Monday, 21 November 2022

House of Vans Toronto 2022

 House of Vans Toronto 2022

The Great Hall

VANS was back with HoV featuring bands, workshops, a community market and of course...A Skatepark.

My 500th skatepark.











Morning Bell Skateboards.  Thanks a bunch Juan!


Scored a rail on the way home.




Friday, 18 November 2022

BGC Kawarthas Skatepark

BGC Kawarthas Skatepark

Lindsay, ON

107 Lindsay St N off George St W

The Boys & Girls Club got a sweet outdoor, public concrete skatepark. I had to get there on a midnight mission to skate it before the snow. Park 499! 







This bowl could have been a lot better. It's really simple and (IMO) the transfer QP should have been extended to the other side of the bowl as well.  

Schomberg, ON

 Schomberg, ON

Osin Lions Park

Western Ave

A small but fun spot with banks, ledges, rails, QP Hubba and a big curb.













Friday, 11 November 2022

Strathroy

 Strathroy, ON

Strathroy now has 2 parks, one old, one new. Neither is stellar.

Strathroy All-wheels Park

334 Metcalfe St W


Strathroy Skatepark

223 Carrie St

Strathroy All-wheels Park

Strathroy All-wheels Park

334 Metcalfe Street W, Strathroy

Going over budget at $900000 and taking SIX months to complete, the Strathroy All-wheels Park is now open to some less than stellar reviews by the locals I spoke with.


Don't get me wrong, I had fun but the park rated a solid A on my skatepark rating scale (The EGAD Scale - Excellent, Good, Acceptable, Despicable) so not too high. There were a elements from the concept that I wanted to try out; the bowl with its 3 features and the CRC Y rail & 'Old Skool' rail. 


The bowl didn't have any of the additional features

Additionally, none of the transition had any reveal on the coping.

The Y rail was a lot of fun but the 'Old Skool' Rail was in a different location.
Up on this bank

This made it harder to hit. The concrete work here is questionable, lumpy and sometimes rough/sometimes slick.  There was already a hitching post rail in the park so the reason for this being here must have to do with the brick bank. Oh yeah, the brick bank was changed to the no-ping QP.

The Coaster. It was fun but the concrete was already wearing out at the pinnacle.

Pumptrack. No Complaints. I find them pretty boring. Make some table tops!


The bank is steep and the ledge is short & narrow.


This looks like a repair job on a decade old park.
Level as a sidewalk
Who needs space for multiple riders?

With all these issues I still tore this park up. Would I go back? Probably not. Would I recommend avoiding the park? No. If you are considering using this company you should definitely compare this to other modern skateparks.   

You can do that HERE

Monday, 7 November 2022

Their Best & Worst

 Their Best & Worst...

to the best of my knowledge.

I've been to 500 skateparks and I do my best to find out all about them. I try to learn about the designers, build crews and the history of Advocacy, City Council involvement and construction. Some parks are designed by one company and built by another. Sometimes a park is built by General Contractors with mixed results (most are pretty competent, getting better with each project OR the GC subcontracts to a skatepark expert).

I have done my best to validate the following claims but (for legal reasons) this is an opinion piece. Additionally, a project may have come out poorly due to reasons outside of the company's control(I'll do my best to explain). Municipal Rules sometimes prevent a Design Company from bidding on the Build part of the project. I'm limiting this article to Ontario Projects.

New Line Skateparks

The Best

Difficult to choose as New Line has been a leader in quality skateparks for 20 years. I'll go with the Newmarket Outdoor Skatepark. It's modern with good amenities.


The Worst
I have a full breakdown of the problems with this park(click the link). It's a shame as the design is good but the construction, done by a different firm, is awful. 


Spectrum Skateparks
While this company is no longer around, the former prez is still active with freelance projects & they have a large number of parks in Ontario. 

The Best
Campbellford Skatepark is my favorite park. A few marble ledges need some repairs but the park is tops. A very close second would be Picton.  This park was constructed by Radius Skateparks who built a lot of Spectrum Projects.

