Friday 17 November 2023

Pickering Skateboard Parks Strategy Update

 Pickering Skateboard Parks Strategy Update

It has been 5 years since the Pickering Skateboard Park Strategy was approved and the West Shore Skate Spot has been proof of the need for action sports facilities. 

While The Strategy has guided the City of Pickering to this point, there is much to be done and several updates that need to be made to The Strategy.

Here's some suggestions for the future.

1 - No More Murals on Skate Surfaces. Put that 50k into the park. The WSSS mural has caused an issue with user traction. The paint and sealant used left the spot too slippery to ride.  The city is addressing the issue slowly. 

2 - No Honey Locust Trees near skateparks. They are the worst shedders of leaves and stems. Younger Honey Locust Trees also shed their leaves earlier leaving them looking dead while mature trees, maples, oaks etc. retain their leaves longer.

3 - Faux stone finishes on berms to avoid erosion problems.  Steep berms are difficult to sod, resulting in the dirt being exposed and then being washed onto the park.  These Faux Stone finishes by Transition Construction eliminate the mounds of dirt that have difficulty retaining grass.

4 - Benches.  It took a year but WSSS now has the bench it should have had the day it opened. Without benches, users and spectators end up sitting on the obstacles. Additionally, the 2 new trash cans have decreased the overall litter throughout the Community Centre area.

5 - Proper park transitions.  The West Shore Skate Spot had a parking lot to skate spot transition of crushed gravel. As it was being installed, I contacted the city and was told 'it will be fine'.  I had seen a temporary gravel transition in Arthur and the rocks ended up all over the park.  A year of complaints and abrupt stops (known as rock farts due to the sound before the slam) the city finally agreed to asphalt the transition. 

6. Coloured concrete instead of murals. Markham is 20yrs old and still stands out.

7. Design/Build Contracts.  The West Shore Skate Spot project proved the effectiveness of a design/build contract.  The Project was tendered in December of 2021, consults & designs were conducted through the spring and shovels were in the ground July 4th. The spot opened, as promised, 7 weeks later and has been a hub of activity since. If the park is dry, people use it. I recall a fantastic February session with 7 other skaters.

Moving Forward
Pickering now has 2 skateparks, Pickering Skatepark in Princess Diana Park & The West Shore Skate Spot. These parks reside in Wards 3 & 1 leaving only Ward 2 without an action sports facility. 
Throughout the consultation process for the WSSS, pump tracks were a frequent request. Two of the parks listed in The Strategy within Ward 2, David Farr Memorial Park & the Hydro Corridor - Liverpool Rd North would be perfect for pump tracks.
The remaining Ward 2 location, Kinsmen Bay Ridges Park, is perfect for a skate spot. 

The need for a Community Skatepark still exists with the impending decommission of the Pickering Skatepark. City Staff have been consulting on a new location within the hydro corridor and have requested information on Plaza Style Skateparks.
Back to Ward 1, Mayor Ashe (as a Councillor) mentioned the St Mary's Park might be a good location for a skatepark. I agree and believe a sculptural skate dot would be a perfect addition to the park. See examples below. Additionally, new parks in North Pickering should be planned to include skateparks and spots while older park renovations should consider skate dots (simple ledges or sculptures) that can be skated in the shared public space.

A street spot in Valencia, Spain and concepts based on it. 

Sculptural Ledge Features

Lastly, Page 3 of the Pickering Skateboard Park strategy should be edited to read;

Scott Loyst is a local resident, skateboarder and advocate for additional skateboard parks in Pickering. He serves on the Executive Board of the Pickering West Shore Community Association (PWSCA) which organized a federal grant to hire two summer students to design a sensory garden and a skate spot at the West Shore Community Centre location. 

Scott presented the students work & his work to the PWSCA at the Annual General Meeting which took place on September 13th, 2017. The PWSCA voted to approve a skateboard park for the West Shore Community Centre should the opportunity arise with the development of the Skateboard Park Strategy 2017.

The Skate Spot was unanimously approved by council after public feedback came in at 91% in support.  The spot was constructed in the summer of 2022 and opened to immediate and constant use proving the need for additional action sports facilities in Pickering.

Saturday 11 November 2023

2023: The Year of Sassy Spott

 2023: The Year of Sassy Spott

Picking a Fight with 'Canada's Most Patriotic Town'

Earlier this year I was sitting out in my yard after the kids had gone to sleep, enjoying an adult beverage, when I got an email notification about a comment on this blog. 

