They’re the reason toboggan hills everywhere are being threatened.
Fears of lawsuits have sprung up in cities across the country, and so have signs at city-owned hills declaring “No tobogganing.”
When the City of Hamilton was ordered to pay a man $900,000 in 2013 after he injured his spine on a toboggan hill, I couldn’t say I blamed other municipalities for getting nervous. Since then, Hamilton has established a bylaw imposing fines ranging from $105 to $5,000 for hitting the hills with a toboggan.
Clearly the problem isn’t the municipalities, it’s the geniuses who figure they’re owed something if they injure themselves instead of taking responsibility for their own safety.
If there was a study done on toboggan-related injury, I’m sure it would reveal that the activity poses just as much of a threat to children’s safety as monkey bars (the fun piece of playground equipment that has been taken off many school properties in recent years when it was decided children + climbing a few feet off the ground = bad combination) and lip balm (apparently some schools have banned it as it promotes the spread of sickness because kids just love to share).
Tobogganing is just about the most Canadian sport you’ll find – right up there with lacrosse, hockey and pelting your best friend with rock-hard snowballs until they run crying and screaming to their mom.
The possibility of getting hurt is all part of the thrill, isn’t it? As a kid, my brothers would dare me to take my crazy carpet head-first down the hill over a sheer drop-off into the bushes. I did it – mostly because I didn’t see the thorny brush until it was too late, but I survived, and didn’t sue anyone.
Any sport or activity is going to have its risks, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be stopped entirely. Attending a beach where there is no lifeguard on duty means swimming at your own risk, and toboggan hills should be treated the same way. Throw some signs up cautioning people of just that and it should be enough for cities to cover themselves. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the way it is anymore.
In the end, it’s just another outdoor activity being taken away from children who need more opportunities to get outside and be active, not less. All the more reason for them to sit inside in the winter glued to a screen.
On a positive note, I was very impressed when I was able to check out Gull Lake’s Lyceum Theatre for the first time during a girls’ night out a couple weeks ago. In all these years, I’ve never been to Gull Lake’s theatre before, but it was a great way to spend the evening and a fantastic facility.
The trip is definitely worth it, and a better bargain than driving to the city when you take into account tickets are half the cost of larger centres, the town is closer and you also have a carload of people to split the cost of gas.
Seeing how well it functions through volunteers and community fundraising, Lyceum Theatre makes the proposed re-establishment of the Grand Theatre seem very possible. Imagine what we could do if even a small group of us volunteered to work the ticket booth or sell popcorn and drinks just one night a week. It doesn’t take a huge effort and could actually be a lot of fun if or when the project takes off.