toronto bylaws

Park sign basically prohibiting fun of any kind is the most Toronto thing ever

Imagine you're out taking an early spring stroll through one of Toronto's parks. Say you have plans to throw a ball or frisbee around, maybe you brought along a camera, or perhaps you wanted to fly a kite.

Cool, so you have a permit for that, right?

It turns out we're all a bit more rebellious than we thought, a sign posted in a city park showing a long list of by-laws that we've all almost certainly violated on a typical day out in the sun. And these seemingly excessive regulations for a park visit just might be the most Toronto thing ever.

Spotted by journalist John Lorinc in Sunnybrook Park, photos of the sign were posted to Twitter on Saturday morning, since met with dozens of responses from baffled commenters as many learn they have been disobeying all kinds of ridiculous bylaws without even knowing it.

"Welcome to Sunnybrook Park," the sign reads, adding, "enjoy your visit." The notice then goes on to list the various things you are forbidden to enjoy during said visit. So, sure, you can enjoy the park as the sign suggests, just stand mostly still, and you should be good.

It turns out even the act of photographing the sign itself was a violation, the city offering a phone line to call for those who wish to take still photography in the park. Yes, even simply taking a photo is against the rules here. And don't even think about tossing a ball or frisbee without securing the necessary permit. That is also forbidden.

And if you want to ride your bike on even the slightest incline, that's also going to be a nope from the city, which states under municipal code 608-29 that "cyclists must dismount on hills" and walk their bikes.

Lorinc tells blogTO that it appears "this sign — and its predecessor from the Metro days — has been there for a long time, and doesn't seem to impact park use. People ignore it, which is fine. It's just this weird artifact."

He adds that "Pre-amalgamation, Metro had its parks and the local municipalities had theirs, and they were managed differently. The big parks along the Don — Serena Gundy, Wilket Creek, etc. — were all Metro because they were also flood plains. This sign is in a former Metro park."

Toronto has a bit of a reputation for overly bureaucratic signage, the city even being poked fun at by the linguistic elites over at Merriam-Webster.

And the city is once again being called out for similar reasons.

But it looks like everyone can hold back on the outrage, as the city's Forestry and Recreation and Municipal Licencing and Standards confirmed to blogTO on Monday afternoon that the sign will be removed.

"We thank those that brought this sign to our attention," the city representative says. "With more than 1,500 parks across the city and even more park signs, from time to time we come across signs that require updating or improvements. We can confirm this sign will be removed and replaced."

Lead photo by

John Lorinc


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