Will Sault Ste. Marie Ban Tobogganing Too?

A local resident enjoy's tobogganing at the bottom of Garson's Hill (Stock Photo)

Banning a long time winter activity is becoming a growing trend with municipalities in Canada. Sudbury being the latest. Don’t expect the city of Sault Ste. Marie to follow suit, at least not yet.

The tobogganing ban stems from lawsuits from families that have been injured  in the past that now have cities banning together to put an end to the fun for kids in the winter.

Could Sault Ste. Marie be next?  The city banned children from climbing on board “Porter the train” at Bellevue Park several years ago  due to liability issues. For similar reasons, many municipalities have put a ban on the popular winter pastime. The City of Hamilton has banned sledding in all city parks since 2001, Ottawa meanwhile has recently implemented bylaws prohibiting sledding in certain areas.

Sault Ste. Marie has a few popular spots for sledding, including Finn Hill on Black Road, often attracting hundreds of people, mainly families.

” As you know we do not ban sledding in Sault Ste. Marie. That specific question has never been (in my recollection) considered by Council.” City Solicitor, Nuala Kenny told Saultonline.com A decision on banning the sport would have to be initiated by council. “It would be Council’s decision and implemented via a by-law. Alternatively, the City could prohibit sledding on City owned land, erect signs advising of the ban and the enforcement would come via the Trespass to Property Act.” Kenny said.

Locally the brain injury association has not taken a stand on the issue but stress safety is always key with any activity. “there’s a risk with many sports, hockey, snowboarding etc., though nothing is a guarantee, kids and adults should be wearing appropriate helmets” said Elizabeth Eddy from the Brain Injury Association.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information claims 5,600 Canadian are injured every year from such winter activities as tobogganing skating, skiing and resulting in over 45,000 emergency department visits in Ontario.

Over 20% of the injuries are concussions, broken bones, or internal injuries that were caused by colliding with trees, signs, posts, or by being thrown from the toboggan according to reports.

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Craig Huckerby is a seasoned broadcast and media professional with over 43 years in local media. Starting in television, Craig became known as "the weather guy" on local television before pioneering internet media in the Sault. Craig is credited for bringing local television back to the Sault via the internet in 2003 with LTVNEWS.COM and was instrumental in launching SooNews.ca and Local2.ca. Craig is happy to be part of the Sault's newest media team of ONNtv and SaultOnline.com. Craig has also won numerous International Film awards for director of the documentary, "Was I Next?, The Sean Cribbin Story"


  1. This may change in Sudbury.. They are getting a lot of flak over it from the whole city. It was a knee-jerk response to a complaint, kinda like the Rhodes statue thing here in the Soo a few years ago..

  2. Honestly!!! What’s everyone worried about I hardly see any if these technology crazed kids sliding down any hills anyway.Stupid is all I can honestly say ,just stupid!!!!

  3. There is an inherent right of all humans to self determination..It is undeniable and what makes us humans, human. If I choose to sled, roller skate, ride a bike, climb a tree it is my choice to make. What is the most disturbing and lost most of all in this litigation happy society is that with self determination comes self responsibility.

    If I get injured because of my choice to do those types of activities I fully expect to take the responsibility.

  4. Why are they taking away everything for childten? This isnt right it was never a problem before ! Why now? Leave things alone. Children have nothing to do! You take everything away and you wonder why kids are getting into trouble! If you had activities here like it was before maybe people wouldnt bitch !…

  5. There are only a few winter activities that are low to no cost to participate in outdoors. If you want the obesity rate to go down, it’s important to allow activities that any income level can do and do as a family! I have fond memories of tobogganing down Finn Hill and Fort Creek with my family as a child – then to go home to warm up with a nice cup of hot chocolate. I appreciate that the city tries to keep it safe by putting up a barrier before participants hit the road, and keep watch for issues that may cause injury even though it’s to be used at our own risk. Let’s keep it available to have a great time!!

  6. Hopefully Sault Ste. Marie makes the right decision: Keep the hills open and use at your own risk. The only thing they should ban is the right to sue the municipality for injuries sustained while sliding down the hill 😉

  7. I am sure there is a legal way for the city not to condone tobogganing on city property which would free up the city from a lawsuit without making the act of tobogganing a Trespass to Property crime.

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