It Read...

While I am always happy to have an update on a park or an explanation for why something was done a certain way (in this case, the crushed gravel), what rubbed me the wrong way was the assumption of what I like. I like skateparks. I'm disappointed to see communities work so hard and get taken advantage of due to their lack of skatepark knowledge.  I'd followed the Arthur Skatepark Project for a while so I was bummed when I found out it was going to be pre-fab. One highlight was the inclusion of the CRC 'Snap' obstacle.

This ramp was notably missing on my first visit. Additionally, the budget for this project is public record so I know what they paid and what they could have gotten for the same price in concrete.

Having consumed a strong sour, I was feeling sassy and replied...

The next morning I re-read my message and found it was not as sassy as I remembered. It was actually quite fair. 

I have been back and there is grass to the edge of the park and the new feature is there. I wouldn't say it's worth the trip. It's a just steep bank with extension in the shape of a 1/2 skateboard and the supports are rusting.  The whole Park Review & Comments can be found HERE.

Here's the Video


Tamworth is a park in Rural Southeast Ontario and it is riddled with problems. In short; it was not built by skatepark professionals. 

Check out the whole post HERE or the video below.

There's a bit of sass in the video tour and the blog post.

When I posted about the park on my IG, I mentioned that I did have fun despite the poor quality of the park. Most of the commenters agreed with my assessment of the park. Except one, and given the post was focusing on the quality, I replied...

Before I had acquired the skate skills I now have, I could go to great skateparks and not have fun. It wasn't the park, it was me. I cut my teeth on bowls so if a park didn't have a bowl or QP I could rock n roll, I didn't like the park. As my skills grew, so did my appreciation for other skatepark features. I've also been to some terrible parks and had fun (Port Lambton & Old Corunna come to mind).
You can also have a ton of fun in an empty parking lot with a single waxed curb. Does that make it a good skatepark? 
I replied...

Again, I think I'm pretty fair with my sassiness.

The Mural Fiasco

TLDR: There's a mural and it made the spot too slippery to ride. Check the post HERE.  It comes into play later.
This is about the aftermath.  The Mural was unveiled on Friday. Overnight Sunday into Monday the spot was vandalized with 3 tags. F*** YOU!
That afternoon, I was able to cover the most prominent tag with leftover paint. The other two were more hidden so I left those for the city to handle.
Three days later, the city painted over the tags and had the spot temporarily closed. The IG post comment section was full of 'told you so's' & 'I knew this would happen'.  
Super guys, thanks for saying something the writing.

 Lots of bowls and skateparks are painted and it doesn't effect the surface when done right.  The Vanderhoof bowl gets a fresh paint job before Hoedown at the Hoof and they don't have to wait a winter to make the park skatable.  
Anyways, this guy pops up a few times in the comment section. I don't know who they or where they came from but they've never been involved in anything in Pickering (at least not under this IG handle).
Nice use of 'Culpability'.
I do delete messages on occasion. Not this time. This blog, which is linked from the IG, is evidence of my involvement. The blog post outlines my concerns about the mural to the city and how I was ignored at every stage.  I never got a reply so maybe this gone extinct.

I really would like to see the ads😜
I get a lot of bot comments on here but the accidental posting of the unfinished message has me scratching my head.
I can only imagine what Anonymous was seeing, especially since I don't have ads. Lemon Party fan perhaps (IYKYK, Don't google it!)

The year 2023 was really good. Took 4 trips to the States, hit over 30 parks and continued to see the effects of skatepark advocacy. I've been Burnt Out in the past, now I'm Sassy!
Peep this years edit. I'm already working on next years.

Thursday 2 November 2023

Food Court Skatepark

 Food Court Skatepark

Located in: Mckinley Mall
Address3701 McKinley Pkwy Unit 835, Buffalo, NY 14219, United States
An absolutely fantastic skatepark in a mall only 2h from Toronto.
Check out their IG HERE!

I had a great sesh and can't wait to have another.

Straight up street section

Dixie cup Manny Pad!!!

Sick Barrier pipe

Bump to Bar

Big Banana Curb

My favourite little touch - A lit up deathbox with pool coping. The front is covered in Plexiglas for safety (death-less box) 

Still gotta conquer this rainbow rail.  

Front Desk/Pro Shop

Oh, There's a Foodcourt FingerPark and Shop too!