skateboarding in Toronto.

Camps and Outreach
I'm involved in a Youth Outreach called SkateLife and we do a week long road trip every year. We skate and meet up in different place and film for a video which we premier at the end of the week. Here's my teams video from 2017.

Other groups affecting young lives in Toronto are Impact Skate Club & Chill Foundation

Switch Skate and Snow and SkateLoft both run summer camps and PA Day events. (Hook me up with some videos and I'll post them!:)

CJ's Skatepark also host events aimed at children with special needs (everything from ADHD to kids living with Cancer) in addition to Day and Summer Camps. (Note - CJ's is in the process of moving and re-building at their new location. The website is also being reworked so links may not work)

Another group reaching children facing developmental, physical and emotional challenges through skateboarding is Skate MD.

Skatepark Advocacy
The Tony Hawk Foundation provides grants for skateparks in low-income communities.  

Skaters for Public Skateparks was a non-profit skatepark advocacy organization that existed from 2004 to 2017. SPS has transferred its domain name,, to Tony Hawk Foundation. All the information is still available.

Another Skater using his celebrity status to change lives for the better is Ryan Sheckler with  
The Sheckler Foundation. In 2016 it donated Ten-Thousand dollars to Parisite DIY in New Orleans. 

International Builds
Build a Skatepark, Change the World
Concrete Jungle Foundation is teaming up with Canada's New Line Skateparks to build Angola's first concrete outdoor skatepark. Their previous project was in Peru. Check the video below.

This gorgeous park in Taghazout, Morocco was build by Make Life Skate Life. Check them out HERE

There are many other groups that are working on international builds to create a better world through skateboarding. There are also groups that collect old boards, hardware and other gear to provide skateboards to those who can not afford or access them, both domestically and abroad. 
Donate for Skate is just one of them. 

There are tons of great causes and events in the skateboarding world. If you know of one that should be added let me know. I'm going end with a rant and some praise. 

The Rant. A rich and famous skateboard loving pop star signed a car. The car was auctioned off to raise funds for a skatepark in said singers home town. The hope was to raise $40000. Not much when you know the cost of a skatepark. The winning bidder went out of his way to double the amount to $80000. I feel the pop star could have done a lot more for his hometowns skatepark (granted he has raised funds for other causes) but the real hero here is Allan Komenda. Story HERE. The Skatepark opened late 2017. 

The Praise
I'm not a big fan of Pearl Jam but I love Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament.
Over the past decade, Jeff has given funds both personally and through Pearl Jam's Vitalogy Foundation to build twelve skateparks throughout Montana and South Dakota. 

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The Pickering Skateboard Park Strategy is Approved!

The Pickering Skateboard Park Strategy is Approved!

For more on how we got to this point click HERE.

At the last open house I gave 2 pages of suggested edits to Bill of New Line Skateparks. The latest draft of the Strategy took most of them into account.

8 days ago The Strategy & the Parks and Rec Master Plan went before Exectutive Committee. Both documents can be found HERE & HERE.
The Minuets of the meeting can be found HERE but here's my breakdown of the meeting. 

First the committee had the consultant, Todd Brown of Monteith Brown, and the skatepark strategist, Travis Martin from van der Zalm & Associates, go first. This was to, perhaps, answer any questions people had and thus reduce the time needed for delegations(public speeches). It didn't. It was a bad move by committee because they were not allowed to address peoples concerns afterwards. 

There were 3 delegates who had pre-registered. One group from the Racquetball/Handball club and a Speaker who runs the Pickleball (a low impact tennis ) Club. 

I gave my brief delegation in support of the Strategy stating the skaters support the entrity of the document including the construction of the new park at the front of the Rec Complex in place of the roundabout. 
Committee asked me several questions regarding noise, danger and unsavoury behaviour. I referred to The Urban Grind study regarding sound, Skaters for Public Skateparks for injury reports and recent posts on social media. One person had mentioned that the new location would not let him drink and smoke. Others told him to take that delinquent stuff elsewhere and comeback and skate. I was asked some questions and had to direct them to the strategy as the answer was there. 

I was thanked and sat down.

That's when things got stupid.(or democracy in action, I donno)

The floor was opened to additional delegates (basically, anyone with a mouth and an opinion could get up and take the mic for up to 10 minuets.)

The first gentleman, Jack, explained that he was the original architect of the Rec Complex. He was upset he was not personally consulted on potential changes to the Rec Complex. The front, he stated, is a completely inappropriate place for this skate park.  The location in the back is not 'out of the way', he continued and suggested the skatepark be rebuilt in the current location. HIS Rec Complex won an Award when it was constructed in 1983.  It would have been nice if Travis got to say VDZ has won multiple awards in the last 5 years. He did suggest an indoor skatepark and with the closing of the local Sears there would be room at the mall to 'ride down the escilators' as he put it.

Another old guy rambled about the parking and the roundabout and skateparks and ended with something about marijuana.

An Aside - weather or not legalised marijuana in Canada is something you support, smoking or vaping of any kind will still not be allowed in a public park( which a skatepark is) by law.

