As the season's snowy spectacle winds down, notice how cutbacks are robbing us of our cold-weather fun. "Closed for the season" means, like, half a year in this frosty clime. Hard to believe the city's so freaked by a little white stuff - and we're letting them get away with it.
We think this is a misprint. At least parks and rec officials couldn't explain why Keelesdale Park, or any park for that matter, would be closed "for the season." We're told the sign should read "Parking closed for season," but we don't see a car in this graphic. Surely they jest? But, oh no. Tobogganing is strictly a no-no anywhere in the city where there are trees, which means most parks, including those with some of the better hills, like Earl Bales. We're less convinced by the city's other explanation - that tobogganing kills plants. Strange but true. It's the "no winter maintenance" in small print that gets us. "Recreational" trails, after all, are supposed to be about recreation, but the city says it doesn't have the person power or money to make the main pathways, even in "key area sites" like the Don Valley, passable. So much for making our green crown jewel a year-round attraction and sanctuary. Forget the fact that the words "rink" and "closed" should never be used in the same sentence. What makes matters more grating is that the outdoor rink we're talking about here is in economically challenged Regent Park. So much for a skate or game of shinny by moonlight - or giving kids a productive outlet. Refusing to clear bike lanes that snake through major green spaces like High Park while keeping paths for cars clean? Last time we checked, High Park was a park, not a car park. Hmm. Maybe not. Please see next item. We're feeling a little fenced in by the city's rationale for blocking off sports fields in High Park. The city says the fencing costs so much to put up during fall maintenance that they don't bother taking it down until spring. Guess they've never heard of Red Rover or football in the snow - not an altogether wacky concept in the Great White North. When nature calls - in the anatomical sense, that is - forget about finding a washroom in any city park, including along our vaunted waterfront trail, to relieve yourself. The city says public toilets are shut down for the winter because they don't want to risk pipes freezing and bursting. Doesn't explain why they're closed until the May 24 long weekend, though. No, we're not advocating golf in winter, but literally hundreds of acres in the five courses scattered across the city go unused all winter. Why not formally open up these links-lovers' preserves to activities like cross-country skiing for those who can't afford to get out of town? Don't shush us. "Caution" signs warning park-goers to use stairs and paths "at own risk," like this one at Moore Park, are all too common and make us wonder if the city's aversion to residents venturing outside when the white stuff starts falling isn't a little over the top - or the handrail for that matter. North Park is part of the most centrally located ribbon of nature anywhere in the greenspace-deprived former city of York, stretching almost from one end of the tiny berg to the other. But you wouldn't know that from the lack of attention its pathways receive in winter. So much for those naturalized pedestrian links to public transit.