The No Fun police were at again this week but thankfully Mayor John Tory stood up to them.
Only in Toronto could you find a sign displaying a toboggan with a line through it. But there it was at Riverdale Park — just off Broadview Ave. overlooking the Don Valley and downtown.
“Hill closed for tobogganing.”
And just like that, another piece of legendary Toronto history that you don’t have be rich to partake in, is gone.
But the mayor wants to keep it open.
“The objective is very simple: We want to see tobogganing on that hill, which is one of the best in Toronto, restored as soon as possible — safely, but we want to see it restored,” said Tory.
The mayor’s spokesman Don “Pistol” Peat pointed out ridges have developed in the slope that could cause someone to go flying Evel Knievel-style and perhaps get hurt.
“Staff have explained that the fact the hill is built on top of a landfill is what is complicating matters,” said Peat. “That’s why the ground has shifted in spots and some debris from the dump has been found coming up to the surface.”
There’s concrete coming through and apparently some rebar.
Tory has asked staff to come up with a way of repairing the hill because it is, after all, iconic. And part of the Toronto winter experience.
My suggestion, in addition to adding some filler to even out the hill again, is to bring in an artificial snow maker like you see at ski resorts so snow can be made all winter — creating a base that would make it the best sledding in the world.
If you advertised it, people would come from around the world to take it on.
And have some fun.
Speaking of fun, yes that was a couple of guys having a garage sale at the top of the toboggan hill on Friday in -15C with the wind chill.
But they were doing it in the name of comedy.
“We are filming a comedy special,” explained Jacob Switzer of why he and comedy partner Ben Ball were selling hip waders and fishing lures.
Part of the joke is they were not selling sleds or toboggans.
They are known in comedy circles as the Anxiety Boys and they are hoping to get their special on a Bell Media station.
“It’s a show about two Soundcloud rappers trying to make it big,” he said.
So Cool. Or should that be so cold!
It’s not always Toronto the Good.
Ask Josue Camposano and his dog Luna who found this out the painful way last Saturday when three home invaders assaulted and robbed them at gun point in the Keele and St. Clair area.
“It was the worst night of my life,” said the 28-year-old.
He has the bruises on his head to prove it.
“Very traumatic,” he said. “Three of them pistol-whipped me and stole everything in my apartment.”
But what was most upsetting is what they did to puppy Luna, he says.
“They kicked her and beat her,” he said, adding his pet is pregnant. “I’m going to take her to the veterinarian.”
In the meantime, if you can help 12 Division catch the home invaders, contact them directly or put an anonymous call through to Crime Stoppers.
They took $15,000 worth of Camposano’s stuff and his friends have started a GoFundMe page to help get him back on his feet.
Toronto is a safe city. But not always.
Sad to see the Detroit Eatery go up in flames this week on The Danforth.
So much history lost — including a framed, autographed picture of the time Kris Draper brought the Stanley Cup there. A GoFundMe page has been established with a view to helping owners Chris and Alex to rebuild.
Let’s not forget about legendary Becker’s Bridals next door as well. They have a lot of brides waiting for their dresses. But they have it all in hand and are working feverishly to ensure their orders are filled.
On a sad note, we lost several beloved Torontonians in recent weeks.
One was Bruce Kyereh-Addo — a much-loved Conservative staffer who worked with Environment Minister Rod Phillips until he died suddenly of heart failure on Christmas Eve. Known as a gentle giant, Bruce was kind and considerate but also the smartest guy in any room he was in. He could have been premier or prime minister one day.
Condolences to his heartbroken but proud family.
Also a shout out to radio legend Mark Elliott who died after a heart issue over the holidays as well. I knew Mark for 40 years — meeting him as a teenager at the Ottawa Exhibition when he was broadcasting live for CFRA. We later became colleagues at Newstalk 1010 CFRB where he did the People Helping People show and whenever we needed him would come on my Late Shift show.
Tough holidays. RIP to both.
On a happier note, I have been staying in touch with Karen Wang since she was fired as a candidate by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for merely saying to her base in the Burnaby South by-election what many candidates say. But in a way her being moved out has had blessings.
The 43-year-old found out she was pregnant during all of this. She was rushed to the hospital this week with bleeding but thankfully she and the unborn baby are fine.
I also found out she and her sister, Mei Ling Wang, are back working on their Chinese Opera show for seniors in British Columbia.
It looks and sounds amazing. Instead of dwelling, she’s growing and helping people.
Last but certainly not least, happy 40th birthday to “Shaker” Justin Van Dette, the iconic political insider who now works for Tridal but keeps his hand in politics. His friends — including Mayor Tory, Councillors Michael Ford, Brad Bradford, Jim Karygiannis, Paul Ainslie and many more — gathered at Penelope on King St. to celebrate this big day.
Whatever you are up to, enjoy this spectacular winter weekend. Scrawler out.