The Worst
As per my source, The City of Mississauga wanted a skatepark designed in a way that it could be installed modular or poured. Most of Mississauga's are pre-fab concrete ramps.  Spectrum had nothing to do with construction.


Transition Construction

The Best
I may be biased but the West Shore Skate Spot is sick. 

The Worst
Transition does not have many Ontario projects (design) that I know of, but Thamesford has to take last place. It's a good park with a few questionable design choices but the degrading pool cooping puts it at the bottom. 


ConcreteSkateConcept.com
I don't know much about this company but their emblem is unmistakable. This one in Port Franks is probably the best I've come across.

The Worst
These modular parks are rare. Both Alymer & Vienna have the same issues as the loser on this list - Dryden. While it has reportedly been fixed, Dryden was the most unrideable park I've ever been to. It was 4 years old in 2013 when I visited and there was so much damage to the concrete, filler and coping I stayed out of the bowl entirely.


Radius Skateparks
The Best
Radius built a lot of parks, many designed by other companies, but Haliburton Junction Skatepark is their jewel. It contains multiple local references and has all the basics.

The Worst
Ok, this one is a bit unfair. Brighton is a generation 2 park that re-used the existing concrete pad and pre-fab ramps. The addition was designed by New Line but Radius actually made it better. When this is your 'worst', you build pretty awesome parks.



Whatever This Is
I have not been able to find the company that built these 'no run up' stair sets but they exist in Arnprior & Erieau. The flats of the box and mini are both rippled. I think Hanover is the same company which would explain the Ankle Mangler. No Best or Worst. All weird.


SKATEWAVE
The Best
Skatewave was discontinued in 2017 but a ton of their products still exist. They feature a lot of butter ledges (recycled plastic) which wears and is easily subjected to damage (melts). This Brampton installation at Gore Meadows was pretty good and well laid out on a fresh asphalt pad...

Until it was moved. The new pad is broom finished concrete, and the broom finish runs perpendicular to the flow of the park.

 The Worst
Another Brampton Franken-park. This one at Memorial Arena is made of other decommissioned skateparks in Brampton. These ramps become extremely slick when wet or dusty and break down over time.


This Stuff
Another mystery modular I've seen around, this one in Kincardine is the best I've come across. & by best I mean that most of the parts were there & the surface was good. Even with all that, the town is planning a concrete skatepark. 

The Worst
Same ramps in Petawawa on the military base. Rough ground, bad layout & missing parts.

Victor Ford & Asscoiates
VF&A are a landscape archetecture firm that was involved in several skatepark porjects in the late 90's and early 2000's. They, thankfully, have left skateparks to the professionals. Their style of boxed in quarters and safety rails makes their projects distinct.

Their Best
Cummer, I guess. One of the first skateparks in Toronto. It's really bad by todays standards but I remember being hyped on it when it first opened. The box leads right into a quarter pipe and the stair set landing drops into the bowl.

Their Worst
I'm so glad I didn't go to college in Ridgetown, for many reasons. This park is so weird bad that I skated the knocked over barrier.


Papillion Skateparks
Finally, Papillion Skateparks is rocking projects in Ontario. This is the only one so far (that I know of) but I've been to a few of their projects in their home province of Quebec. They are fantastic.  This is Akwesasne Skatepark on Cornwall Island.


Canadian F****** Ramp Company

This company produces different kinds of modular ramps (metal, composite and concrete) and poured in place (PIP) Skateparks. They have also worked in Canada under the names Hardcore Skateparks, Hardcore Shotcrete and are the Canadian Division of American Ramp Company(i believe).
If you can't tell, I'm biased against them. I don't hate them. I just want them to do better.

Their Best Metal Park
Port Rowan is well layed out on a fresh concrete pad. There's a bit of modular damage but overall, it's pretty good. It, however, is loud. Like beating on a giant metal drum loud.  The park in Erin was so loud the town built a 10ft wall to block the sound. When Newcastle proposed a metal park I wrote them a letter about how the features perform in the real world. 


