Sunday, 29 August 2021

Replacing Pre-fab with Concrete

Replacing Pre-fab with Concrete

Many communities are faced with a choice when their pre-fab park deteriorates or becomes overused. Add more ramps or, the better choice, build a concrete skatepark.

Some communities choose to build a new park, either on the same site or in a (hopefully) better location.

The old Cannington Skatepark was mostly DIY on an asphalt pad.

The new Cannington Skatepark (AKA Bunkland) is built on a different location on the community centre property.

Some pre-fab park are placed on a concrete pads. If the pad is in good condition, some communities in agreement with the design/build crew, build onto the existing cement to create a new park. I'm not sure of the full cost savings but I have seen that skateparks cost ~40$ per square foot.  

White Oaks Park in London was updated with more pre-fab before being replaced.

The fasten points for the old flat bar are still visible (bar is in the photo above).

Additional levels increase the skatepark users experience. 

The old Clinton park featured a vert ramp but the park had been decommissioned long before the new park was planned.

When Clinton Community Park was revitalized, the skatepark was built, incorperating the the old concrete pad. Playgrounds, a Picnic Shelter & a Splash Pad were added.

The Brighton Skatepark in 2013. Fenced in like a prison yard. The rails and ledges were set in a circular pattern while the ramps were placed in a line across the park.

The new Brighton Skatepark has a quarter with a roll-in, a central ledge/manny pad feature, a 1/2 volcano and a flow bowl.

Central Feature aka Option Island
Tight and fun new flow bowl.  The Town worked on a total design/build budget 265K (as I understand from FB) and while the reception is mixed, I think they got a good amount of new terrain for that price.
The old ramps were also utilized. The park is now open and features a table with shade structure.
The Build Crew, Radius Skateparks, are skatepark experts and skaters themselves. They took the concept and made some adjustments and replacements, resulting in a much better park.

Despite 15-20yr warranties, most pre-fab ramps will degrade over time and some modular ramp companies have closed up shop. The Skatepark Project (formerly The Tony Hawk Foundation) found that ~50% of pre-fab parks in the USA close within 4 years. The Skatepark Project considers pre-fab parks as 'temporary skateparks' and stopped providing grants to anything but free, public, outdoor concrete skateparks years ago. 

G-Ridge Skate Dot

 G-Ridge Skate Dot

The Gordon Ridge Park update involved a complete rebuild of the basketball courts but also included a stage, table tennis, walking track, parkour features and a skate dot consisting of a two height rail, a rainbow rail and a block. It's not much but I'd be stoked if I lived there.

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Trinity Bellwoods. Toronto, ON

 Trinity Bellwoods

Seasonal DIY

Toronto, ON

I've seen obstacles set up in the rink at Trinity Bellwoods but didn't have my board. It's not much but it is a nice, low key spot to practice some rail or ledge tricks.

Saturday, 14 August 2021

My Skatepark Rating Scale

 My Skatepark Rating Scale

I'm often asked 'what is the best skatepark in Canada?'

How do you define best? I definitely have some favorite parks and memorable skateparks in the 440 parks I've skated. Millennium in Calgary & The Forks in Winnipeg stand out. I've had great sessions at objectively bad skateparks. For simplicity, I usually say my single favorite single park is Campbellford, Ontario for a lot of reasons including layout, features, history and setting. 

With skateparks being so varied I made up my own scale based on the overall functionality and enjoyment of a skatepark. It has noting to do with the size or cost of the park & is based on my personal opinion of the park. I'll give some examples and try to explain myself.

I present the EGAD Scale


Excellent parks are rare (& remember, this is my personal judgement and opinion).  An Excellent park has to cater to all levels and all styles of skating. It has noting to do with size of the park. A park that only pros can rip isn't functional for everyone and would bump it down. I would consider Winnipeg's The Plaza at the Forks an Excellent park. Despite being known as a plaza, it also has a world class bowl with a small end. The plaza has features of different sizes making it a wonderland for beginners to top level skaters.

Stair sets from 2 to 8 steps, multiple ledges and rails of different heights & skatable art features set this park out as one of the best in Canada.
The world class bowl has a 5 foot mini section leading to a flowing bowl with a 17 foot cradle.  See more from New Line's own page HERE

An example of a small park that rates an 'E' is Six Nations Skatepark in Ohsweken, ON

Starting with Transition, the QP is not huge but there is an extension, a hip, a fly out to big bank as well as a beautiful Wampum Belt in-lay.

There are multiple ledges, both stone and metal, and rails on flat as well as down rails.  There are many unique features like the Wampum Belt, the stone ledge and a scooped step-up that set this park apart.

