Thursday, October 13, 2011

High Park Skills Park Meeting with Jay Hoots Wednesday Oct. 19

TORBA has been working with Toronto BMX and City of Toronto to get a skills park to replace the loss of the old High Park BMX area this past summer.

City staff have now proposed a site (an existing parking lot in the south-east corner of the park) and have engaged well-known bike park designer, Jay Hoots, to develop a new park that will include off-road features, skills areas and landscape amenities.

We now need as many riders as possible to come to the design consultation meeting. It is important to show our support for a replacement skills park, and to have input into the design process. The park is not yet approved and needs strong backing from the cycling community to proceed. Even if you don't normally ride in this area, please attend the meeting to show your support - the success of this project will lead to more City-sanctioned skills parks and trails across Toronto. The City is currently working on its city-wide Trail Strategy, and it's important for riders to be included in the process. This skills park is one step along the way.

When: Wednesday October 19th, 6PM - 8:30PM
Where: Rousseau Room, Swansea Town Hall, 95 Lavinia Avenue (near Bloor and Runnymede).

Whether you can attend the meeting or not, please send an email to the local councillor, Sarah Doucette, who so far has been very favourable to this project. If you can't type, even a quick phone call to Councillor Doucette's office will help - they'll be pleased to hear from you, as they're supporting the proposal. And while you're at it, please let your local councillor know of your support as well.

Please note that there is opposition to this skills park. A small group of people are strongly against the initiative, arguing that there should not be a skills park anywhere in High Park, and that the car park is too close to the former site (which may be an ancient Native burial mound). TORBA's position is that we are very supportive of a new skills park somewhere in High Park; and that as the City has proposed this site and asked us to attend a design consultation, we will attend the meeting and participate. There is likely to be some vocal opposition at the meeting, and we ask you not to be drawn into argumentative debate. Similarly, if you visit the Facebook event page for the meeting, you may see argumentative or insulting comments posted from opponents. We're moderating the page and deleting any comments (for or against the skills park) that are inflammatory or off-topic, but you may read them before we get to them. We apologize, but we want to keep the Facebook event page public. From time to time we've had to take it private to shut down comments; if you can't access the event page, please email us for an invite.

We hope to see you next Wednesday evening.

Below is the invite from the City's Natural Trails Program:

Hello mountain bikers and BMXers,

This is to inform you that City of Toronto staff have recently closed an informal BMX freestyle area (skills park) in High Park to restore an ecologically significant area. The site has been replanted, fenced off and is currently being monitored for any further cycling activity.

A new skills park, offering technically challenging riding in an accessible and controlled environment, will be built on the site of the existing parking lot in the south east corner of High Park. City staff are currently working with accomplished skills park designer, Jay Hoots, to develop the new site that will include appropriate off-road cycling features, skills areas and landscape amenities.

Please join Jay Hoots and City of Toronto staff on Wednesday, October 19 from 6:00-8:30pm, at the Rousseau Room, Swansea Town Hall, to participate in the design consultation for the new skills park in High Park. Jay wants to hear from you.

Natural Environment Trails Program

For more details please visit the Trails Program website at .

To register for the event please contact Scott at or call 416 338 5053.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Latest Update
Lots going on in the next few weeks! There's a Crothers Woods trail day coming up, a build day for the long-neglected Bayview dirtjumps, and we're bringing you news about skills parks and trail access all over the City…

Crothers Woods Trail Maintenance Day – Saturday Oct. 1
Come and join staff from the Natural Environment Trails Program and IMBA on for a day of giving back to the trails in Crothers Woods. This event is open to everyone who would like to get their hands dirty and help out with on-going trail maintenance and management in the Don Valley. All tools and training will be provided. No experience necessary, just come prepared for outdoor working conditions. Trail construction, rock armouring and ecological restoration (planting) are all on the menu!

When: Saturday October 1st, anytime between 10AM and 4PM
Where: 27 Redway Rd (Loblaws trailhead)

For more details please visit the Trails Program website at
To register for the event please contact Scott at or call 416 338 5053.