The Worst Metal Park
Sheldon Park in Burlington is a Certified Piece of Suck. Super rough, seagull poop covered ground with a loud bench and rainbow rail. Rot in Peace.


Their best composite park.
The Thorndale skatepark has a decent layout and the ramps are in decent condition. I've been to dozens of parks just like this.


Their worst composite park
There are a few cases of pristine ramps but such a stupid layout that no one uses the park. The one in St. George is another case of too much stuff packed into too small a space. But who cares when you're selling ramps. 


Their best pre-cast Concrete Park
I liked Listowel. It has some issues but it was fun.


Their worst pre-cast concrete park
Churchill Meadows Community Common (not to be confused with Churchill Meadows Community Centre some 3km away) is poorly laid out and, due to damage I assume, some of the banks were removed from this section. I've found the bolts that hold the transition plates are easily damaged and they pop up. The city then grinds them smooth. Eventually, there's nothing holding the plate on. Another park lost the plate and the city came in and ground the bolt ends off. Didn't replace the plate though.


Precast/PIP mix
Nelson Skatepark was supposed to be a PIP park but the city cheaped out and went with this. The original design included a mini-ramp. Follow the link to see all the issues. Oh yeah, this is the 'best'.

The Worst Precast/PIP mix
Hagersville has concrete transition 'plates' for their quarter pipes.

You know what, nevermind. Midland is worse. The precast stuff is a big lump in the middle of the park. You need to bomb a rough hill into the park to carry enough speed to get to the stairs/rails on the other side of the obstacle. The bowl (PIP) has no reveal on the coping AKA No-ping. Left to Right - bomb the hill. Right to Left - Drop in on the jersey barrier. FFS.


Their Best PIP Concrete Park
Picton is a fantastic park that attracts people from all over Ontario and beyond. It was designed by Spectrum and built by CRC. It was so successful because a local skateboarding youth pastor who works at the church across the street was on site every day making sure it was done right.
Sweet Photo courtesy of Session Atlas

EDIT - hours after publishing this article I hit Cornell Community park and found the new skate spot is open. Designed by CRC. Built by (I don't know). It's really, really, really slippery but the design and layout is great. Hopefully a winter makes it a little more rideable. The city has already roughed up a small patch of QP when they buffed some tags.  I can't talk shit about this design. If this was the quality they put out every time I wouldn't have such a problem with CRC.



Their Worst PIP Skatepark
Geez, pick one. This is from their own website.
Let's break them down in order.

First - Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. Looks great but bad to skate.
With the center island being the highest point, hitting the stairs is difficult. It's either a quick throwdown or cross the park. There's also the big 3 to parking lot. The kicker to kicker gap is rounded, making it useless. Most of the transition is weird and it lacks the basic flat bar, ledge & manny pad. I'm fairly sure the hubbas were precast. That would explain the 6" flat to hubba on the Left side of this photo.

Second - Aurora Family Leisure Complex. note the creek
Click the link for more info but I'll keep it brief here. The park has been deemed structurally unsound and will be completely replaced.

Third - Mclennan Skatepark, Kitchener. Mt Trashmore
Sorry for the trash photo but the asphalt was sinking away from the concrete and you can see a corner of the old 'hot tub' quarter that doesn't appear in the website photo. The whole park is built on a former dump. CRC got the build contract for this design (by another company) and didn't use enough pilings. The entire bowl shifted and the 'hot tub' would hold water so the city removed it. The bowl continued to shift and the city had no choice but to decommission and destroy the bowl. It was under 10 years old. 

While I haven't skated it yet, the new Strathroy park will probably join this list. (EDIT - While it was fun, Strathroy is another Construction FAIL)  It has a high middle layout like Tyendinaga.  Skatepark construction is a really hot field right now and crews are busy.  CRC was having a hard time finding experienced skatepark builders for this project. That may explain why the project took SIX months!  I have seen photos of the now complete park and there are rails in different (and stupid) places from the concept and looks like the bowl lost all the extensions and features. 
Oh, and the Volmer park that was New Line's worst. Guess who built that?

Reminder - This in an opinion piece.