Another lady asked if snow removal on the waterfront trail could be explored as walking trails are a part of the Parks Plan. Another lady spoke in support of racquetball.

Then Jack's wife got up and said she supported her husband(duh), and said she wrote his speech. Dude. Write your own speech.

Another person supporting tennis and opposed to the roundabout.
A person supporting Pickleball.
A person supporting lawn bowling.

In all this Mr Mike Temos and Mr Spencer Torok got up and spoke in support of the Strategy and skateboarding.

Council then discussed the proposals and it wasn't looking good. There was major concern over the idea of the skatepark in the roundabout location.

Councillor Butt. I have to ask, did you read the Skateboard Park Strategy? You asked the parks staff several questions where the answers were easily found in the Strategy and the recommendations. How was the amount of skatepark space determined? Try pages 6-10. How will the park be funded? That's on page 34 and on your page of recommendations.

There was a motion the refer everything back to staff which lost and a motion to split the 3 items which also lost.
Thankfully Councillor Cumming gave a great explanation of the words 'In Principal'. He suggested the Strategy was a guide and endorsing it didn't mean any thing was set in stone without further debate, particularly the skatepark in the roundabout. This swayed a few other councillors and they then voted to endorse the Parks Master Plan and Skateboard Park Strategy.

This all took two and a half hours.
The remaining 9 items on the agenda took half an hour.

Endorsement meant it moves onto city council.

City Council met last night and I'm happy to say the Strategy was approved and is now the official city document regarding skateboarding in the City of Pickering. My work is featured on page 3 & 11!

( Update: Council has made some points of clarification on the approved documents. Here's what it says about the Skateboard Park Strategy.  
  1. The location of the new Skateboard Park, proposed to be in front of the main entrance to the Pickering Recreation Complex, is not supported by Council. As such, staff will investigate other locations within the Pickering City Centre for the new community skateboard park.)

There is still a lot of work to do, including finding a new site in the city's core and possibly creating a design to fit that space. Fortunately I have bunch of guys I can count on to support the projects. Thanks to Mike & Spencer for their delegation as well as Connor, Kevin & Carol for showing up and supporting the cause.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Lit Ontario Parks

Lit Ontario Parks
The Toronto Skateboarding Committee is working on getting lights installed at Ashbridges Bay Skatepark. This park is the largest in Toronto and 3rd Largest in Ontario (I think) and features a second phase bowl, multiple stair and rail sets, ledges and a replica of a downtown Toronto spot.
You can sign the petition HERE.

A few months ago, TSC contacted me regarding lit parks in Ontario. Here's the list, with updates, that I gave them.

Lit Parks
Designated Lighting – DL The skatepark has designated lighting.
Park Lighting – PL  The park is lit casting light on the skatepark.
Parking Lot Lighting – LL Some of these parks are on a former parking lot.
I left out Dunbat and Duff Grove and their Rink Lighting.

Ajax ARC – DL
Ajax Rec. Centre – DL
Barrie, Queens Park – DL
Belleville – one DL in a large park
Blenheim – One street light over skatepark
Brampton, Jim Archdekin Rec. Centre – LL
Brampton, McMurchy – LL
Brantford, Brant’s Crossing – DL
Brantford, Jaycee Rainbow Ramp – LL
Brockville – DL
Burlington, Norton Park – DL
Cambridge, Riverside – DL but it’s mellow
City of Kawartha Lakes, Bobcaygeon – DL
City of Kawartha Lakes, Lindsay – LL until it was moved indoors.
Georgetown, Mold Master arena – DL
Hamilton, Beasley Bowl – DL
Hamilton, Parkdale Arena – PL
Hamilton, Turner – DL
Hamilton, Waterdown bowl - PL
King City – DL with controls
Madoc, Centre Hastings Skatepark – DL
Milton Community Park – DL
Mississauga, City Centre – DL
Mississauga, Icelands – DL
Oshawa, Donevon – DL
Peterborough – DL
Picton – DL
Toronto, Smithfeild – Tennis court DL
Toronto, Lawrence & Weston – PL
Toronto, Underpass - DL
Toronto, Vanderhoof Bowl – Power supply available. BYO Lights
Vaughan, 12 Oaks – PL
Vaughan, Carville Mill – PL
Vaughan, Hillside – PL
Vaughan, Sonoma Heights – PL
Vaughan, Villa Royale - DL

Whitby, Mckinney – DL

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Good News for Georgetown

Good News for Georgetown

Other Parks in Halton Hills.

Laura Secord Skatepark

Laura Secord Skatepark
This nice little spot on the west side of Vaughan, ON is the cities 9th skatepark. Located at Killington Ave and Richler Ave.
My 326th park

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Pickering Rec Complex Skatepark Concept

Pickering Rec Complex Skatepark Concept
The Pickering Skateboard Park Strategy Draft includes a concept park for the front of the Rec Complex. The (latest) Draft can be found HERE.
The park concept is on page 21.
You can leave feedback with the City at until December 6th or in person at the open house on Monday November 27th @ 5:30-8:00pm.