Good parks are plentiful and the majority are Poured in Place Concrete. A few pre-fab parks make the grade (see Richmond Green).  A good park may just have that one thing that holds it back from being an Excellent Park but is faaaaar from being a bad park. The Ashbridges Bay Skatepark in Toronto is a favorite of many but I rate it as Good. Its lack of a started level transition is what holds it back in my mind. Feel free to argue in the comments and I'll delete it if you're mean.
ABB is undoubtedly a fantastic park but this bowl is gnarly and there's no other QP to try out.  There are other levels of ledges, stair sets, skateable art and replicated street spots. 

On the other end of the size spectrum, Angus Glen Skate Spot in Markham is another good park. It has a QP with a feature, ledges and rails. It doesn't have a big variety of obstacles but it's fully functional to all levels of skater.

Acceptable parks are pretty much everything else. They're the bread & butter of my life list.  It's the old, concrete parks (Pickering, Cummer), the less than stellar concrete parks, the Seasonal DIY's (tons of fun, no doubt) & most of pre-fab and pre-cast skateparks. They may be someones favorite park.
Some of these parks are objectively bad but I've had ton of fun at these parks, both alone and with friends. The whole point of my blog, directory, life list and map is to point skaters to something they can skate, no matter where they might be.
'There's always something to skate, but it might not be great' - Me
Midland. I don't like this park. The bowl is poorly poured with no-ping and the centre section has its failings. Still, it works. The Skateboard Philosopher did a good video here.

Malton. This neighbourhood park in Mississauga was my go-to before and after work for years. Not great but functional.

South Innisfil Community Centre. An objectively bad park. Rough Asphalt. Pre-fab obstacles sinking into the asphalt. A really funky flat bar & a big concrete stair set/out ledge combo you hit after dropping in and trying to keep your speed on the bad asphalt. I had a blast at this park figuring out ways to hit these unique obstacles. Is this a good park? No. Did I have fun? Yes. Is it better than nothing? Yes.

and now..

The Despicable
It truly takes a significant effort for me to classify a park as despicable. It needs to be practically unskatable, dangerous or both without any redeemable qualities. One 'D' rated park was just a rainbow rail and a bench on rough, seagull poop covered asphalt and actually made the 'Certified Piece of Suck'. It's thankfully gone now.
Here are some more, status unknown.

This Northern Ontario park was 4 years old when I stopped by on my way to Winnipeg. The layout doesn't look awful ( but note those stairs and step-up) but on closer inspection you can see big gaps in the ramps with filler concrete. Every part of the park was 4 foot sections with filled gaps and coping welded together.
The bowl was by far the worst. The filler concrete has deteriorated, the concrete ramps had deteriorated and shifted, leading to broken welds in the coping and half inch differences between the flat and the bottom of the transition. There were holes in the filler big enough to stick my hand in.
The saddest part is this is a Memorial Skatepark. 

Just an all-round bad park. I don't know if the fence is a permanent feature or was still up following Covid restrictions. Either way, the bank in the back is 45 degrees (steep) with no deck and drops of onto the fence or into the woods. The really rough asphalt was littered with seed pods (think rock farts) and the flat rail shot me into the fence. The 'manny pad' is at least 18 inches high with no grindable/slidable edge and the other ledge was busted up (see below).

I, fortunately, don't have many examples of Despicable parks.
Let me know what you think.

Check out some of my other articles in the Features section on the right.
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Thursday, 5 August 2021

I'm so Excited I'm Nipissing my Pants

 I'm so Excited I'm Nipissing my Pants

Just a week after my 80 skatepark run, I took a trip up to North Bay and back hitting 9 skateparks, 8 of them new! Click the Town Name for more info on the parks.

Mobile Users Click HERE for the Video

The Washago Mini ramp looks better when it's not surrounded by snow.

Burk's Falls was better than I thought it would be.

Brand new Pre-fab ramps in South River, but where's the flat rail and ledge?

Callander's skatepark is beat but fun.

Bonfield's seasonal park. It was great to be out of the sun with a light breeze.

North Bay's Thompson Park is kinda gnarly but the newer mini ramp is a great addition.

Sturgeon Falls. Where the parking lot drains onto the skatepark. Hope you like crust.

One of my patients told me about the Noëlville Skatepark.

Parry Sound Skatepark.

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Parry Sound, ON

 Parry Sound, ON

25 Great North Rd @ George St.

I've avoided this park for a long time as it has a reputation for being really bad and the town doesn't care. The most recent update/version is a big bank to a launch box and a big quarter. There's also a knee high, 4" round flat rail and an 'A' frame with rail and some DIY. The asphalt is rough, there isn't great parking access, the park isn't visible from the road and it's under a bridge. Parts of the ramps have sunk and you hit a lip coming off the ramp.  The locals when I was there were chill but could use a modern park in a better location. 

Mobile Users Click HERE for the Video