Rouge Valley Update
On Friday, Alastair (current TORBA President) attended a Rouge Park Alliance meeting in support of a presentation by IMBA Canada. As plans for the Rouge continue, we're very concerned that mountain biking should feature in the plans, and be both allowed and planned for. IMBA reps Jason and Lora made a solid, credible deputation, and it was important that both TORBA and the Durham Mountain Biking Association were present, as we represent the two MTB groups that border the Rouge on either side. We'll continue to advocate for mountain biking as this progresses. If you're a frequent Rouge rider and would like to be involved, we'd love to hear from you.

High Park
High Park got a lot of media coverage after a native group occupied and removed the dirt jump area earlier this year. That event created immediate pressure to create an authorized replacement venue somewhere in the area, and Graham (TORBA VP) has been actively following this issue, meeting with councillors and city staff. Currently an RFP has been awarded to Jay Hoots to build a replacement skills park in the Queensway and Parkside area. A public meeting will be taking place towards the end of October, and your involvement is needed because we need solid representation from the mountainbike community to push this forward. Please be prepared to come to the meeting - our next newsletter will have details of the time and place.

Bayview Dirtjumps Build Day - Sunday Oct. 2
Many mountainbikers will know of the dirtjumps in the Bayview and Finch area, which were neglected and fell into disrepair. Well, they're BACK! On October 2nd there's a build day to restore and revitalize the jumps. If you can't make it to the Crothers build, please come to this one. The city is using this day to gauge interest in the park, and this could lead to a complete overhaul/redesign in the spring. Call Jesse for further info: 647 835 8062.

When: Sunday October 2, 12PM onwards
Where: on Bayview just north of Finch

Bike Rodeo - Sunday Oct. 2
If you have kids, you might be interested in getting them out to the Fall Bicycle Rodeo, organized by the new Leaside GEARS bike shop and Toronto Police 53 Division. Participants will have their bicycle and helmet inspected. They will then move onto the rodeo component to be tested on their riding skills.  There will be basic instruction on safety, hand signals, a balancing challenge and a mini time trial to register top speeds on Laser radar.

The Toronto Police Mounted and K9 Units will be on hand to meet the public, and a vintage 1957 Chevy police car will also be on display. There will be gifts for the first 100 participants.

All participants are required to bring their own bicycle and a helmet. Youth will need to have a parent sign a waiver.

When: Sunday October 2, 11AM – 3PM
Where: GEARS is located at 109 Vanderhoof, one street south of Eglinton, just west of Brentcliffe.

MTB Fest 2012
Yup, we've started work on planning next year's MTB Fest, to make it bigger, better, more fun… but keeping the grass-roots flavour that everyone seemed to love this year. At this point we'd like your suggestions – and if you can spare some time to help out, that would be fantastic. Email us if you have any ideas or would like to volunteer.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Welcome to our new page!

Thanks for stopping by to learn more about TORBA and advocacy for mountain bikers in Toronto.
TORBA (the Toronto Off-Road Cycling Association) represents the interests of mountain bikers and other off-road cyclists in Toronto. It wasn’t long ago that we faced the possibility of trail closures in the Don Valley, due to conflict with other users and misunderstandings about mountain biking as a sustainable sport.

Today TORBA works with the City of Toronto's Department of Parks, Forestry and Recreation to improve the safety and enjoyment of off-road cyclists, particularly in the Don Valley. This has involved the creation of several kilometres of new, sustainable trail, the closure of erosion prone and sensitive areas, and new trail access and signage. TORBA has a large base of volunteers that are regularly involved in city run trail build days and our own garbage clean up days.

This is a great start to improving the experience of trail users, but we need your help continue this momentum.

We need increased support to fulfill some of our new initiatives. These include:

- A skills park in the Don Valley

- Increase the extent of the trails recognized by the City of Toronto

- Increased volunteer lead trail building and maintenance

All of these initiatives are well underway, but we need more support to make them happen effectively.

Keep coming back to our new page, it’ll soon have more information about upcoming dates and events. In the meantime:

Crothers Woods Trail Maintenance Day - Saturday October 1st

Come and join staff from the Natural Environment Trails Program and the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) Canada on Saturday October 1st for a day of giving back to the trails in Crothers Woods.
This event is open to everyone who would like to get their hands dirty and help out with on-going trail maintenance and management in the Don Valley. All tools and training will be provided. No experience necessary, just come prepared for outdoor working conditions anytime between 10:00am and 4:00pm.

For more details please visit the City of Toronto’s website

To register for the event please contact or call 416 338 5053.