The Best Tobogganing Hills in Toronto
After a freakishly warm thaw, this weekend it appears that the snow will be back in Toronto. But don't let the inclement weather and the economy get you down - tobogganing is winter weekend fun on the cheap.
Dust off that classic sled, purchase a shiny new KrazyKarpet, or just throw a garbage bag under your tushy and hit these eight select slopes in the city.
Christie Pits + Bickford Park
Christie Pits and Bickford Park are technically two different parks, but because they straddle either side of Bloor Street West at Christie, I like to think of them as two great downhill experiences for the walking distance of one. Plus, Christie Pits really has three different hills offering three different kinds of ride. Look out for needles and old condoms.
Withrow Park is where I spent my fifth through tenth birthdays, and I have a special place for it in my heart. The hill is steep and and smooth mostly, and its relative shortness is ideal for toddlers and kids at heart. Waves in the slope on the far left side can pitch you on your face if you're not careful. South of the Danforth between Pape and Chester.
A popular spot, the side of the hill gets slippery with packed snow. Luckily, a set of stairs on the far left make for an easy hike.
Riverdale Park is where you go when you've had a few too many quaaludes and you climb out of your basement to go sledding with Jack Layton. It has one of the best views of any hill in Toronto, and the slope is as straight as it is steep. If Withrow Park was the tobogganing hill of my inner child's dreams, Riverdale Park is the perfect hill for my inner young adult.
On Broadview, south of the Danforth.
The hill here is wide and, sandwiched between two schools, very safe. Located at the peak of Toronto, the view of the city from this hill on Don Mills Rd just south of Finch is perfect on a crisp winter's day. Come for night sledding for extra points.
Easily one of the best hills in Toronto, Lithuania Park is a mostly undiscovered treat north of the more popular High Park, on Keele. Frequented only by local families, this taller hill offers speed and enough room at the bottom to slow down properly. The hill is slightly curved--to test your skills, try to push your starting spot as far to the left as possible without off-roading into the trees before you reach the bottom.
The top of the hill can get very icy in inclement weather. A smaller hill opposite is a good place to train a little sister or brother.
The winter sports connoisseur knows that High Park cannot be avoided. Like the Christie+Bickford tag-team High Park offers a variety of hills, but its much larger size and forestation makes the discovery of a new off-road trail as exhilarating as actually riding it. The most popular hill just south of the Grenadier Restaurant is safe for beginners, but can get crowded quickly. Follow Deer Pen Road through the zoo and to the first parking lot for a more challenging ride: but only in high snow! The hillside is mostly stairs.
Sadly, a "Winter Sports Prohibited" sign tops the main hill. Ignore it.
Trinity Bellwoods Park
This well-known park gets points for convenience and character. If you don't already live within walking distance, I'm sure you can find an exhibit opening on Queen or Dundas to pre-ride for. If morning's more your style, tobogganing Sunday + brunch at The Drake or Dakota = sublime! (I imagine: at any rate, it's been added to my to do list).
Good or bad, the hill at Trinity Bellwods Park comes with the trappings of Queen and Dundas. People are nuts.
Winston Churchill Park
This acutely artificial slope offers a fast and furious run in a neighbourhood that's rather swish. Even by Toronto standards this is not a tall hill, but its especially steep incline is not for the faint of heart. A mid-range slope, for the sledding enthusiast after a quick thrill. Located on St. Clair W, east of Bathurst.