[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto skateboarders carve out space in park design”
The Toronto Star‘s Jonathan Forani recently reported about how the concerns of skateboarders are now being considered in planning for parks in the city of Toronto.
For years, the only skate park Ariel Stagni had was the concrete and metal of the financial district.
Its railings and stairwells transformed into the perfect space for kick flips, grinds and ollies — until, inevitably, a security guard appeared with the typical scolding.
“There was a lot of ‘Don’t do that here’ and ‘You can’t skateboard here.’ Me and my buddies were like, ‘Where are we supposed to go?’ ” he recalls. They instead turned inward to their garages and converted plywood and junkyard finds into their own makeshift skate parks.
“That was the experience of a lot of people skateboarding,” says Stagni, now 41 and a skateboard consultant. “A lot of it was finding a place or making a place.”
But now, as the public park movement grows to become more inclusive of varying demographics and cultures, Stagni and his community are seeing more spaces for themselves. There are now over a dozen skate parks spanning from Etobicoke to Scarborough.
The movement has gathered steam in recent months, with the city’s October unveiling of a Skateboard Strategy, which outlines how the city can transform spaces into a skater’s paradise. One of the key features is the inclusion and consultation of groups such as the Toronto Skateboarding Committee, of which Stagni is a founding member.