There are a few minor changes I would like to see and have detailed them below.
1) Feature 'B' - add shallow end stairs to the bowl.
2) Feature 'F' - Concrete the whole thing to allow for manuals and reduce number of sides. Add over/under ledge to side closest to the Rec Complex.
3) Feature 'G' - Low to high 'A' frame rail 
4) Remove roller bump from south end of park.

Let the city know what you think of the Strategy and the park or leave a comment below and I'll make sure it gets passed along because if you don't...
ps. slapping is bad.

The Follow Up
The Open House was very well attended by skaters and other members of the public. The other skaters gave feedback on the design concept and Skatepark Strategy.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Pickering Skateboard Park Strategy Open House

Pickering Skateboard Park Strategy Open House

Next step of the Pickering Skateboard Park strategy is November 27 at the Pickering Recreation Complex on Valley Farm Rd. Drop by and check out this Draft and make recommendations. It will then go to Council in the new year! That could(I repeat, could) mean new concrete in 2018. Spread the word and come show your support.

The Drafts are now available for you viewing on the City of Pickering website.


Friday, 3 November 2017

Halloween 2017

Halloween 2017
The Halloween of Skateboard Industry Love

This year, just before Halloween, I was wandering through a store and found a giant fuzzy panda head. That was all the inspiration I needed to decide on what my costume would be. 
Over the years I've had some pretty fun costumes over the years.

Be a ManWolf Today

This year I channeled Enjoi Rider and Team Manager Louie Barletta. 

I even managed a Barletta-esque trick & one of my friends sent it via DM to Louie and he checked out my Instagram.

Clip is in the video below.

Skatelife Toronto's Tricks for Treats was a fantastic way to kick off our indoor season. 
BTW, Skating in the Panda head are hard. Skating in a sweater vest is hot.

It turns out I wasn't the only one showing love for the skate industry. 

My friend Drew(left) went as JD, the owner of 'The Local' skateshop in Hamilton, ON.

This kid went as Aaron Kyro from the Braille Skate Youtube videos.

@Tara420 went as a  set of Indy Trucks!

@scott_kmiec went as Animal Chin from the classic Powell Peralta video. 

Speaking of which, @prestonsk8s went out as Skateboarding legend, Bones Brigade founder and film maker Stacy Peralta.

Legend Tony Hawk also went as Stacy Peralta.

Not to be outdone by his famous dad, Keegan Hawk went as 1980's Tony Hawk & Tavin Way went as his father, Danny Way.

The Diamond Supply Co. Halloween Hellride was off the hook.

Deathwish Pro Jaime Foy went as his Big Boy Foy board graphic.

Also attending the Hellride was Birdhouse Pro Clive Dixon dressed as fellow Birdhouse Pro Lizzie Armanto, complete with bubble tea.

Lizzie went out as boyfriend and Toy Machine Pro Axel Cruysbergs' board graphic.
Hopefully I get this right. Axel is Birdhouse Pro Ben Raybourn.
There's a Panda(Enjoi?), Big Bad Wolf, Possibly Blood Wizard Rider Jerry Gurney, some checkerboard clown, Clifford The big Red Dog, Little Red Riding Hood, Bob and Louise Bencher(bob's Burgers) someone who looks comfortable in her Kigurumi.

Lastly, the winner of Halloween(according to the internet) Nora Vasconcellos as Leticia Bufoni. Photo by @ZORAHOLIVIA

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Fundy Bay Skatepark Design Meeting

Fundy Bay Skatepark Design Meeting and follow up.

Ward 39 Skatepark design workshop is happening next week. Ward 39 Councillor Jim Karygiannis has secured funding and a location for a permanent concrete skatepark at Fundy Bay Park in Scarborough. Newline skateparks has been hired to design the park. 

Tuesday October 24th.  6:30 - 8:30pm
Dr. Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute Library
200 Fundy Bay Blvd. Scarborough

The budget is for a park about this size. This is probably a park in Alberta.

*Follow Up

The meeting was well attended but a small group began voicing opposition to the skatepark. They quickly found they were outnumbered by people that supported the park.
They were opposed to tax dollars being spent on a skatepark. They were informed the skatepark cash was not coming out of the tax base but a developer fund. They said this was the first they had heard about a skatespot in Fundy Bay Park. Again, they were told this plan has been in the works for a year and a half. They made other claims about noise and the park being too busy. 
The staff moved to the playground project and the 2 NIMBYs slinked out, presumibly to ambush Councillor Jim Karygiannis(who was running late), in the hall.

We transitioned to the skatepark design workshop with Bill from New Line Skateparks. The councillor arrived and asked if he could interject. He thanked us for attending and talked about the project. It was started by students at the high school with a petition for a skatepark and the project is supported by the three schools in the area. He then said the project is moving forward despite how 'some' may feel about it and the time to say 'we don't want it' was over a year ago.

I can't wait to see what newline comes up with.