A group of skateboarders have taken it upon themselves to try to save a DIY skate park in Toronto’s west end. The DIY park is located next to Fort York along Fort York Blvd., running under Bathurst St.
The park is covered in graffiti and features three ramps made out of concrete that were built elsewhere and introduced by skateboarders. Cinder blocks are also used as part of the DIY skate park’s setup.
The City of Toronto recently pylon-ed the park, signalling its upcoming demolition in favour of the Bentway Project. The Bentway Project consists of a roughly two kilometre trail that is planned to run under the Gardiner and connect two parks on opposite sides of Bathurst St. This DIY skate park is right in the middle of the planned pathway.
Needless to say, Toronto’s skate community aren’t pleased about this plan, especially since this would be the second DIY skate park that would be closed by the city in the past six months. Among one of the skaters that started a petition to save the park is Nicky Young, a skateboarder who regularly skates at the DIY park. Young told the Star that Toronto’s skate community are really rooting for DIY skate parks, explaining that DIY parks are different than the City’s designated parks because they foster a greater sense of community.
“People are trying to figure out how to engage skateboarders and build community, and this is really the very best example of that — when a group of people come together on their own initiative and with their own creativity and their own resources and build something out of trial and error and problem-solving,” Young told the Star. Young also notes that Vancouver and Montreal are both homes to city-protected DIY skate parks.
A petition is currently running to save the park, and a discussion has been started between skateboarders and the city, however, the DIY park’s fate remains unknown. Councillor Mike Layton points out that changing the space is a complicated process, especially since it’s a public space and is part of the Fort York national historic site.